Here's my pre-series post if you haven't gotten a chance to read it and would like to know a little bit more about how the NCLEX exam runs -- click here!
So you've registered through Pearson Vue and you got your ATT code to finally register for the NCLEX. ORRR maybe you haven't gotten the chance to register, but you've got a general date and time set on your calendar. Now, time to get down to STUDYING!
((Remember, my personal recommendations are what I think worked best for me. I have also spoken to several classmates and there can be some general consensus about certain things, and some other individuals who think otherwise.))
Here is how my NCLEX game plan panned out -->
1. LENGTH OF STUDY TIME. I gave myself about a month to really study for the NCLEX. I know of individuals who studied hard core for 2 weeks and were still able to pass. But my suggestion is to not really go beyond a month of focused studying to keep things fresh in your mind. I found it the perfect amount of time to brush up on some content and get used to the style of questions. That meant doing practice questions every day. I was at home on break during the time I was studying for the NCLEX and there was one small family trip and a personal trip that kind of messed up my focus, but that is why I highly suggest UWORLD.
During the first 2 weeks, I studied basically every day and maybe gave myself 1 or 2 days of the week as a break. But the last 2 weeks as I was getting a lot more anxious, I definitely felt the pressure and did at least those 30-40 questions every day.
2. Choosing the right RESOURCES -->
A. My school made us all purchase Kaplan. At first, it was pretty nice to be exposed to NCLEX styled questions, but their rationales as to why some answer choices are right or wrong were not very good. Kaplan didn't really help in terms of content, which is something I definitely needed a refresher on for certain topics. I used Kaplan to study for about a week, and switched to resource C below.
B. Saunders Comprehensive NCLEX-RN Review -- this book really focuses on the type of content that you would need to know for the NCLEX exam itself, not for your OB class, not for your Peds class, but for the NCLEX exam. I am guilty of having only opened the review book like 10 times. I say that because my next NCLEX resource is what I highly praise for your NCLEX study needs. But if you are someone who wants to be able to have a physical book, this is the one to get!
C. UWORLD*** -- GET IT! A lot of my peers ended up paying for this resource to study for the NCLEX and it really really did help. The cohort above us kept telling us how a bunch of people failed the NCLEX the first time and ended up using U WORLD to study again and did end up passing. You can choose to purchase a variety of packages, a month, three months, etc.
P.S. This post wasn't sponosred or anything. I really believe in the power of UWorld and a lot of my peers can agree.
WHY DO I (and so many of my friends) LOVE UWORLD -->
i. Their rationales are bomb dot com. After finishing a set of questions, you can review EACH question and it will give you ACTUAL quality explanations as to why the other answer choices are wrong.
ii. While reviewing your answers, the questions show percentage of other UWorld users answering the question correctly. As well as a breakdown of percentage of answer choices chosen by other users. I kind of liked this because it gave me a gauge of how really off or really close I was to the right answer.
iii. The program analyzes how you rank compared to other individuals who have done the UWorld questions. Personally, I ranked 53rd ( I think) percentile (which was still above average for entire UWorld users). I finished my NCLEX at 84 questions. I also have friends who ranked pretty high (above 60) and finished the NCLEX past 100 questions. It really depends on the random questions you get on the actual NCLEX to be honest.
Iv. There are TWO self assessments that kind of "mimic" the NCLEX where questions kind of get harder as you continue to answer questions. They give you a score of how likely you are to pass the NCLEX. HOWEVER -- don't get to bugged out by these. I know multiple people who have scored "Borderline Passing" for one or both and still passed at the minimum 75 questions on the actual NCLEX.
v. Phone app -- this was what I used a lotttt when I didn't have access to my computer. The phone app can be used on the go. During some of the road trips I had during my study period, I was able to whip out my phone and at least get some questions done.
SOME GENERAL NCLEX STUDY ADVICE -->
1. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. You have essentially finished all of your coursework by the time you are about to study for the NCLEX. You got all the content you could possibly absorb so far, so now it's time to just practice NCLEX STYLED QUESTIONS to get used to how the test will be. The NCLEX exam may not be how you were asked questions during exams in nursing school.
I tried to do at least 75 questions a day. Some days I did less (around 30-40) and some days I did more than 75. The key is just to be exposed to as many questions as you can.
2. Take your time UNDERSTANDING the RATIONALE. Once you've submitted questions and you are going back to review, take the time to understand the question and why other answer choices are right or wrong, no matter if you the question right. In Uworld, since the content review in the rationales are soooo good, I found myself pretty exhausted even doing 75 questions and then going over every question afterwards. My content refresher definitely happened during this review part of my study day.
3. STUDY AROUND THE SAME TIME you are planning to take the NCLEX. This is a personal preference of mine. I think I just had it in my brain that I needed my brain to work optimally around the same time I was taking the NCLEX (at 8am), so I tried to sleep earlier and wake up earlier the 2 weeks before my NCLEX so that I was in some type of routine.
If I think of anything else, I will definitely add to the list!
Have a good day, everyone! Part 2 will be up in no time!