Before I begin, I would love to thank NurseBre94 in advance for helping me calm down prior to my test.
I'm writing this for the other non-straight-A students who are very nervous about their exam. I'm right there with you, I spent many hours stressing and worrying about my exam and not believing that I could pass it. My resources were a Saunders Test strategy for the NCLEX PN book from 2006, ATI questions (Provided by my school), and the NCLEX Mastery App ($30, BUY IT), and the NCLEX Mastery PN Simulation exam ($10 more, and it is VERY worth it!).
I know when I was reading about NCLEX strategies, I wanted to see how people were doing on their practices. On the predictor, I scored a 64.7% and I was given a 77% chance of passing the NCLEX. I was initially scoring in the 50's and low 60's on ATI before running through them again. My strategy was to think about selecting an answer before I selected an answer. The second time running through the ATI's, I was scoring in the 70s. I scored a 55% on the NCLEX Mastery Simulation and 56% on everything total. This app was amazing and I can't thank the developers of it enough! I just want to repeat again: it's worth the $45 to get the app! ATI was also a very important app and I just want to say that it was frustrating with the way they wrote their answers. However, I stopped running through ATI as I was remembering the answer choices. At the end of my LPN program, I had pulled a 3.0 GPA.
I started studying 3 weeks prior. The first week, I put in an hour-a-day. The second week, I REALLY kicked it into high gear, studying 6-8 hours a day. This was a terrible idea as I was blowing my summer away. The last week, I put in 3-4 hours a day with 2 in the morning and 2 at night. There were nights where I would study more at night because I do better. The last 2 days, I did not study at all. I went cliff jumping the first day and got a pretty good sunburn which led me to stay inside and play Xbox for the day before the test. Whatever takes your mind off the test! I took my mind off of the NCLEX to give my brain a rest. I told myself that I put in enough time and work.
So I took my NCLEX yesterday and stopped at 85 questions in less than an hour. My heart stopped after the screen turned blue and I thought that I failed for sure. However, I had at least 20 SATA questions on there which brought me relief because I knew I was doing good because of these. AT THE SAME TIME, around question 80, I had started thinking that what if those SATA's were the experimental questions which led me to panic a little. I was also given an EKG strip, a picture, "put-in-order" question. The whole thing. It was everything that I expected with no surprise. Remember, there are 25 questions in the test that are used to gather data and aren't counted against you.
I did the PVT using the remnants of a gift card (less than $2 on it), got the good popup, and started celebrating! Of course, this will be short lived as I work towards my RN now :).
With all this being said, you don't have to do what I did. I'm writing this to help the other average students. You can do it. You made it through nursing school and we all know how hard that is. Just put in a little more effort and DON'T STRESS YOURSELF OUT! Give yourself time to study and put in the work, I must have answered over 3000 practice questions before taking it!
I wish all of my fellow PN testers the best of luck, you all deserve it.