As you all probably know, I took the NCLEX on Wednesday February 6th, 2013 at 8:00am at the Pearson Professional Center here in Rochester. Basically, on NCLEX, you can get anywhere from 75 - 265 questions and are given 6 hours (including breaks) to take as many questions as they give you. They base how many questions to give you based on how you are doing. You keep getting harder questions until you get one wrong and then they go a little easier. If you get a lot of hard questions, it probably means you're doing quite well.
I ended up getting 75 questions before the screen went blue & I was done. It took me about an hour to take those questions. I got a lot of Select All That Apply questions, which is scary because those are so hard. But those are the hardest questions NCLEX has, so, basically, that means you're doing well.
I can't go into much detail because you sign an NDA before taking the test that says you won't talk about any of the questions and the whole test is confidential.
Advice for studying- Take the Kaplan Review Class!!!! Luther built in the fee of this class into our tuition each semester, which was nice because we never really saw how much we actually paid for it. It's around $300 I think? My class was at the beginning of January from Wednesday through Saturday from 9:00am-4:00pm each day. We went through a ton of practice NCLEX questions and learned the Kaplan Decision Tree and how to approach questions, as well as general information about what to expect during NCLEX.
- With the Kaplan class, you also get access to the Kaplan website with thousands of practice tests and questions, which is ultimately the best way to study. You just need to get used to the type of questions NCLEX asks. All the people I graduated this past December agree that Kaplan really does help you.
- Also on that website are a series of lectures about the different topics of NCLEX reviewing content and medicatons. This information is also in the review book that Kaplan has. I listened to all the lectures (which, to be honest, takes quite a while....maybe 2 weeks if you're doing 4 hours a day), but it's really helpful.
- I studied for exactly a month. I started out around 4 hours a day and ended up, towards the end, studying 2-2.5 hours a day. Even if you only have 30 minutes to study in a day, make sure you take practice questions. I always tried to take 50 questions each day just to keep up with the habit.
- Make notecards as you get closer to NCLEX with information that you are continually having trouble remembering and quiz yourself. Also, KNOW YOUR LAB VALUES!! By memorizing common lab values (AST/ALT, Hgb/Hmt, Lithium levels, INR, PT/PTT, Dig levels, etc), I was able to get a bunch of practice questions right. This is a must!
- Kaplan has an iPhone app that has some practice questions. There's a free version and a version you can buy.
- Go into the test with some confidence to help calm your nerves. Being too anxious can kill you before this test. Stay calm!
- About 15 of the questions you get are actually just questions that NCLEX is trying out for use in future tests. You won't know which questions these are, but they don't count towards your score.
After you take the test- There's a little Pearson trick to see if you passed. If you go on the Pearson Vue website and log in, you can see that it will say Delivery Successful behind your test date. You then click Register and fill out the information to try and re-register. Basically, if a pop-up comes up that says "You have recently scheduled this test. Please contact...", you passed. If it brings you to the credit card page, you may have not passed. I tried this 3 hours, 8 hours, and 13 hours later (I'm psychotic) and got the "good" pop-up everytime.
- Don't think about whether the question you're answering is a higher level or a comprehension level question during the test. Just focus on the questions and answering it.
- I'll be honest: the test is super, super hard. I felt like didn't know 90% of the questions I got. I made a lot of educated guesses.
- Be prepared: this test really messes with your head and your confidence in your ability as a nurse. At least for me it did. Especially afterward before you find out the results.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! I know how nerve-wracking it can be. It's the culmination of all your hard work in school. Just remember that, if you got through nursing school, you really can conquer anything!
Don't forget to go enter my giveaway!