60 Questions Later

June 16, 2020

It's been a long time coming but, I PASSED NCLEX!!!

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To give you some background details:


·      I graduated on May 2nd – prior to corona virus I was supposed to graduate on May 9th

·      My transcripts were sent to the BON by my school on May 4th

·      My Authorization to Test was emailed to me on May 5th

·      I originally scheduled my exam for June 10th

·      However, I rescheduled my NCLEX for June 3rd at the 21 day mark in my countdown until the exam.


Moving on to my preparation:


·      I studied for this exam for a solid month. 

·      Most people I know said that they studied for anywhere from 1-3 weeks for the exam. 

·      During the preparation it was HARD not to get discouraged seeing my classmates take the exam days after graduation and feel as though I was slacking. 

·      Something I consistently felt throughout this process was that people have been extremely tight lipped about how they prepared. It’s frustrating because it’s not a new trend and unfortunately seems to be a precursor of what to expect in the workplace. It’s something I saw early on in nursing school and it’s something I’ve seen while working as a Patient Care Technician and a Nurse Extern. 

·      One week into studying for NCLEX I had to reformulate my study plan and really come up with a schedule. I treated studying for NCLEX as if it was an 8-5 workday. I built in breaks, placed my phone across the room from me, deactivated social media, I built in time for meals, exercise, and a time for an end of the day review. 

·      This review consisted of going going back and doing a refresher course on weak content areas. I would identify these weaknesses based on the Uworld test analysis. Each question detailed what subject and disease process was being covered. 

·      While I was studying I also wore noise cancelling headphones and listened to a rain sounds playlist on apple music.

·      Studying for NCLEX was even harder because of COVID-19. I came back from spring break and was on campus for 3 days doing a HURST review before everything was moved to being online. I’ve mentally been checked out of school and exam mode since March 13th as many of my courses did away with exams to preserve academic integrity with their test questions. For reference, whenever you’re listening to this, it is now June 4th.  

·      During that first week of studying there was no real structure. No daily goals for how many questions I wanted to do. I was just casually studying for variable amounts of time.

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According to my university this is the NCLEX study plan we should follow for success:

·      Study for 30 days

·      Have an NCLEX date at the end of the 30 days

·      Student should do 65 questions in the morning and 65 questions in the evening

·      Students should pick 1 resource to align with their study plan.

·      And finally, students, should do a total of 3500 questions minimum



Getting into my study materials and my study plan:


·      I chose to use Uworld and  the comprehensive Saunders  book primarily. 

·      There’s no shortage of NCLEX resources out there.

·      The uworld plan I purchased came with 2 exams and 2183 questions.

·      I set a goal to do 100 – 150 questions per day. Some days I did under that range, but I would overcompensate the next day.

·      During week 1 of studying I was scoring in the 40s. I felt like a complete dummy and naturally the fear set in. I began to ask myself “was I asleep through all of nursing school? Did I learn anything?”

·      Week 2 is when I restructured my study plan. This is when I noticed an increase in my scores. I began to score 60s and 70s. This trend maintained in the following weeks.

·      I saw another small spike in my scores during week 4, my last week of studying. I started scoring in the 70s and 80s. Every now and then I’d score a 90 or a 100, but rarely.

·      I strongly recommend making quizzes that emulate NCLEX in terms of length. So, this would look like 2 - 60 question exams per day with a mini quiz of 30 questions. Or maybe one quiz of 130 items. This helps you build up stamina because if your school is like mine, we typically had 40-50 question exams. In my last few days of studying I had to start doing questions in 10 question intervals to power through because I was mentally tired and my attention span was nonexistent.

·      I finished Uworld 2 days before my exam.

·      I took the Uworld predictor which is composed of 100 questions and scored in the 76th percentile. I reviewed all of the questions, even the ones I got right and made notes. I also watched Youtube Videos pertaining to content areas where I had knowledge gaps.

·      I stopped studying around 6pm.

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On Exam Day:

·      Prior to the exam I went to smoothie king, listened to my nursing school exam day playlist and just tried to surround myself with positivity. 

·      So simple but critical advice: Wear comfy clothes and eat a good meal! Things they’ve been telling us since primary school! I had a big breakfast and only wanted a smoothie to hold me over through the test.

·      I arrived 40 minutes early and I was able to test early.

·      I selected an exam that was scheduled at 4pm which was unusual to me because in nursing school we usually tested in the morning. 

·      It was overall a very smooth process.

·      Due to COVID-19 I had to wear a mask during the exam. Which wasn’t unnatural to me because I did the Uworld predictor wearing an exam to put myself in “NCLEX DAY” mode

·      I made sure to read each question 2 times before moving on to the answer choices and rephrasing in my own words how I thought they were asking the question. I read everything slowly, answered the question as I saw fit and then re-read the question one final time before moving on.

·      I didn’t pay attention to the question counter until I looked up and thought “this feels like a long test” and saw I was on question 59. I’m not an anxious person but my hands started shaking at this point. I answered question 60 and the computer flashed to the blue screen with the post exam survey questions.

·      In total it took me about 60 minutes to take the exam.

·      After the exam I watched Jeopardy, had a good dinner, and just tried to distract myself. 

·      Around 11pm I did the Pearson Vue Trick and got the “good pop-up” I couldn’t believe it and didn’t want to prematurely celebrate.

·      I went to bed at 4am because I was oddly wide awake and aimlessly scrolling through the internet.


The next day (06/04):

·      I woke up at 8am and got ready like it was a normal day. I wasn’t expecting to see anything at least until the 06/05 afternoon when I could pay to access quick results, which would be 48 hours after my exam. 

·      At 8:11 I checked the BON website and saw my name. I IMMEDIATELY burst into tears. It was surreal. I instantly felt like I lost 60 pounds of stress weight!


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My finals thoughts: 


1.     Pick 1-2 resources and stick with them. There are so many out there, some of them are free as well. Take advantage of what’s available to you!

2.     My school provided a HURST 3-day review that came with a 1500 question test bank which was a nice foundation. However, once I started uworld I couldn’t mix the two.

3.     Saunders helped me with test processing and presenting the information in a concise manner without all the fluff to decipher through.

4.     I strongly encourage everyone that purchases uworld to finish every uworld question.

5.     Uworld in my opinion was 3 times harder than NCLEX – which is good honestly. 

6.     Uworld covered many of the things that my professors told me “don’t worry, this won’t be on the exam.”

7.     The rationales and visuals were excellent. They not only tell you why the selected answers are correct but why others are incorrect or our favorite, not the most correct.

8.     Unfortunately, Nursing school doesn’t teach you everything. It’s your responsibility to supplement the gaps. 

9.     I suggest investing in at least one comprehensive NCLEX book your first semester and gradually solving the problems.

10.  I learn by doing, so I made colorful flashcards and covered my walls with sticky notes full of rationales.

11.  There’s only so many ways you can ask questions about these topics. Again, you’re not going to come out of nursing school knowing everything, but you at least need to know the hallmarks.

12.  Get a good night’s rest the night before your exam. Put all study materials away and be at peace. A few days ago I was scoffing at that advice but now being on the other side, I know that’s what you need to hear. You don’t study so that you can constantly worry.

13.  Don’t change your answers on the exam. It almost never works in your favor. Be confident and know that you adequately prepared for this exam.

14.  Go into the exam with a clear heart and mind. I did things that made me feel good before the test and spoke to people who made me feel good. Whatever works for you, do that!


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As cliché as it sounds, it’s been a long time coming. All the late nights, tears, busy work, wild clinical rotations, and stressful exams led up to this moment. I’d be lying through my teeth if I did say it was exhausting. At times I almost felt like nursing school was going to break me, joking and asking friends “am I being hazed right now?”  or “is this what hell feels like?” All that being said - I’m grateful for the opportunity to experience this. I’m excited, humbled, and ready to finally begin my career. As I mentioned earlier in the episode, I have consistently felt throughout this process of becoming a nurse that people have been extremely tight lipped about how they prepared. I’m not in competition with anyone but myself. There is enough room for everyone to succeed and I gain nothing by withholding knowledge from my peers. There are too many opportunities in this world for us to not all be flourishing and helping each other in the process. I can assure you that any energy that would be invested in stifling someone else’s growth or withhold information, would be better allocated elsewhere.




That’s all that I have for you guys today! Definitely reach out if you have any questions on this topic or if there’s something you’d like me cover in an upcoming blog post!

As always, thank you so much for reading, and I’ll talk to you guys soon!

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