Hi everyone! If you are visiting my website in desperation for help after failing NCLEX, do not fear, I have known your pain! If you have not taken the exam yet, hopefully my story will give you hope and clarity on how to study.
After graduating nursing school and contracting into the Army nurse corpse on May 4th, I took the NCLEX for the first time shortly afterwards on May 30th. I started studying in April with the Kaplan course and took the predictor test scoring a 57%. Both the Kaplan program and my school told me I was ready. (I also had to take NCLEX within 30 days of graduation because of the contract with the Army). My test shut off at 160 questions with about 35 select all that apply. I tried the the Pearson Vue trick of trying to re-register for the exam and it let me. Within a week I received the official results in the mail that I failed. After a quick cry, I ordered the Saunders Comprehensive NCLEX review and got down to work. With my Army contract, I was told I had three chances to pass the test or I would be re-branched into their system. With my nursing career in the Army at stake, I knew I really had to find the right study plan that would help me pass. Studying became my new full time job. I went through the entire Saunder’s comprehensive, a strategies for test success textbook, and a priority and delegation textbook. I stuck post its up all around my house with random facts and lab values so my brain would be saturated with information. Middle of July came and I anxiously waited my new ATT. On the 45th day and no sign of the new ATT, I drove to the BRN office and asked for it. I scheduled my test for the next day because I was in such a hurry to get this nightmare over with. I failed at 122 questions this time.
Deep breath. I called the Army to keep them informed of my status, except this time it was bad news. Because of the budget cuts, I would only be allowed to test twice. So my nursing branch was taken away and I was put into their system for a new branch such as Military Intelligence, Aviation, Field artillery, and so on. After a big cry this time, I picked up the books again and looked for a new study plan. I found Suzanne’s Plan and I absolutely LOVED it. I followed it exactly and saw so much improvement in my test practice scores. I also bought ATI Testing and met with a friend on a weekly basis who recently passed NCLEX to teach me test taking strategies. I slowly started changing my mindset into thinking of test questions as a game. With every question, I would “play the video forward” imagining what would happen to my patient if I chose that answer. I signed up for the Kaplan class that I had took already before graduation as a refresher course.
For the next three months, I consistently studied 3 hours in the morning starting out with a 100 question exam and 3 hours in the evening reviewing content or questions I got wrong earlier in the day. Suzanne’s plan was really great but the ten days of testing became torturous because I kept having to add on days when I scored low. During this time, I started watching Bear Grylls’s new show called “Get Out Alive” and decided to adopt his saying to get me through the hard days of discouragement. He says, “You’ve really got to dig deep here if your going to make it and get out alive”. Of course, this saying is true and applicable to all areas in life, but needless to say, it kept me going. I passed on my third time around at a solid 75 questions. I am now a registered nurse!
We will see where God takes me with the new Army branch, but I want to encourage all of you to keep going no matter where you are at in life. Whether you have failed multiple attempts or are just beginning to study for NCLEX, I would like to help you through your journey. So dig deep. And study on!