So I always get asked a few questions all the time! “How did you pass the NCLEX in 75 questions,” “How did you study,” and most of all “what materials did you use to study?” So since it is the summer time and I know the nursing students out there are currently studying to sit for boards I wanted to share with y’all how I did it and hopefully it will help you guys!
Studying for the NCLEX… How did I do it?
The way I chose to study was rather unconventional and not the normal way nursing students usually study for the NCLEX. The NCLEX also known as the National Council Licensure Examination. This is required before practicing as a nurse in any state after you have successfully graduated from your nursing program. As you guys know, I failed my first nursing program it was tough and I wasn’t mentally ready! I had to change my major to Psychology, which is what my first Bachelor degree is in. After that, I was accepted to Bryant & Stratton College, which is a school geared towards working adults that offered an associate degree nursing track. This program was about 20 months long. After I graduated, I studied for about 3 weeks and passed the test on my first try in 75 questions! Jesus was on my side okkkuurrrr *Cardi B voice* The NCLEX is set up to test according to proficiency. So the more proficient you are the harder the questions get! I myself literlly had majority select all that apply, which is torture lol! But when that screen turned blue after my 75th question I knew I was in good shape!
Okay so first things first…. I paid for zero study materials! What a blessing right lol Like most schools, my school used ATI throughout our coursework so because of that we were offered a week long ATI review session that was taught by an ATI representative. I found this quite helpful. We were also able to take a practice test that showed our strengths and weaknesses. That is actually what I used to gear what I would study. My school also offered the Hurst Review for free as well. That was also a week long. We could choose between one or the other or both. I didn’t think both were necessary so I stuck with ATI. I also used the Saunders review book for study questions as well. From my practice test results I chose my weakest points to spend the most time on. I also went over my strong points too. I strategically made a schedule for three weeks on when I would study, eat, sleep, take a break, etc. I also still worked during this time….. WHEW CHILE!
Study schedule went something like this yall lol….
Monday: Work 7p-7a
Tuesday: Work 7p-7a
Wednesday: Rest until 4pm
5pm: Eat Dinner
6pm-8pm: Study Endocrine and Gastrointestinal Systems
9pm-10pm: Do study questions in Saunders for Endocrine and Gastrointestinal systems
Thursday: Wake up at 8am and have breakfast
9am-11am: Study Cardiovascular and Respiratory systems
12pm-1pm: ATI practice questions for Cardiovascular/Respiratory systems
1pm-2pm: Eat Lunch……………..I think you guys get the point lol!
Where are these review books you speak of?
You can buy the Saunders review book at places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Shoot if I were y’all lol I would google to find the best price of the book and go from there! Another added resource I used was the Hurst Review book! I’ll post some pics of the books below as well. You can also use flash cards, which is what I used to study pharmacology. Honestly, it just proved to be easier. I’m not a song person so I didn’t make any up, but I know nurses who thrive off of mnemonics and if that helps you… Go For It! I also drew some diagrams! Understand, I am not the best artist but this really helped me with the identifying the different symptoms of right and left heart failure, the flow of blood through the heart, etc! I just like to visualize things you know!
Major Key Alert!
The last tips I want to give you guys is about planning when to take the NCLEX, costs, and some suggestions on how you may want to set this all up. First I would ask your school if they cover the cost of the NCLEX. My nursing school had an incentive for us. Once we were determined to be ready to take the NCLEX this was done by the Dean of the school. She scheduled appointments with us individually and went over our ATI results to see where we were. If she didn’t think we were ready she would have us go back and review for a few weeks and meet with her again. Each time we had to take a comprehensive review to show our strengths and weaknesses. This helped me a great deal because I was able to see where I was with everything. Once the dean determined you were ready. She gave us a gift card that would cover the cost of the exam. Since I was in a city where there were many nursing schools I had to travel an two hours out to take my test!
Tip: Set your date if time and finances allow you to do so. You can always change it if you need to!
I think this is a good way to give you a layout of how much time you are giving yourself to study. This can also help you plan the next couple of months of your life, or however long you plan to study for. This way you are not fighting or having to wait for a date to take the exam! Once I had my date I continued to study and the day before the exam I did not pick up one book I just relaxed and let my brain rest. I know you’re probably asking did I have to give the money back the school paid? The answer is NOPE lol! Even the students who weren’t successful the first time didn’t have to repay the school they were just responsible for covering their cost for retaking the exam. So if your schoolhas any incentive please take them up on it! I know many who want to sit for boards but cannot afford to! So an incentive could definitely help!
The next day when I woke up at 9:30 am I was officially a registered nurse! It was one of my proudest moments to date! So I hope these tips can help you guys on your journey to the NCLEX! If you guys have any questions please comment below I am so here to help all of you!