I had many thoughts before starting to prepare for this exam, and I like to think I had the same typical fears as most of us nursing students did: not having enough time to take it, what if I don’t pass, etc. Specifically the day of the exam and the days leading up to it, I’d say most of my worries and fears related to the timing and what number I would get. Almost everyone’s fear is when the exam shuts off, regardless of the number!
I always have been the type of student who bought every textbook needed for every class, which is pretty much what I did for the NCLEX too, regardless of whether they were used or not. I started out buying a basic NCLEX book that explained the style and familiarized me with the exam probably beginning of senior year, and then slowly accumulated flashcards and more study manuals. I really recommend Lippincott books and the Saunders Q&A and Comprehensive book. I called it my book of nursing school knowledge and I would use it as a basic reference guide when I would study a topic that I felt I needed to brush up on.
I studied using the main resource from one of the NCLEX classes I took and periodically took a practice exam. When there was something I wanted to freshen up on, I looked up in the comprehensive book, and just kept doing that until I felt confident. I also would make flashcards of information that stuck out to me as something I’d want to review before my exam. I remember Professor Donegan had said that you should be exhausted from practicing the NCLEX, as you should have at least done 50,000 questions come exam time. Also, the good thing about taking the NCLEX classes is they likely recommend some books to use outside of the class.
Speaking of NCLEX review classes, I took the Mark Klimeck and the Hurst Review course. I HIGHLY recommend the Hurst Review course. It was what I needed the most – a content refresher with 24/7 access to the videos and materials covered in class, along with resourceful handouts on their web portal.
The number one test day advice I can give is to not overdo it. Most people will tell you not to touch ANYTHING the day of, but I had scheduled my exam at 2pm so that I could wake up at a normal time and go over materials I had like flashcards I made throughout studying. More importantly, take deep breaths and pace yourself during the exam. The mental health and mental relaxation is key during test day.
I bought my results a couple days early which is a feature the Pearson website has so you can see your results online and not wait for the official email and license to come in the mail.
The number one advice I have for the seniors taking it this year, is do not wait until the last minute to study. Practice a chunk of questions every day. I recommend the NCLEX Mastery App because you can keep it on your phone and use it on your computer as well and go over specific material questions, mini-exams, flag questions as “somewhat know, don’t know, or know” and review them as such. The app also has a NCLEX-style exam you can buy which tests your readiness. In other words, practice every day!!
Sydney Adelstein is 2016 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing.