This is my very first post, although I've been quietly reading on the sidelines for quite some time. I took my NCLEX yesterday and just found out this morning that I have a license! Believe me, I know how stressful this whole experience is, so now I feel compelled to share my Kaplan experience with you and lend you my support. I hope this helps.
First of all, I know RN programs are different. I was fortunate to have graduated from a program that tested us with Kaplan-style questions that require critical thinking. Having said that, I went into Kaplan with a fairly good foundation. For those of you that feel lacking in this skill, I do recommend Kaplan. Not only is it a good comprehensive review of everything we've crammed over the last 2-3 years, but it helps put you in that mindset. I am not familiar with the other prep courses, so I cannot rate those.
Second, give yourself time. You deserve to allow yourself ample time to prepare. I graduated Aug. 11, took Kaplan on Aug. 15-25 (2-week course). I scheduled the NCLEX for Sept. 21, giving myself 3 weeks to review. I read the textbook, took all trainers, and completed all QBanks. It IS time consuming, but what's more important, is to review EVERY SINGLE QUESTION, plus EVERY SINGLE RATIONALE. I went back and reviewed the questions that I even got right, and discovered that even reading the wrong choices and their rationales provided very helpful information that reinforced the topic. I googled everything I didn't know: equipment, procedures, diseases, meds. (I even fell upon a YouTube video on chest tubes...which I got on my exam.) I took notes. I did this in the morning. That night, I reviewed my notes. I did this for 10 days (2-3 Qbanks/day), and these were my scores:
Trainers 1-7: 59, 72, 62, 57, 61, 64, 62
QBanks: 62 (total average)
I reserved the last day to relax. Needless to say, I did not feel ready, but I knew I did all that I could with Kaplan to prepare myself. And when the tested ended at 75 for me yesterday, I cried at the computer station and left that center feeling literally sick to my stomach. There are only a few fortunate people who leave feeling confident. I can assure you, I was not one of them. It was easily the hardest 24-hours of my life.
But this morning, at 8am, I got what I'd been praying for. And it's because I developed a study plan...and stuck to it. Just please, put forth your BEST effort to prepare and give yourself the time to do so. DON'T RUSH THROUGH THE QUESTIONS. And if the exam does not end at 75--just take a deep breath and keep focus. The number of questions is irrelevant!!!! My friend panicked because she answered 257...yet she passed!
So, CHIN UP . Work hard. I KNOW you will do well. I wish every single one of you the best!