It's a wonderful feeling to graduate from nursing school, but the celebrations are often short lived, leaving you with the gloom-and-doom thoughts of passing the dreaded NCLEX. It's enough to cause you to have nightmares and although you are a graduate nurse, part of you believes that you just won't be able to pass the NCLEX no matter how much you study.
You also know that you need to pass it the first time so you can continue to work and not have to pay the ridiculous fees they charge if you have to retake it.
If you look on the bright side of things, the boards are the last step towards your goal of becoming a nurse. Nursing school is really tough and passing the boards means you have jumped through all the hoops and you're finally at the end of the tunnel, seeing the light...A pretty awesome feeling!
If you are frantically looking for ways to pass the NCLEX you need look no further. We are going to give you some great tips to help you with your goal and offer you strategies to take the NCLEX with confidence.
STOP FREAKING OUT
Yeah, I know you're thinking "no one understands what I'm going through," but trust me when I say, I've been there. I completed my last semester of nursing school in May and had until August 31st of that same year to take the state boards. I was so scared that I actually waited till the very last day (August 31st) to take them. I wanted to make sure that I got paid as a nurse as long as I could, because I was working as a nurse graduate in the O.R during that time and I just knew I wouldn't pass the boards. If I didn't pass I wouldn't have been able to work as a graduate nurse anymore.
I was so petrified of taking the boards and had heard so many horror stories, but trust me, the boards were actually easier than about 75% of any of the tests I had taken in nursing school. Remember that although you won't have seen most of the questions on the boards before, nursing school has taught you to take this test. You really ARE prepared for it, even though you think you're not.
DON'T PROCRASTINATE & CRAM
whatever you do, don't procrastinate or cram study time. It was never a good idea to cram study in nursing school and it definitely isn't a good idea now. Most nursing boards tests will focus on what you DON'T know. Let's say you answer a question on pediatrics incorrectly, it will keep feeding you questions about pediatric nursing because it knows your weak spots. But let's face it here, you know your weak areas better than any computer, so focus on studying everything you really don't have a good grasp on. It's not the time to start trying to memorize entire drug books. Don't wait till the last minute to study,
REVIEW AN NCLEX GUIDE
The best book for helping you review nursing material to pass the NCLEX is Saunder Strategies for Test Success: Passing Nursing School and the NCLEX. This is a great book to help you understand how the NCLEX questions work and how to select the best answer, even if you have no clue. It enables you to critically think your way to the right answer by the process of elimination. This book is specially designed to help you pass the NCLEX the first time.
TAKE PRACTICE TESTS AND REVIEW QUESTIONS
This step will help you more than you even realize. It will prepare you to take the test and keep your mind in the "test taking" mode. There are some wonderful references online these days. and many are completely free. Here are some that may interest you:
NCLEX REVIEW BOOKS
DON'T STUDY ON THE BIG DAY
It's never good to study the day of a big test, you'll end up getting very stressed out. It's best to do something you enjoy to relieve stress. Take a walk and try to relax. Try not to think about the test. Involve yourself in family and friends.
BE THE EARLY BIRD
I drove to the site of my test the night before to make sure I knew how to get there. This was before GPS was available and I'm awful with directions. I was still late, because I got lost, but they still allowed me to take the test. From experience I can tell you to be on time, it's not worth the stress to be running late. There are navigation devices available now, so there's no excuse for getting lost.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
While taking the test trust your instinct. Remember that although you may not feel like a "real nurse" yet, you have the knowledge and skills to be one and you have worked hard to achieve all the knowledge you have. Go with your gut if you are unsure of the right answer. You can usually narrow it down to two answers and from there use your critical thinking skills to figure out the right answer. As you are taking the test you will probably be thinking "Wow, I thought it would be harder than this." But all the previous test you've taken have prepared you for this day. You're ready to be a nurse, so get this test out of the way and get on with your life. You've worked so hard for this day and you know what you're doing, even though you think you don't.
FORGET ABOUT THE TEST PROCESS
We all know that at minimum you will have to answer 75 questions to pass the NCLEX, but if the test continues after the 75 questions that does NOT mean you failed. It just means that you have probably passed, but it just wants to ask you a few more questions. Don't freak yourself out. Mine cut off at 75, and I made myself believe I had failed miserably. We all do this. Try your best not to think about it once you've taken it, until you get the results. Good luck and welcome to to wonderful and crazy field of nursing!
How was your NCLEX experience? Talk about it below.