I passed the NCLEX and you can too!!!!!! I'm sorry if this is lengthy I just really hope that I can help someone the way that the people on this website have helped me.
Just a little background - before the nursing program I was a straight A student, once I was in the Nursing Program - I was happy to get a B or C. Nursing classes are no joke! You could say I was an average student.
Graduated May 2014, took a week off which turned into two weeks off then three to just relax and do nothing, which I now fully regret. My biggest concern initally was content and it made me super anxious and anal. I felt like I needed to know everything so I gave myself a calendar so that I would cover everything.
Week 1 - Fundamentals
Week 2 - OB
Week 3 - PEDS
Week 4 - Pharm
Week 5 - Med Surg
Week 6 - Med Surg
Week 7 - Psych
Week 8 - Review
Week 9 - Review
Week 10 - NCLEX
Sounds good right? Well, I really feel like I wasted a lot of time and encourage you study HARD and study WELL for maybe 4-6 weeks then take the exam. I feel like if I had studied the way that I did the 2 weeks prior to my exam, I could've taken it a lot sooner and passed. However, everything happens for a reason and you shouldn't bite off more than you can chew. Just sayin...
For Content review I used:
ATI - Learning Activities, Various Chapters, and Step-By-Step videos
Saunders - a MUST.
Simple Nursing - amazing, watch these videos on YouTube
My Nursing School notes
35 Page Study Guide - very helpful mnemonics.
& Kaplan LOD - a little, barely.
ATI Mentor App
Med Surg Success - amazing, teaches you a lot of good content as well.
LaCharity - a MUST.
Kaplan (I attended the in class as well as using the online resources)
My school was kind enough to give us the ATI program through out school for free as well as the Virtual ATI Coach for free after graduation which I consider a huge blessing. The thing about ATI is that it's mostly content review, either you know your stuff or you don't and it's hard to eliminate answers and what not when taking their assessments.
***For all you non-ATI using people, if there is a disease/disorder/simplest little fact that you're unsure of - simply Google "ATI Testing _(fill in the blank)_____" and it will bring up the Chapter of their E-Books that correlate with what you're searching. They have loads of great charts, interventions and PDFs. Also, if you want to watch videos, Google "ATI Testing Step-By-Step (fill in the blank)__" and a really great videos will pop up, for example; tracheostomy care, measuring the fundus, etc. If you're the kind of person who needs a book in front of them, you can order the books on Amazon for literally pennies... I have no idea why they're so cheap.***
In my opinion, the Kaplan LOD were decent...however some of the information was incorrect and it totally discouraged me from watching them too much - example: The Lecturer confused Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism's Myxedema coma and thyroid storm...hmmm. It was good for the Pharm review, but lengthy for the amount of substance I withdrew from the hours of lectures. Don't be mad at yourself if you don't watch all of them before you test.
Simple Nursing videos on YouTube were a great tool for me, he has funny little quirky ways of not only remembering things, but truly understanding the concepts with really great similes/metaphors. On YouTube he's Mike Linares or Simple Nursing.
If there were only three things you could use, I would definitely say to use:
1.) Saunders for the Content - commit to it and you will benefit greatly.
2.) LaCharity for the Prioritization and Delegation questions - which my NCLEX was full of.
3.) Kaplan QBank and QTrainers - the in class was very helpful for me, I'm the kind of person who needs to be able to ask questions and visually see it, if you buy the Online Kaplan program, they explain everything to you but not as nicely as in person.
My ATI scores were around the mid 60's to upper 70's and my Kaplan scores were;
QT 1: 56
QT 2: 65
QT 3: 51
QT 4: 62
QT 5: 64
QT 6: 68
QT 7: 65
As you can see, I didn't score better than the 60's and I still passed. The test is tricky, but it's asking you to THINK, not just know. If you can navigate the questions and know what you're really being asked, you will pass.
Ok, so about my exam. The day before I still felt like I had so much to review, I tried to review my notes, my Question Trainers, I tried to do another ATI exam but it was just NOT happening. I actually gave myself the biggest headache and I started getting dizzy - I'm assuming from anxiety and I was like screw this, this is more damaging than anything so I just stopped everything at like 5pm. I should've listened to my friends and fellow AllNurse.com members when they say to do nothing nurse related the day before the exam and to just relax. I think that the hardest part of the NCLEX and an also very important part of it was to simply relax and get my mind into the right place. For those that are taking it soon, I urge you to just relax the day before - go get your nails done, go out to eat, go watch a movie, leave the house if possible because the notes will be calling out your name! If you haven't learned it by then, you probably won't learn it the day before the NCLEX.
I showed up a little before 8 on the day of my exam - 8/27, and went through the Pearson process of putting my things in a locker, kept a bottle of water in there, and went to my desk. First question...oh my god, what is this, I have NO idea what this is?! It was a cardiac question which is NOT one of my strong points. I made myself read the question and I was like ah... I get it, it's asking me to think, not just to pull data out of my a$$. It got easier from then on, the questions really ask you to think critically, in fact I believe that the questions were easier than the Kaplan Q Bank and Question Trainer questions.
I had about 2-4 SATA/Ordering questions for every 2-3 normal questions, 1 EKG, 1 med, and 1 picture. 3.5 hours later I get to question 75, press Next and I get the blue screen. Didn't know what to think or what to feel so I was happy but cried a little too because seriously, it's scary!!!
Later that night, my friend did the new Pearson Vue Trick for me and I got the good popup, less than 48 hours later I got my rapid results and had passed.
Good Luck to everyone studying and testing soon! You can do it!!!!!!!!
NCLEX STUDY GUIDE.pdf