Hi everyone! I wanted to make this post because there were many times I was lost and felt like I was the only person in the world who failed the NCLEX my first time. After googling, I came upon this site with many people who felt the same. So I promised myself that when I passed the test I would come on here and write about my experience to help others who may feel like losing hope on this test.
First off, a little background on myself. I was a pretty good student like most of you, averaging A- to Bs. I graduated Cum Laude in May 2015 and was a part of the nursing honor's society. So I felt like I had a good chance of passing, BUT when it comes to standardized testing- I can assure you, I'm not the best. I took my first test in July 2015. The weeks preceding my test I was a nervous wreck. I didn't do anything but eat, sleep, and breathe studying. Monday to Friday from 9-4 I'd go to the library and do nothing but study, come home, eat and sleep. I felt like I didn't have time for a normal life so I would decline invitations to go anywhere. All I was focused on was passing this test. I want to tell you that doing this really caught up to me and I would not recommend that for anyone. When it came to test day I was super anxious, I sat down to take my test and felt a little calmer. It stopped at 78 and I was in disbelief, either I really passed this thing or I really failed it. I was devastated and in my heart I knew I didn't pass. The next 48 hours was torture, I kept psyching myself out, paid for the quick results and said I failed. I was extremely upset, I did everything I could and put my heart into it and failed. I had a job lined up and told all these people I took my test, and having to tell them I failed wasn't the best feeling in the world especially when you have so many people believing in you. So back to the drawing board!
The second time around, I took a few weeks to clear my head and really make a plan of what I was going to do. Even though Kaplan didn't help me the first time, I believe I was weak in content. However, Kaplan has great questions so I figured once I was done tackling my content, I'd use the questions over again. I called up Kaplan and the customer service was great. The lady on the phone gave me a two month extension to keep using it, for free (well not really free since I had to pay for Kaplan anyway lol) I decided I needed to brush up on content and my weaker areas, so I bought the 3 week study plan from NCSBN. I highly recommend it! It's great on content review and they give you a bunch of questions to do. I feel like the questions are very similar in wording. I went through all systems, tabbed it in a notebook, and wrote down the diseases, S/S, and treatment. This helped tremendously. I would review it whenever I wasn't doing questions. I also had the NCLEX mastery app, I paid for it a year ago and I really recommend that as well. It was $25 but worth it. The rationales they give are easy to understand! I did about 1200 out of 1700 questions.
Like I said I also did Kaplan again, even though I used up all the QBanks and did all the QTrainers, it was still amazing practice. I believe Kaplan's questions are harder than NCLEX but that's good especially since you wanna stay above passing level. The first time I was averaging about 50s-60s on qbanks and my qtrainers never hit 60 or 65. The second time around though I noticed myself getting better. Even though I did all the questions, there's no way anyone can remember all of them. I started getting 70s to even a 95 on the qbanks, I did 20 75 question Qbanks and did all the Qtrainers. On QT6 I got a 68, and QT7 a 65. The first time I was in the 50s.
I took my second test on 9/19 and got all the way to 265 questions. I took all my breaks, and at 150 I knew it was going to take me all the way. So I did the best I could, took each question one at a time. Of course I was feeling frustrated and restless, but I knew that as long as the test was giving me questions I was still in the game. I left feeling really tired and unsure of how I did, but way better than before. I told myself it could have gone either way, and no matter what even if the worse was going to happen, I've dealt with it before, I can certainly do it again. I'd recommend taking all your breaks, and just taking each question as it comes. Just do your best, no one can fault you for giving your all.
This second time I really took it easier on myself. I ran in the mornings, and I'd go to church. I'd watch inspirational videos by Joel Osteen every morning before I started studying. I'm a religious and spiritual person and I believe that God takes you to this point because He knows how capable you are of achieving your goals. If you're religious, spiritual, or a person of faith in any way, I think that it helps with your nerves and just leaving it up to whatever you may believe in. Your dreams and plans that are stored in you are there for a reason, and even if you get knocked down a million times always pick yourself up because there's not greater victory than that. Failing may be the biggest problem you have, but God is BIGGER than that!! Trust that your victory is coming and that you won't let it defeat you! You were meant to be on this earth to heal others with your hands and heart, don't let one test get you down. You passed nursing school, you can definitely pass a test no matter how many times you take it :) If any one ever needs help please let me know!