Taking the Nclex for the 5th time 2016


I graduated in January after returning from Belize for a school medical/missions trip.

The first time I tested, we used ATi and Saunders textbook through school: Failed at 192 questions (January)

Second time I studied with a friend, used ATI, Saunder's, and a Kaplan text: Failed at 265 (March)

Third time, I used NSCBN, Saunders, and kaplan. Since i was close to passing, I didn't think i needed to do much "review" per say. Failed at 154 (June)

This last time I studied hurst for 4+ hours everyday and failed in 265 questions (September). This test was different from the rest because there were more telemetry strips, drag and drop, prioritization, and math questions than i ever remember before.

Ready to restart and study and I greatly need help on where to begin.

My suggestion would be to study strategically. First, do not waste time on areas/topics that you know. Second, test yourself. Don't just read notes and memorize things or read a question then read the answer. Take practice tests. Score them. In what areas are you getting wrong answers? Study those areas only. Test yourself again on those areas and see if you improve. It's not about studying for hours and hours, it's about studying effectively.


474 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

Do 300 practice test questions a day. Get help understanding the questions you missed. Forget about reading books just go bananas on practice questions. Uworld, Hurst, rn master and every question bank you can lay your hands on


927 Posts

I used Hurst and uworld and passed on first try. This is how I did it - hurst breaks things up into different topics. I followed those topics and did them individually. Once I got the content review down, I then did uworld questions that are related to those topics. then I went back and re-watched the same hurst topic. you can bet this took time. I prepared for roughly a month. I've talked to classmates who swear up and down they did all the uworld questions and failed. But it's not about just doing questions, you need to have the content. There were stuff on there I had never heard of when I took it, but there were also things I knew and I could rule those out. Marlene Hurst even says in her videos, if you've never heard of it, don't pick it.


1 Article; 104 Posts

Do you have severe anxiety? Sounds like this is less about study habits and more about tension.

Specializes in Critical Care and ED. Has 34 years experience.

I second the suggestion that you answer lots of test questions. When I did the NCLEX I must have answered more than 3000 questions. The more you do the more you get a feel for what they're asking for and areas of weakness. Studying whole topics didn't really work. There's usually one or two salient points that they're focusing on in each topic. For example, don't study the entire pathophysiology of diabetes. I bet you donuts to dollars that they'll usually focus on safe insulin administration. The questions you practice with the more you'll see a pattern emerge.

Sour Lemon

5,016 Posts

Has 13 years experience.

I passed on the first try without studying anything ...and I was a B/C student.

My manner has always been to read about and understand the "big picture".

Although I was unfamiliar with some of the details on my NCLEX questions, I feel like a general understanding allowed me to "guess" the right answers. I never bothered to look at powerpoints (or other materials) in school, I just read the book(s).

Questions do seem to work well for a lot of people, but maybe you need something to tie it all together, too.


9 Posts

I wouldn't say anxiety.. I just don't understand how I do so well on practice tests before the exam and studying and then fail the nclex.


165 Posts

Hi there hpalmer23,

Stay positive please, I know the feeling, i failed myself the first time. Please believe in yourself and pray. I will be praying for you. You will do great. Do tons of questions, about 3000-5000 from any source. the more questions you will do, the better you will be prepared. God bless you and he has a plan for you!!!!

It is very simple. You don't understand the basics, or you are panicking due to the test itself. You are fresh out of school so I won't say you need a refresher course. I think you need to try to understand the questions better. Everything is about the diagnosis and treatment. This is wrong with the patient, what is the main issue, and what are you going to do about it. It is pretty simple, fix the issue and stabilize the patient.

An example is the patients O2 sat is 92%, the patient is having difficulty breathing, and the patient has COPD?

Can you offer this patient O2 for comfort?

Do these patients tend to need Oxygen?

Is 4 liters of oxygen ok to give to this patient

and why or why not?

Is 88-92% (O2 sat) of oxygen ok for a COPD patient and why?

You need to understand what happens when you give a COPD patient too much oxygen---must understand the condition---ways to treat it---.

The majority of the NCLEX is set up for them to figure out if you will be a safe nurse. You can make small mistakes but definitely very minimal and no deadly ones. It is a test to look at your critical thinking. You can do it, you just need to take a really good look at what you are trying to figure out.

allnurses Guide


3 Articles; 5,581 Posts

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 12 years experience.

At your 5th attempt your chance of passing is very low.

Have you spoken to your program about resources they may have to help you?


165 Posts

Hi there hpalmer,

Please let me know when you pass. I'm praying for ya my friend.