As some of you may have read on my previous post, I unfortunately suffered an injury the night before the NCLEX and in turn, I had failed after 265 questions. Leading up to the exam I was studying for 5-6 hours a day, 7 days a week, and doing up to 150 questions a day from the Kaplan QBANK (OVERKILL!) I also attended the live, in the classroom, KAPLAN course for 2 weeks. Now, this is my PERSONAL opinion, but I would not recommend KAPLAN to anyone unless they barely made it through nursing school, and here’s why.
1) The live review was with a full class, the instructor would put a practice question up and by the time you got a chance to read the question, someone already called out the right answer (or wrong) one.
2) The instructor focused SO much on their “Decision Tree” and “how” to answer a question. Now, if you’ve made it through nursing school, and you didn’t just pass by the skin of your teeth, you KNOW how to answer these questions.
3) KAPLAN has a huge QBANK, which is GREAT, but their rationales are subpar. There are other resources which I highly recommend, and I will talk about it below.
The main mistakes I made the first try leading up to the NCLEX: Overstressed, Overworked, and KAPLAN.
Now, here is what I did the second time (for 43 days in between NCLEX attempts), to pass at 80 questions.
1) UWORLD, UWORLD, UWORLD, UWORLD! I can not stress enough how GREAT UWORLD is. Their Rationales are amazing, you really do not even need to open up a book to understand why you got a question wrong. I highly recommend anyone studying for the NCLEX to purchase UWORLD and give it a go. You will NOT be disappointed! You can even download the app for your smartphone and use it on the go.
I also used Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Exam book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
You can grab this book here—->Saunders NCLEX
2) Do NOT over study! Do not force yourself to study for 6-8 hours a day. You graduated nursing school, you know the information, be confident, and practice questions! I would wake up every day and do ONLY 75 questions in TUTOR mode. Now, I only used tutor mode because I never have a problem finishing a timed test. If I didn’t do tutor mode, it would take me an hour to do 75 questions and by the time that was over I would be tired and not want to go over all 75 questions. With tutor mode, It would tell me what I got wrong and why I got it wrong as SOON as I selected it. GREAT. BUT, if you have problems finishing a timed test, do not do tutor mode and do the timed mode and remediate after.If you feel you can, do another 75 question but NEVER any more.
3) The DAY BEFORE the exam: A lot of people say to not study the day before the exam, which I agree with, to some extent. I didn’t study, but I felt like I had to all day. Go out, find something to do, get your mind off the exam. Schedule a massage at night to get loose and relax. You will walk out of there feeling so calm, you will KNOW you’re ready.
4) The DAY OF the exam: If your appointment is first in the morning (Like mine), I woke up 2 hours before to have 2 cups of coffee. I felt like I needed to make sure I was up and ready and not going to fall asleep. I left an hour early and showed up to the testing center 45 minutes early. Give yourself extra time, just in case you run into traffic or something happens. The last thing you want to happen is to be turned away because you missed your appointment. They will let you in a half hour early, so make sure you are there and ready.
5) DURING the exam: Before you press “Start”, make sure you are READY, FOCUSED, and CALM. Take as much time as you need. Throughout the test, if you feel yourself slipping, stop and take a breath. If you want to take a break, TAKE A BREAK. Go out, go to the bathroom, stretch, have some water, and GET BACK IN THE GAME!
6) AFTER the exam: KEEP CALM! Do something to get your mind off of the WAIT! Go have a drink, go to the gym, do ANYTHING! Now, everyone recommends the PEARSON VUE “TRICK”. I have done it twice, and both times it has been 100% accurate ( I will write up my next blog about how to do it).
KEEP CALM, TAKE MY ADVICE, BE CONFIDENT, and PASS THE NCLEX!