So you’ve done it. You’ve finished all the classes, completed all the clinicals, and passed the final exams. You sent off your transcripts and like $600 bucks. You anxiously waited for that letter from the Board of Nursing. You’ve selected a date and time. Now, what? Take a deep breath.
Now I know everyone learns differently and certain things work from some people and not others. I personally think paying for a study course is not worth it. Trust yourself. YOU completed all the classes and course work. YOU made it. YOU can do it. I’ll be completely honest with you; I didn’t study for my LPN boards or RN boards. And you know what? I passed. Both times. Easily. I’m not trying to brag and I’m not saying you’re not cut out to be a nurse if you don’t pass the first time. But think about it: NCLEX is over ANY subject nursing-related and can be a variety of different types of questions (multiple choice, select all that apply, put in correct order, diagrams, etc). Oh how I hate ‘select all that apply’ questions. How do you study for that? Really? Seriously, somebody tell me. Just re-read all your textbooks? Or pick some subjects and pray to God that’s what happens to be on your test? Plus, since NCLEX is a test from Hell if you start doing bad in a category or even on a type of question it will give you more of that type of question to make sure you know you’re stuff.
My advice to you is to trust yourself. And your gut. I don’t know though, can your gut be trusted? Anywho, use your common sense. That’s what it’s all about. Sure you have to be book smart. Uh-hmm memorizing all those abbreviations and lab values. But what it all boils down to is common sense.
So you’ve arrived at the testing facility, where they will treat you like a giant cheater. Even after the photo, fingerprint, palm vein scan, and strip search, ok so maybe they don’t strip search you but they might as well. Geesh. Ok, they’re pretty nice, but seriously they have to assume everyone is a cheater.
The NCLEX-PN has a minimum of 85 questions and a time limit of 5 hrs. The NCLEX-RN has a minimum of 75 questions and a time limit of 6 hrs. Yes, because you’re wondering NCLEX-RN is harder than NCLEX-PN. For my NCLEX-PN I had the minimum of 85 questions and it only took like 30-40 minutes. For my NCLEX-RN I had a little over 75 question and took 40-50 minutes. You continue to get questions until NCLEX is able to be 95% certain you’ve achieved the passing standard. So if it shuts off right away then more than likely you passed unless you did TERRIBLE and I mean like terrible terrible. They’ll tell you in school that you can just randomly get all 235 questions but I have since read that in fact that is a myth and that the only way you get all the questions is if it has taken you that long to achieve the passing standard. So I don’t know for sure which is true.
Also at some point you are offered to take a break. I don’t really know much about this because I finished my tests before the break screen popped up. Unless you really need a drink or have to poop or vomit, I recommend skipping the break to stay in the zone.
Ok, so you’re probably wondering where that info about passing the NCLEX the first time is. Well here we go. Start off with a deep breath. Then take each question one at a time, once you’ve answered one you’ve answered it, don’t continue thinking about it. And please, for the love of God, don’t sit there and stare at the same question for 10 minutes. If you didn’t know it in the first minute, I highly doubt you’ll have an epiphany and remember 7 minutes later.
HOW TO PASS NCLEX THE FIRST TIME:
1. Common Sense. I believe you can answer every question using this method! Especially use this for the ones that can’t be answered using the ABC’s of Nursing or Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
2. ABC’s of Nursing.
You will have many questions about triage. Which patient will you see first. Most of these questions can be answered by the ABCs. You see the patients with airway problems first, then breathing, then circulation. But some of the questions won’t have patients with a diagnosis that pertains to ABC but use the same concept. Would you see a patient with a broken leg with a pain rating of 6 or a patient who is jaundice with a fever of 100.9?
3. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
These are both of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. One lists each category and what type of stuff is included in each category, the other has small pictures to depict what goes in each category. I’ve included both because some people remember better by seeing pictures and being able to related back to it. Basically you take each question and figure out which category it would fall under. Obviously, the most important is ‘physiological’ and moves to the top towards the less important categories needed to sustain life.
So you’ve completed the test. WOO-HOO! Go on take a big sigh of relief. But here comes the most antagonizing 3 days of your life. And for real THREE days exactly. Like 72 hours. You took your test at 2:30pm? Don’t bother looking online (or calling in) at 12am, 6am, 8am, 10am, 1pm, sit back and relax til good ol’ 2:30pm my friend. You will more than likely have a lot of anxiety during this time. And you will probably feel like you failed. I’m pretty sure this is natural. Remember patience is a virtue.
In case you don’t have any patience. Like most people. You can try the NCLEX trick. But I can’t ensure it’s accuracy. I didn’t do the trick for my LPN boards but I did for my RN boards. It did indicate that I passed my RN boards, which I did.
Good luck all you future nurses!