I graduated on May 12, got my ATT on May 19 and originally scheduled my NCLEX for June 8. I kept checking back to see if any earlier test dates were open and found a date open on May 31. I have never clicked on anything so fast!
In preparation for NCLEX, I did not do a Hurst or Kaplan review, my school uses ATI so their Virtual Review did not cost me anything. I could not afford to drop $300+ on a review course and I felt like ATI was a very good resource. We also used PassPoint and were assigned a number of comprehensive practice NCLEX exams, I also did several on my own and scored well. I used Exam Cram's NCLEX practice question book and CD-ROM with all the same questions, Kaplan's Strategies, Review, & Practice book (although I did not actually do the practice test, just read through the strategies and review chapters), NCLEX Mastery app, Prioritization, Delegation, and Management of Care for the NCLEX-RN Exam, and had been using Lippincott's Q & A Review book pretty consistently since the second semester of my program.
After my final exam in April, I did at LEAST 100 questions a day from one resource or another, taking the time to read the rationale and understand WHY I got a question right OR wrong. My daughter was gone to visit relatives the week before I tested so I was thankful for that uninterrupted time to prepare. While my husband was gone to work, I was at my desk doing questions, making notes of things to review, and if we were not at home I was on my phone doing questions on NCLEX Mastery. We cooked out with friends the evening before I tested.
I arrived at the test center really early, which gave me time to gather myself and eat my chocolate bar (as I do before every test). I was allowed to go ahead and sign in early. Once I finally sat down to test my heart was going crazy!! I am a notoriously fast test taker no matter how I try to slow myself down and take my time. By the time I finally looked up to see what question I was on, I saw that I was on question 60 and freaking out... my test shut off at 75. The testing center staff commented that I finished really fast and asked me how I felt about it. I was devastated, my heart was in my butt, certain I had failed. I went to my car, sat in the parking lot for I don't know how long, and finally pulled out and headed home.
Fast forward to yesterday evening, after checking the Pearson site a million times to see if my quick results were available they finally were (51 hours after I took my test, do not be discouraged if yours aren't available exactly 48 hours later), although I didn't want to I paid the $7.95. I hit submit after entering my payment information and had to make myself look (more like my husband said "We paid the eight dollars you better look!!") and I saw that beautiful four-letter word... PASS!! You couldn't slap the smile off of my face!
My advice for NCLEX, take it as you will..
1. Go on the NCSBN website and do a little research about computer adaptive testing (CAT) and how it works before you take your exam. Knowing how the test works helped calm my nerves somewhat. You don't have to have a super high score to pass, you just have to stay above the passing standard. That may mean you get 75 questions, you may get all 265, don't get too hung up on it.
2. Practice select all that apply questions. They were always my weakness on tests. I got a lot and that does not mean that you will, but don't let it overwhelm you. View them as a good thing! I would get a multiple choice, then 2-3 SATA, then another multiple choice, then 2-3 more SATA.. From what I understand SATA questions are a good sign :)
3. As you're preparing for NCLEX, review core content, but do not try to review EVERYTHING you've learned throughout your program. It's impossible and will probably do you more harm than good. At this point you're better off (IMO) doing practice questions. If you're doing practice questions and get something wrong because you didn't know the content, of course review that particular content. Know your lab and drug values, drug classes, utilize mnemonics if that's your thing.
4. Test-taking strategies and priority setting frameworks!! Google for them, look on YouTube, purchase a book if you don't already have one. ABC's are important but cannot always lead you to the right answer, also remember acute vs. chronic, stable vs. unstable, etc. You can know all the content in the world, but if you do not know how to break down and analyze a question all of that content knowledge may not help you.
5. Relax the day before. I know everyone says it, but please, do not try to cram any more information into your head. You have worked hard to get to this point. Call a friend, go out to lunch, get a pedicure, drink some wine (but not the whole bottle, don't want to test with a hangover), go out with your significant other, whatever, just spend your day doing something NOT related to NCLEX in any way. Try not to think about it, don't talk about it, clear your mind as difficult as it may be.
6. After the exam... take a deep breath. Waiting is the worst thing in the world to me, and I was a nervous wreck until I got my quick results, but I knew that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it BUT wait. There is nothing you can do in the time you're waiting except work yourself up about it. I had actually prepared myself for a bad outcome and was literally physically sick because I felt so terrible about it. Do the Pearson "trick" if you wish, I did, but it did not calm me any even though I got the "good" pop-up. I didn't trust it. I kept myself busy cleaning and decluttering my house.
Good luck to everyone testing soon! I hope this post helps someone! Be proud of yourself for making it this far and remember... YOU GOT THIS!!!