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4th time test taker (I hate to admit it)

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by TexasBlueJean TexasBlueJean (New) New

Here's my story! I graduated nursing school back in December of 2013. Im a bit nervous to write this but maybe some encouragement or extra advice could help. I know I am not alone. I graduated right after the Nclex was changed as well.

I took the Nclex the 1st time in February 2014 and failed with 125 questions. I used Exam Cram, Nclex 3500, Fundamentals Success, Med-surg success, Mental Health Success and did nothing but questions. Questions every day and all day and read the rationales for the ones I missed. I did not study content at all except reading rationals. When I failed I was devestated but I proceeded to study and test again in April 2014.

To prepare for the second exam I got together and studied daily with another nursing student who also failed the 1st time. This time I focused on Saunders content and questions. Still proceeded to use Nclex 3500. I also was given a Kaplan Starategies, Review, Practice book. Priority and delegation book as well. I failed the exam with 85 questions. I was severly devestated this time. I failed and my friend passed, I had so many questions. We studied the exact same stuff. I just didn't understand. I was heart broken. Being a single mom, broke and feeling like a failure is just awful.

I got brave enough and decided to retake the Nclex in September of 2014. This time to prepare my parents paid for me to take the Kaplan class and to retake the Nclex. I watched all the videos and made tons of notes. I didn't really read the ebook. I'm not a heavy reader but i did read the parts where I felt like I needed more information. I did all 7 Question trainers making less than 60s. However when I did Kaplan alternate, I only missed 2 questions and it gave me the confidence for alternate style questions. I also used priority and delegation book , i found out about lippincotts alternate style book a little too late. I also studied with a friend who graduated the semester after me and guess what she passed Nclex the 1st time. The only thing we did different was she used Hurst and I used Kaplan. I failed with 75 questions.

As I prepare to test for the 4th time, I recently started studying about 6 weeks ago. I want to make sure I'm absolutly ready this time. Everytime I test I fail faster and faster. Im sure its a mixture of stress and anxiety. This last time I tested I remember analyzing each question to see if I was above the line or below the line. Dumb yes I know, but I did it. Im sure that didn't help me to focus on the actual question or to help pass the exam. I'm using priority & delegation, Nclex 4000, the lippincotts alternate style book, saunders, hurst remediation, and the 35 pages that floats around. Im making notecards, lots of notecards to help review info. The two times before I just wrote stuff down in a notebook. I cant afford to retake Kaplan or the actual Hurst course. I cant even afford to retake the NCLEX but its a must. I've considered NCSBN. I dont know anything about UWORLD. Ive downloaded like every free nclex app on iphone and ipad to study extra questions.

Each time I go to test my hormones get so out of wack no one can even speak to me. Im severly on edge the week before and constantly worrying about the Nclex. My anxiety is just at an all-time high. Every morning before the Nclex my family took me out for breakfast. I remember the 2nd time I went out for dinner and had a fancy pedicure the evening before. My best friend had kept my kids that night so I wouldnt be so stressed.

I feel like i know the content, but it also seems that the longer im out of school the more i'm forgetting. I didnt stay consistent with studying either cause the thought of the Nclex is a devestating one. Someone would talk to me and the word "NCLEX" could literally put me into tears. I want to PASS. I worked to hard to give up. Im running out of time. I don't want those long 4 yrs of school to go to waste. I also noticed something thats been constant when I answer a question, I tend to pick a possible correct answer but not the most right. I remember the first time I tested, I had alot of GI questions or at least thats what I remember beacuse I wasn't always strong in GI, the simpler the subject the worse I seem to be.

I want to test again in late September or October. I hope for the best!

Edited by TexasBlueJean

I think you rushed, crammed for your second attempt way too soon. I've always heard nursing instructors advise against students who've failed their boards, whether LPN or RN, giving in to the urge to re-take the NCLEX too soon. Most I've known over the years have advised waiting 4-6 months and even then most say 6 months is best and they only reluctantly say 4 just because most who fail simply refuse to wait as long as hopefully, ideally the instructors wish they would.

Sometimes people who re-test quickly after the first failed attempt pass, but instructors I've spoken with about it say for most who fail, it takes more studying than just the 45 days to couple of months to really get strong in those areas where they've proven to be weak. Yes in that short amount of time you can temporarily quickly learn the material to do well on practice exams as you go a long but to really learn and retain it takes much longer.

Also what people who fail typically do is buddy up with classmates to study or join some type of formal study group. However in general the instructors I've known said if you fail the best thing you can do is find a tutor who has taken the NCKEX exam you are sitting for who has aced their boards and to do one on one tutoring with them. For any student who has failed boards more than twice all instructors I've known have advised the test taker be tested for learning disabilities as well as receive a psychological examination.

This because even though the tendency is to believe, think that if someone has what it takes to make it through nursing school with passing grades they must not have a learning disability or any sort of emotional issues, hang ups sometimes, particularly if a person is bright both can go silently undetected until something of this nature – sitting for the NCLEX, the ASVAB or some other, similar comprehensive type exam comes up. I have even known a man who wasn't aware of having a disability until he sat for the LSAT and another guy who though not diagnosed with a learning disorder didn't find out until he was in his 30's that the minor” little thing hindering his ability to succeed in life/ace his MCAT with ease way back when was called bipolar disorder.

So I think no matter the grades in school or I.Q. if a person repeatedly fails their nursing boards the instructors I've known were right and people really should have the assessments done however instead most of those they advised unfortunately did not listen and instead just rushed into re-taking the exam- three, four – however many times. I think the danger in that is it erodes self-esteem and makes it more and more difficult for the test taker to have faith, belief in them self with each successive failed attempt.

You can't really do anything about the past but what you can do is begin again and do it differently. I think you need to study 4-6 months one on one with a tutor who is an RN and has aced the NCLEX. Get into counseling to make sure you are not sabotaging yourself and to learn ways of managing your test taking anxiety if that's an issue for you, definitively rule out learning disabilities and if something does turn up well if you are studying 4-6 months to prepare with good tutor then this will give you time to address anything that might turn up. You might only need longer to take your exam or a quiet room to yourself without distractions or some other reasonable type accommodation.

You know I did okay in school and did very well on my NCLEX but that didn't mean being a nurse was easy for me because there's a really big difference between doing good in school or well on an exam and being a good nurse. I have throughout my life, time and time again learned a lot from nurses who didn't do as well in school as I did, who scored much, much, much lower on their NCLEX than I did. The fact of the matter is once you get out on the floor it's a whole new world. Sometimes nurses who did really well in school do really well on the floor, other times they completely flop. I've seen it go both ways. I went to school with people who did better in class than I did who when we were out on the floor had a worse time of it than I.

I don't think just because you've failed four times you can't become a good nurse because I think you are repeating the same things that are causing you to fail over and over instead of implementing new strategies. If every time you tried you did something dramatically different and still continued to fail then I'd probably take it as a really big sign that perhaps nursing wasn't for you. Doing the same old same old no I think you just need to consider a new approach. You know what hasn't worked, so be good to yourself and stop doing it. And quit comparing yourself with other people because in the end it doesn't really matter what worked for them when it comes to passing this test the only thing that matters is what will work for you. Good luck.