I failed NCLEX-RN 5 times, PASSED on the 6th try!
THERE IS HOPE!!!!!
My rationale for failing so many times:
1. I didn't have very good self-discipline to study on my own, I've always studied better in a classroom setting where there is structure, deadlines, homework, and a teacher to help keep me accountable.
2. I didn't know where to begin to study on my own...my studying was very unorganized, sporadic, and I was completely lost. I wasted lots of money on books and online programs that I never completed.
3. I struggled between study time, work time and play time. (I went through a break up and then I went on 2 vacations after graduation, Vegas and Hawaii.....premature celebration lol. I thought I would have passed by then. hmmmmm, nope!).
What I did differently:
1. After doing some research about others who have failed so many times, I learned that most everyone had to put in 4-6 hours of studying a day! Well, that's very difficult when you work 8 hours a day, that's pretty much working 14 hours a day everyday, talk about BURNOUT! Plus, no time for fun or a life. I couldn't imagine those who had a family too. Yikes!
2. After this realization, I started planning, how can I fit in more hours of studying without burning out? How can I manage to work only part-time and pay my bills too? How can I manage all of this? I ended up calculating how much money I would need to save in order to take the summer off to study. I had 2 jobs, worked 60 hours a week for 5 months, and saved up over $7,000. I ended up quitting my full time job and kept my part-time LPN office job because they allowed me to study at work (PERFECT!). I worked 4 hours a day, and studied mostly while at work, and was still able to enjoy my summer.
-Comprehensive Review for NCLEX-RN by Maryann Hogan
-Prioritization Delegation & Management of Care for the NCLEX-RN exam by Davis Plus.
+ Google image, "Kaplan -Decision Tree, Who do you see first?, Common NCLEX Traps, Therapeutic Communication Tips."
+ Michael Linares YouTube channel, he's a fantastic teacher, makes the material funny so its easier to remember.
4. Over a course of 3 months, I read the comprehensive review front to back, did questions from the Prioritization Delegation book, and completed each question with the Kaplan suggestions. ALSO - study some questions with a fellow medical friend, talk the question out, explain each others rationale, and see who got it right. My friends helped TREMENDOUSLY because it was good to get different perspectives.
5. What I was doing wrong before....I tested WAY TO FAST!!!!! I would skip over very important words such as "most, never, always, all, do not include, etc." Once my friends pointed this out and I was conscious of it, I made myself slow down and I noticed significant improvement. Also, having a very good understanding of prioritization, which patient to see first, discussing these questions with friends was very helpful to see different perspectives and understand the rationales better.
(Also, I plastered lab values and facts all over my bathroom. Seeing the info every day helped me remember the numbers).
6. Tests I failed....I would always get 200+ questions and take 5+ hours. Which was torture! Plus, I would receive a email the same day by 445pm saying I failed.
7. The test I passed....I watched the timer, and made myself take at least 3-5 minutes on each question, I would apply the Kaplan questions to my answer to see if it made sense, I would ask myself, "in this scenario, who could DIE?" "which is acute? Which is chronic? What is actual? What is potential?" ....after 2.5 hours, the computer shut off at 75 questions. Because this was a break in pattern, I had a feeling I finally did it. I never received a email saying I failed. I kept searching my name in the license search engine until it finally popped up the next day at 5pm showing my RN license! :-D
After 1.5 years, and 5 attempts, I FINALLY DID IT on the 6th try! FML! HOW FLIPPIN' EMBARRASSING that it took me this long. But ya know, I was competing against myself, and I had come too far NOT to get my RN license. I can FINALLY move on to bigger better things. Its all about determination. Expect the worst, but hope for the best, and keep trying, even if it takes 10+ times, keep studying, change strategies until you find something that works and makes sense to you. I had to change my entire environment so it was study friendly. Do what needs to be done because it will pay off in the end.
I already landed a full time job at a Long Term Acute Care Hospital and a on-call job in Home Health Care. My next goal is to save up for a house, work towards my bachelors degree, get enough experience to start travel nursing, and eventually get into wound care or possibly the OR. :)