Passed NCLEX first try 1.5 years after graduating!

1/20/2023 4:27:15 PM
I hope this message will give hope to those out there who had unforeseen circumstances that did not allow them to take the NCLEX right after graduating unlike many people in their cohort. I passed the NCLEX on the first try after 75 questions and only used UWorld to prepare!!

I began studying for my NCLEX about a year after graduating and studied on and off for 2 months. I would say there were 4-5 weeks of hardcore studying, especially the week leading up to my NCLEX date. I purchased the NCLEX and Pharm study guide from @yournursingeducator. This was very helpful during the first couple weeks of studying to review topics that I forgot.

I only used UWorld to study (2 self-assessments) nursing questions. I began with Adult Health just like in nursing school so that I had the basics down. I used tutor mode for the first 2 quizzes then quickly realized that timed mode was much more effective. Initially, I wrote out the rationales for the the questions I got wrong in the Adult Health section. For example if I got a cardiac tamponade question wrong I would write a header "cardiac tamponade" in my notes and write everything down about the concept and leave enough room for more notes on that specific condition/topic. I did this for the cardiac, respiratory, immune, and hematology systems before it got too time consuming. Then I switched to note taking in UWorld (making sure to write/type notes in your own words really helps with understanding and not just memorizing). Adding all of the different pictures, charts, and diagrams to the notes really helped instill concepts in my head since I'm a visual learner. But I would recommend taking notes on a word document because everything deletes after the UWorld expires (I transferred all notes to Word 2 days before my exam).

Once I finished Adult Health, which is the biggest chunk of questions, I went to Fundamentals and Leadership/Prioritization. These are the critical thinking and nursing knowledge application questions that the NCLEX loves to focus on. Then I ended with pharm, maternity, psych, and child health. Maternity was my weakest subject so I left for the last weeks of studying so all of the information would be fresh in my head during the NCLEX.

For people who have been out of school for a while like myself, I would suggest studying by subject and not doing quizzes mixed with questions from all subjects. I forgot a lot of the lab values that I memorized in nursing school but I didn't stress too much about this. I would look up lab values (in notes that I already had) to answer questions then really focused on memorizing the values 2 weeks before my exam. By then, from doing so many questions, I already had a lot of them memorized. Glad I didn't stress on this because I didn't have any lab value or calculation questions on my NCLEX.

I did a total of 88 quizzes on UWorld. I began with 20 question quizzes, doing 60 questions total each day and focusing on the rationales and why each question was wrong. If I still didn't get a topic I used simple nursing and RegisteredNurseRN youtube videos (great for visual learners). Before beginning a new category I would review using these videos and the notes I purchased from @yournursingeducator to refresh my knowledge. As time went on I would go from doing 60 questions a day to 260 questions a day.

1/20/2023 4:27:55 PM
An important thing I learned is to not over study each day and burn yourself out, that happened to me and I would end up taking 1-2 weeks off studying and restarting would be very hard. If you notice you're breezing through rationales and only focusing on questions you got wrong, just stop for the day and finish up the next day. It's very important to read everything, even questions you got correct. Pace yourself, calculate how many questions a day you need to study so that you finish UWORLD AT LEAST a couple days before the NCLEX.

My average score when I finished UWorld was 63% putting me in the 86th percentile. I wouldn't focus too much on this to be honest because my quiz scores ranged from high 40s- to mid 70s. As long as you're getting more than half the questions correct majority of the time you should be ok.

I used the last 3 days for self-assessments. My scores were 64% & 67%. For those test takers who take 1-2 minutes on questions, dont stress because I had not taken any quiz more than 45 questions before these assessments and found that I still paced my self well. It took me 3 hours average to finish 100 questions which I was fine with since the NCLEX gives 5 hours for 145 questions.

I finished reviewing the second self assessment the day before the NCLEX and finished all forms of studying and reviewing by 3pm. I would suggest using that entire day to destress though. I used to rest of the day to relax. I knew at that point that I learned and memorized all I could. Since my NCLEX exam was at 1pm, I took time that morning to skim my notes for 30 min focusing on my weakest points (maternity, pharm). I arrived at the testing center 1 hour before my exam and was seated right away. I took 2.5 hours with no breaks for 75 questions then my screen shut off. I would suggest hiding the question count and timer during the exam for those who get anxious. (I also did this during long UWorld quizzes and during the self-assessments by using a sticky note to cover that part of the screen).

Although I walked put of the exam feeling defeated as the questions were hard and there were a few topics I felt I never came across, the NCLEX screen looks just like UWorld which was very comforting and UWorld rationales prepares you with skills on how to answer a question. I realize now that the exam being hard and many SATA was a good sign since it meant I was getting questions correct. I knew that the computer shutting off at 75 questions either meant I did terrible or that I passed. So when I got home I did the Pearson Vue trick and got the "good sign" and was finally able to relax. 1 day after the exam my license number was posted and then the next day my quick results on Pearson was up.

Just know that if I can pass on the first try so can you! The NCLEX is a hard and stressful exam but UWorld definitely prepares you well enough to pass on the first try especially if you take your time to thoroughly read the rationales! Just remember that the NCLEX wants you to pass. It tests to see if you can be a safe nurse who can critically think not a nurse who knows every little thing. Best of luck to all those studying!

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