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Took NCLEX-RN 8/27 and passed. Here's my take


Specializes in Maternal Newborn. Has 7 years experience.

Hi all ~

I took NCLEX 8/27 and passed! I've seen a lot of helpful posts here and wanted to also share my experience/tips.

For starters, I studied two months (ten hour days) in preparing for NCLEX. Now, after taking the exam, I probably over-studied in some respects as I knew so much more than the test asked! That said, there were some questions on NCLEX that were "obscure" or which I knew little about, and you just had to read the question and answer choices carefully (word for word) and eliminate based on key words/strategies. Here are the resources I used:

1) HURST (attended the three day class; reviewed all the core content videos again via the website). Primarily used HURST for core content - was extremely helpful. Did four HURST tests; these were helpful.

2) Saunder's comprehensive book. Initially, I bought this book and said "oh my gosh I really don't want to read a 1,000 plus page book"! While I was studying HURST and/or answering questions, I used the book to read up on details. Overall, I probably read over half the book - it does an excellent job in providing details to things you may encounter on NCLEX.

3) Kaplan - on line demand and qbank. Bought the Kaplan content book and strategies book too. Core content book is good, however, I found most helpful were the on-line question videos (over 300 questions reviewed, broken down and rationales explained). Listening to these q's and strategies were excellent. I was unable to listen to all the videos. The qbank and qtrainers were excellent.

4) NCSBN - I bought this since from the makers of NCLEX. Content is overwhelming in how it's presented and organized, though good information. The q's were excellent - very similar to NCLEX.

5) La Charity PDA - excellent resource for priority/delegation and assignment questions.

6) Allnurses 35 page notes file on the website. Very helpful for infection control, isolation precautions and positioning! Has brief descriptions of core content (a little too brief in some respects in comparison to other resources and what you need for NCLEX) though gives you the skinny on need to know topics.

What should you know and do to pass NCLEX? First, allow yourself enough time prior to NCLEX to study and set time daily. I recommend atleast 4 hours for a minimum 3-4 weeks. If you are a visual learner, HURST is excellent as is Kaplan (they have content videos and question videos). I also watched a few videos on you tube (IV's, EKG's, cardiac, etc.) I found Kaplan content videos to be extremely dry (good information though) and was glad I had HURST for core content. Kaplan q videos were VERY helpful as is the qbank/qtrainers. NCSBN was excellent for questions.

Types of NCLEX q's I got... I had about 20-25 SATA, one drag drop, 5-6 med's (two or three I knew the others were unfamiliar), several priority and infection/isolation/teaching questions. For infection control, know what PPE you would use and if the door should be "open" or "closed". Also, remember for C. Diff you need to wash your hands (using sanitizer isn't sufficient). I got a few questions on EKG's (no strips though), a few q's on Ped's (milestones), Aging (know a few common changes occurring as we age), Endocrine (diabetes, hypo/hyperthyroidism, hypoparathyroidism), Cardiac (hypertension, cardiac catheterization, stroke, MI). I got a few q's on herbals (know common ones like garlic, gingko, kava, st. john's wort, saw palmetto) know what they do and side effects (ie. liver, etc.). I had a few Psych questions (extra pyramidal effects/antipsychotic med's, depression, personality disorders) and Neuro (MS, meningitis, autonomic dysreflexia, Parkinson's). Chest tubes (know the different compartments and if tidaling/continuous bubbling and amount of water to be expected or not) and feeding tubes. I got a few q's on diets (i.e. what should you eat if you have a specific condition, though really examine all answer choices carefully as all may be possible options though one answer is always the BEST answer!)

Overall, NCLEX was challenging though doable. I had 102 q's. I was nervous when I first started the exam, though wrote on my tablet something I read here on allnurses "go slow and go with what you know". Said a quick prayer and got started on the test. Truly, take your time and read questions/answer options carefully. If you know your core content (and have practiced a good amount of questions) and have some strategies down, you will be able to determine the BEST answer most of the time (cause you will see the obvious wrong answers and eliminate them). For some q's you may have to make good educated guesses (though remember to pass NCLEX you just need to get more answers right than wrong). You don't need a 100%. You got this!!

Best of luck to all!

Edited by yedwards42

yedwards42 Congrats on passing!! happy for you!

I failed first time using Kaplan only.. I am using Hurst videos only and i filled all the sheets.. I don't have access to their questions but I will review their meds online materials.. I do have full access Kaplan I agree with you I started listening to q videos for kaplan and i love it.. my goal to review Hurst contents each day for a bit then finish Kaplan strategy book then start Kaplan Qtrainers and Qbanks... i do have PDA i have done it before but i will do it few days before the exam. do you think do I need to purchase NCBSN?? I work three days but I am studying 5 days for 4 hours... please any advise?

yedwards42, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Maternal Newborn. Has 7 years experience.

Hi Hmahdoui,

I think you're doing great by using a few resources in studying for NCLEX. For some, one resource is enough, however, for me I'm not to sure if I would have passed NCLEX using either Kaplan or Hurst. I think Hurst is awesome for content, and Kaplan more q's and strategy. Did you listen to Kaplan's decision tree and strategy videos? These are helpful too, as they go over what to look for in the questions and answers (clues) to help aid in finding the right answer. For example, they teach you to notice in reviewing the stem that if there isn't any assessment data (and the question asks you what to do next) then you will very likely pick an "assessment" answer and not be tricked into picking an "implementation" answer(s) that are also available as choices. I found over time, NCLEX questions were like a "game of chess" where you're evaluating every word in the question and answer choices before making your move!

Did you schedule your NCLEX exam? If you have some time (about a month) you could purchase NCSBN. The price is reasonable (3 week price) and will say the content is very good (a little overwhelming) though the questions are very good as is Kaplan's. I think NCSBN's questions are excellent; they provide a lot of information content wise and with good rationales. For example, the Kaplan trainers while great, I don't know if you noticed, sometimes repeating questions (duplicates) could be found within them. Oh, one other thing, on the Kaplan Qbank - did you see there are 4 sample tests you can also take? These questions are very helpful; a few sets are priority and a few SATA.

I think you studying 4 hours a day 5 days a week should be sufficient. Reviewing pertinent stuff daily (will stay in your long term memory) is important. If you have any questions a long the way, feel free to PM me - I'm happy to answer any questions.

Big cheer for you; I know you will pass NCLEX the next time!!

Thank you so much for posting. I am retaking for the 2nd time in about one week. I already find myself with insomnia. i was so nervous for the previous test. I went all the way to 265. Is there any way anyone can help me access hurst review videos? thank you!

[COLOR=#003366]yedwards42 hey! I just seen your reply! Thanks for replying I did register for my NCLEX RN I am taking it sometimes First week of November I get happy to schedule it finally at 2 pm I disliked the idea to go early A.M and I barely had some sleep.. So I finished the Kaplan strategy book and I am listening to Hurst videos again I will listen all pysiological (med surg videos) then I will do QBanks I will listen psychosocial then I'll do QBANKS, same for health maintenance.. doing it individual to master all the areas. Then I will do Q trainers all of them and I probably will take ncbsn 3 weeks since I have time left!!! Since I read all the kaplan strategy book and seen couple questions videos on Kaplan I was able to master the Decision Tree and understand when I can apply it.. Hope this will help me to pass.. I really need to pass I have jobs waiting for me and I need to help my family too!!!

Thanks again for the tips.

yedwards42, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Maternal Newborn. Has 7 years experience.

Sounds like you're on a roll! Periodically quiz yourself on major core concepts, fundamentals, infection control and such. Since you've taken the test already, you know some of the q's you will potentially be asked. The broader your knowledge coupled with some strategy, you're sure to whip NCLEX this next round!!

Keep us posted! :)

do you think Kaplan helped you with the prioritization questions? I seem to do well with the PDA lacharity book, for some reason, I did terrible with the management of care section when I took the NCLEX....