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I WANT TO HELP YOU! PLEASE READ! Went from FAILING 265 questions to PASSING 75 questions!

Those who are anxious about taking the NCLEX, I know how you feel. Especially those who have already failed the NCLEX.

Trust me, I've been there. 

Does this sound familiar? "I'm thinking of giving up Nursing completely." "I'll never be able to pass this test. Statistics show that repeat test takers have a lower chance of passing the more you take the exam." "I'm so overwhelmed, nothing has worked for me. I've paid hundreds on reviews and I'm going bankrupt paying for this test over and over." 

I'm not here to remind you of all your fears. I'm here to tell you to take EVERYTHING you feel... your fears, your doubts, your worries, your thoughts of "all these people are depending on me."... take ALL of your negativity (and I mean ALL of it) and accept it. Let yourself go through those emotions and accept that they are a part of you and they are there. But don't let yourself dwell. Take all of it, accept it, and then throw it away. Never let it hold you back again. Write it all down on paper if you have to, crumple it up, and throw it away forever.

I graduated May 3, 2013.
I took my NCLEX the 1st time on July 30, 2013. I failed with 265 questions.
I took my NCLEX the 2nd time on November 26, 2013. I failed with 97 questions.
I gave up Nursing completely.
I found inspiration and decided to study again.
I took my NCLEX the 3rd time on February 19, 2015. I PASSED WITH 75 QUESTIONS.

Okay, first off let me say... I did nursing initially for all the wrong reasons. To please my parents. I despised it, but I thought if I do it then they would be happy. 
It wasn't until I fully accepted it in my life that I was able to start studying again. Now, I know you're all waiting for the "What review did you take? What tips did you have? How long did you study?" I'll get there but that's not as important than this. I promise.

The NCLEX is a brutal, mind playing exam.
It's there not to test what you know, but what you'll do with what you know. I applaud the makers of NCLEX because they truly understand how to put Nurses out there on the field who won't kill anyone. Those questions are out there to make you critically think... and trust me, if you're answering questions right, you'll know you're critically thinking. You can hear and feel yourself thinking. It's a mental test. And you have to mentally prepare yourself... physically, emotionally, intellectually, and yes... spiritually.

It doesn't matter what religion you are or if you don't have one at all. But O.M.G. you better start thinking of someone you can take with you on your exam date. I grew up a roman catholic but I wasn't as faithful as I should have been. Those two years without praying. But the second I started giving all my anxiety to Him, I felt a huge burden lifted. I said "I know I failed twice, (I named all of my fears), and now it's up to you. Let your will be done. I'm letting go of all my fears and giving it all to you." Once I did that, I felt so much peace. I kid you not, every single second of my test I could feel Him next to me. Every SINGLE question I wasn't 100% sure (which was half my test), I said a little prayer before I submitted my answer "If it is your will, let it be. I am ready. If not, then I understand." I honestly let Him guide me to the right answers. Sometimes I would change my answer because I could feel it. So think of someone... anyone. Let them be with you. Find your peace a midst all of the anxiety. 

Now, the part you've been waiting for.
The first time I took my test, I had a private tutor. Worked pretty well because 265 questions and failing is THE CLOSEST you could ever get to passing (if you understand how CAT works). 
The second time I took my test, I did Kaplan and reviewed with my ATI. Works for a lot of people but didn't work for me. Sorry.
The third time I took my test, I used Hurst and NCSBN. 

Honestly, SO many people can tell you what to do, what to read, and how long to do it. Trust me, I've looked at so many testimonials, watched dozens of YouTube videos, and talked to SO many nursing friends... But NO ONE can help you but you. Sad story but true. YOU understand YOURSELF. I can't tell you what to do but I can tell you this.


I am a social butterfly. I worked 2 jobs. I volunteered, I danced in a company, I had a clingy relationship...
I was blessed to be able to take a whole month off, fly to a different state to stay with my RN sister, and focus solely on studying.
I know some of you won't have that luxury, but I'm telling you.. If you have that luxury you HAVE TO take it if you're having a hard time passing. For those of you who don't, manage your time. Make NCLEX the priority. Take out what can be taken out. Like I said, the makers of the NCLEX know when they can let loose an RN to the general public and be safe. Because they know that those who passed the NCLEX know time management skills and prioritization... since they had to learn all that in nursing school and while studying for the NCLEX! I CANNOT stress enough how much you need to just FOCUS and put NCLEX first.

I studied 8-10hrs/day 5days/week. On the weekends I went hiking, spent time with family and friends, relaxed and meditated.

The first 2 weeks I spent doing Hurst. Watched every review, filled in every blank, and read the FAQs. I would listen to the same lecture again and use a different pen to write more notes. I would color code highlight (pink = positions, green = interventions, blue = s/s, etc.) so that I could go back and quickly find things if I needed clarification. (Positioning is something people often overlook!) I would listen to the lectures while falling asleep, brushing my teeth, taking a shower. Repetition, repetition.

The second 2 weeks I spent on the NCSBN review. I did all the mandatory subjects first. Fully understood them before I went on to the other subjects. But I didn't get too caught up in knowing everything. You can't possibly know everything. And you have to accept that. It was hard for me to since I'm a perfectionist. Honestly, though.. perfectionism while preparing for the NCLEX is a downfall. Read the review and find out what's the need to know. If it's getting too in depth to a point where it gives you anxiety, move on.. Take the test, see what you don't understand and focus on the lowest test scores and move to the highest.

The week before my exam... No more studying. Just 300 questions/day. The last bit on the NCSBN review. Yeah, that's all I used. Actually I did TWO out of the SIX Q Reviews with Hurst but I figured, "Hey! NCSBN are the makers of the test. Might as well use their questions. I don't have time to answer all the questions in the world, but I'm fine with that."

I didn't even sleep well the night before my test. I was so anxious. I studied too hard the day before my test. But man, oh man... finding that inner peace and guidance that I was talking about earlier... that focused me on the task ahead and what I needed to pass. You all can do it if I can do it. I know you're tired of hearing that (I know I was), but it's true. All you need is focus, prayer, and confidence.. with a little bit of review.

I hope you all took something out of this. I hope you all learned something. If there's anything I can do to help, I'm here. Honestly, I want EVERYONE to pass. I care about everyone because I know how I felt when I was studying. That feeling sucked. Nearly had me give up on everything completely. But here I am now... I want you all to do well. I want you all to succeed.

I'm here for you. YOU CAN DO IT!

  • In reply to hswan:

    You're welcome and I'm glad you could find some solace in my post :) I am so sorry about your news but it is not the end! First of all, congrats for graduating and having the courage to attempt this test pregnant. I must say, getting to 187 questions guessing each one and being pregnant means that you are strong and intelligent and you are doing something right! Yes, don't stress and yes, only use ONE study material at a time. I can't stress that enough. I'm currently helping someone right now with a calendar. If you need any help with anything, don't hesitate to ask. I'm happy that you're not giving up and you have a plan already set. That's the first step! Secondly, congrats on your pregnancy. I wish you all the best :) You can do this! Your baby will be happy to say that their mommy is an RN!

  • I am going to take the test my 3 time. I'm so disappointed and discouraged because I am a foreign nurse. I hope to pass.
  • Thanks for this post. I'm going to try your strategy of Hurst then NCSBN. I Tried NCSBN a few years back but I don't think I really took full advantage of the review. I need to focus in on 1 review and perfecting it using NCSBN. I was curious where you did all your practice questions? Just NCSBN? Thanks.
  • thank you so much for this post. I know its a little old but a few mins ago, before I read your post, I was feeling so anxious. I also believe in god, after what you mentioned, I praied and it gave me so much strength. I will take the Nclex Dec 26. I will keep you updated.
  • Wow I have been feeling all those same feeling. I am terrified of trying to take my test again. All your feeling you explained truly hit home. I just need to buckle down and take the test and study hard. I need to quit procrastinating. Thank you so much for sharing.
  • thank you so much for sharing. Im in the same boat. Thank you for giving another light in my dream
  • Thank you for this inspiring post! It has given me motivation to re-focus and try to organize study habits to jump on the paddy wagon. I don't want to give up on my dream career, but this is getting old and at times can't help to just leave it on the back burner. Sometimes, I think maybe it's not ment to be.

    What Hurst book did you use? I did the Hurst content video (not sure if it's the same you wrote about). Any other tips please send my way it will be greatly appreciated. I plan on purchasing NCSBN tomorrow not sure if to get 5 or 8 weeks.