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Advice and Questions before registering to take NCLEX for the 3rd time :(

Hi Everyone! I'm going to try to be as brief as possible with my story and then ask a few questions. Please offer any advice or input that you may have! Smile

- I graduated nursing school this May (5/2013)
- My first NCLEX RN attempt was in late July. My school used ATI, so I only used ATI to study the week OF Nomy test. I had all 265 questions, used 5 - 5.5 hours, and failed. (6 content areas near the passing standard and 2 below the passing standard)
- I just took my second attempt on 9/14. This time I used NCLEX Mastery App, Saunders, Hurst book, ATI (again), Lippincott's Made Easy book, AND a tutor in my region that all hospitals and schools hire to teach NCLEX review; I studied from the time I failed the first time up until this test, 3-4 hours a day, everyday. Yet again, I had all 265, 5-5.5 hours, and failed. However, this time, none of my content areas were below the passing standard; all 8 were near. But still, after all those hours and hard work, I thought I would have done so much better. SadBroken Heart 
- So now I need your help in figuring out  how and what to do to gain SUCCESS on my third attempt. Please, I welcome any, any, any advice or encouragement! Smile

Here are a few questions I have:

- Someone I know said they "hid" the question counter and timer during their NCLEX exam; is this possible?! Because let me tell you, I am half of my own problem. I have severe test anxiety (and I read the NCSBN Instructor's blog for text anxiety, which definitely helped for the time being Wink ), so much that I didn't sleep well for 2-3 days leading up to the tests, I had severe GI problems despite taking the max dosage of appropriate meds, and i kept looking at that darn counter and timer, which only made my anxiety worse. Sad  
- Would dedicating my heart and soul to NCSBN's learning extension be more beneficial than trying to review multiple other sources? Maybe I just overdid it last time/ wore myself out. . . 
- 3, 5, 8, 15 week courses. . . do they all have the same information and tasks, just different time frames for completion?
- I noticed some of the testimonials on here stated that people didn't have time to finish their course. I know if you stay on schedule, you should be fine. But is it possible to finish things ahead of time, like by an hour or so, etc.?

- All-in-all, what do any of you guys recommend for success as a re-taker because I am desperate! 

Thank you all so much in advance! 

Wilted Flower

  • Hey! I'm in the exact same boat you are in! Literally... graduated in may 2013 when my school used ATI...failed in 112 with two areas below and the rest near..... did the 5 week program here and got all 265 in 5 hours and failed again with all near passing standards and I am just now starting to study again for my 3rd attempt.

    It really is heartbreaking and dream-crushing, trust me. I have a job waiting for me at a hospital and they almost didnt let me keep the position because they need me to start working...luckily they are going to wait till I pass. However, I cant tell you how awful it feels to not be able to start doing the job I love and know I was meant to do.

    All I can say is that we have to keep our heads up and WE WILL PASS. Because despite failing, we will be GREAT nurses and have so much more of a reward to have.

    As for the test anxiety....really practice deep breathing techniques and focus on the HERE AND NOW.

    When you are in the test getting anxious about failing or need to stay focused on the here and now because that is all that you are in control of. You only have the one question that is in front of you...the rest is totally out of your control and there is no use worrying about it. Every 10 questions...take a short break. Who cares if its just looking around the room thinking about something funny...keep grounded and dont let your worries get the best of you.

    When I was taking my second attempt after I kept getting question after question...all I kept saying is "I still have a question in front of me and I am still in this."

    We can get through this!! Keep up the studying and do as much as you can without wearing yourself out and make time for some fun to relax!

    -Best of luck,


  • Your test anxiety sounds like what I went through during my last semester of nursing school. I had to turn to outside help to prepare me for the RN-NCLEX. I feel it helped since I was able to pass the RN-NCLEX.

    In addition, the day before my exam, I did some strenuous hiking to relieve my stress, had a 1 -1/2 hr massage, played pool (billiards) and did some dancing. I think the laughs and activities helped me to forget about the exam, it helped me to relax and get a good night's sleep. I didn't stay out all night but I did get to sleep-in the following morning. My exam was scheduled for the afternoon, so I took my time getting ready and kept my mind off the exam.

    Do not review any material the day before the exam.  Take your time, re-read the questions at least 3 times. I didn't pay attention to the time, it took me 2-1/2 hrs to reach 75 questions. I was told if I didn't finish the 265 questions by the allotted time, they only looked at the last 60-65 questions. Keeping this in mind, I was in no rush and re-read each question.  

    Everyone deals differently with exams, this was my experience and how I dealt with my situation.  Good luck to you.

  • In reply to nurseWil:


    I think before anything you need to relax your mind first before doing any studying. It is only when your mind is relaxed that it will absorb information a lot better. I used the SAUNDERS and NCSBN for my reviewers. I was an LPN before and I used the same reviewers for my NCLEX-PN. I passed the first time for both the NCLEX-PN and RN using these reviewers. The thing that really helped me the most was reading the questions twice and really understanding what it is asking and then go from there. Sometimes, the answers are in the questions. I think the key in passing the NCLEX is understanding the question being asked and how you answer it. In the Saunders book, there is a chapter about understanding the questions and paying close attention to certain words in the questions. Reread this chapter over and over until it becomes a part of you. Also, it also helped me that I don't over do studying like I try to rest my brain. I don't study for 3-4 hours straight because when I do this my brain kinda gives up on me and it does not absorbs or understands that much. Make sure you have sufficient break time in between studying. Try to relax. Lastly, practice, practice, answering NCLEX questions.It will train your brain to become familiar and answer NCLEX questions, I did 100 questions per day. NCSBN questions are almost identical with NCLEX (how the questions are worded not exact questions from the NCLEX). But it did seem like NCSBN are harder questions than the NCLEX questions.

    Regardless how many times you failed NCLEX,  always condition your mind that you will pass. On that day that you will test, go to the testing center with a positive outlook and OWN it right away.

    Good Luck and keep your head up! You will pass!

  • In reply to geezelly:

    Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for all the support I have received! I am finally starting to look forward to studying again. It just takes time. I was so horribly depressed and worried about getting my license ASAP, but now I'm taking a more realistic approach. I am taking my time, doing what makes me feel prepared, rather than rushing into it again and failing.

    You all have made me realize, it's not the end of the world. It's a test. Thank you so, so much!

  • In reply to jlb21748:

    Omg i just think that those things happens only to me , i fail my second attempt with 76 question and i have a severe anxiety when i go to take the test. At this moment i dont know wht else i need to study. I review pearson ( 68-72) kaplan book, lippiccot, helen feur audios and question ( 70% ) and i do nclex mastery (72-76 )

    Any suggestion im really concern and i dont have any idea for my problem


  • In reply to shenasi89:

    Breathe, pray, speak positivity in your mind. I wrote affirmation statements on the mirrors all over my house!! Fasted from social activities, and focused on me

  • In reply to tcosta2010:

    you guys are all caring and helping out each other with suggestions and sharing experiences. I am taking mine in 4days and this will be my 3rd time too. I just can't focus anymore and start looking for things that can relieve my worry and anxiety. 1st time I only answered 199 and ran out of time bc I was spending too much time in beginning: 2nd time I had like 150? and I thought I did it :( I had "near the passing std" in all content areas, so it is kind of hard to know my weakness is.

    I want to review those "skill step question" (how to insert foley, or suction, like step-by-step drag the question type) does anyone how the website or link I can review online? I have my skill CD from nursing school though.