Little About Me and My Experience: As a former student and now a fellow nurse, I wanted to share some advice on how to pass the NCLEX. First off, I was nervous before the test and after the test, but bear in mind you just need 50% to pass this test( and yes, I know how the CAT works, I'm implying you need to get half of your questions right in order to pass). I took the test and had 258 questions, which took me roughly 5 hours and a ton of mental stress. Once the test shut off at 258 (right as I clicked next), I thought I failed. I definitely answered my last question wrong, so the last question thing is definitely a myth.
Here I will talk about what I thought would have been helpful to know prior to my test, during and after: 1) How to study for the test 2) Which is better Kaplan or Uworld? 3) What to do the day before and day of the exam 4) Lastly, where to find your results.
Studying Via UWorld
I used mostly Uworld while studying for my NCLEX. The first Uworld practice test that I took after being almost 3 months out of school, and I scored 48% (I know, super low). Luckily, I had 3 weeks to study for my NCLEX. I took this time to do an average of 30 to 75 questions a day. It's doable once you get into a studying routine, and no I didn't create some elaborate plan, I studied when I could find time. By the end of week 2, I was scoring high 50's and sometimes in mid-60's percentile. After hearing that the NCLEX has easier questions than World(more on this later), and that you need to score within the 50%, I naturally assumed I would be fine.
Studying via Kaplan
Here's what I realized: the CAT test on Kaplan is the most ACCURATE predictor of how many questions you will get on the test, and roughly speaking how well you will do. I took the CAT test on week 3 and got all 265 questions, my results told me I was in overall yellow/red zone (which let's be honest, isn't how grading works). This shocked me, mostly because I was doing so well in Uworld. I brushed off the results, decided I didn't like the user website formatting and the little information they provided if you got the answer wrong.
KAPLAN vs Uworld
Uworld has a more user-friendly website, but their predictor tests shouldn't be used to gauge how well or poorly you will do, they're just NOT accurate. The explanations are great and easy to understand, which was a great study tool.
Kaplan website is confusing, I did have the tech guy offer to walk me through after helping me retrieve my password, but I shrugged and asked: " How bad could it really be?!" BAD!!! The formatting is annoying and took me some time to understand what's where and how to program it to suit my needs. I didn't care for their explanations on the practice tests, they just weren't as in depth as Uworld. I would solely purchase the Kaplan just to see roughly how many questions to expect on the exam.
As far as difficulty goes, both Kaplan and Uworld had similar question content and level of difficulty.
Day Before the Exam
I decided to relax for the first half, but honestly, I couldn't take my mind off studying. So instead of doing practice questions, I went over my personal study guides, study guides I found on Pinterest from former NCLEX takers, and reviewed all my lab values.
Day of the Exam
I didn't get any sleep, I was miserable and was glad that my test was at 12:30 PM instead of early in the morning. DON'T STUDY on the day of the test, you will tire yourself out, take a break and take your mind off it by doing what you love most (me, listening to music) Bring snacks, drinks, wear comfortable clothes and bring a jacket just in case. I walked in about an hour early and surprisingly was allowed to start early. They will give you a key to your locker where you can place all your personal belongings. You have to use the palm scan to get into the testing room, then they will have you patted down, raise your sleeves and check your pockets (similar to airport pat-down). They will escort you to your seat, give you instruction on how to use the computer and you're provided with two headphones (one is noise-cancelling and the other for the listening portion of the test). Best part, you don't need to memorize the Pearson Vue username or password, because they will log you in using their information.
What to Expect on the Test
The test starts off with basic foundation questions, don't be surprised when you get those right and all the sudden on question 5 you're getting back to back select-all that apply. This happened to be up until question 30, where I assume I started slacking thinking I'm doing rather well given I'm getting all these select- all that apply. You can imagine my surprise when my test didn't shut off at question 75, I honestly had a gut-wrenching fear that I would fail. I couldn't focus for the next several questions and decided I needed a bathroom break to clear my head. I swear, I had a minor panic attack in the bathroom, I couldn't get over the fact that I thought I wasn't doing well. PLEASE don't do that, believe in yourself and just bear in mind if you're at question 145 it doesn't mean you failed or failing, it means your ALMOST passing. Just keep trying. Once I got myself mentally ready, I went back inside and felt my mind focus and I didn't leave my spot for the next 4 hours. I was mentally ready to take all 265 questions. Another tip, don't be me and take breaks, I know it's worrisome because the time keeps ticking away but trust me when I say you have more than enough and you deserve it (plus, a little sugar can help boost brain power). During the test keep telling yourself you can do it, don't beat yourself down, and know that all the other nurses who took this test were in the same mind-frame as you are now.
California NCLEX test takers, you're test results (aka license) will be posted on the Breeze. gov website, I found mine within 24hrs ( DO NOT look of Pearson's Vue quick results). If you forgot your username and password (for Breeze.gov), you can look up your name and last name under "Look up License"( that's what I did). For the other state takers, wait 48 hrs AFTER you took your test on Pearson Vue quick results. If you don't know where to find the tab, look on your left-hand side ( or google for better directions).