Graduation, you made it! Most students graduate and immediately begin the hunt for a career.
For us nurses, graduation is just one of the huge milestones in the process of becoming a nurse.
You have worked so hard to get to this point and now you get to study like you have never studied before to prepare for the NCLEX exam.
Here are six things that helped me prepare – and pass — my NCLEX Exam:
1. Review questions on a COMPUTER (or other electronic device)
It helps train your brain to take the test in that same format.
I suggest doing 50-100 questions at a time, followed by a break. At multiple times during your prep, plan to do 265 questions in one sitting. If you do get all of the questions for your NCLEX exam you want to be prepared to take on that many questions at one time.
2. Take time to relax the night before
Do something that isn’t over stimulating. You have spent hours and hours studying for this, this isn’t the time to try and squeeze in those last 100 questions!
3. Get a good nights sleep and eat a nutritious meal
Personally, I wouldn’t suggest eating a large meal right before you head in to take your test. Let your meal settle in a bit, you will probably have some butterflies when you start!
4. Wear comfortable clothing
You will be in that room for hours so you will want to be as comfortable as possible.
5. Go with your gut!
Don’t second guess your answers, read the questions carefully and don’t over analyze.
6. BREATHE and BELIEVE!!
You can do this!
When I graduated, I had just had a baby so I took a few months off before getting back into the grind of things. When it was time to prepare for the test, I spent the better part of three weeks studying at all hours of the day and night to get my brain into the correct test taking mode.
I took around 3,000 mock computer test questions through multiple study programs. Phone apps weren’t quite…available…when I took the test, but if they were I would have used NCLEX Mastery!
Finally, the day arrived! I still remember like it was yesterday. I took my test on a Saturday afternoon. There were only about four people in the testing room when I started and I wanted to begin Lamaze breathing when the test actually began!
If I recall correctly, my test took just under two hours. When my computer shut off I really thought I was going to require an emesis basin…STAT.
I had to wait EXACTLY 72 hours, to the minute, to find out if I passed. I was so nervous, I actually gave my credit card number to a friend and she was checking it for me as I was talking to her on the phone. She checked a few times and it wasn’t posted yet.
We continued talking about other things and a few minutes later she informed me that “I wasn’t going to be taking any more tests.”
I sat there in silence for a few seconds trying to process what exactly she had just said to me. It sunk in, I was done…I passed!!!
I have never felt a sense of relief, pride and raw emotion like I did in that moment.
In my experience, almost everyone leaves the NCLEX testing room worried that they failed. As overwhelming as the testing process is, remember that you DO know the information you are testing on.
It may take a little Lamaze breathing and many deep cleansing breaths to get through those hours, but you can do it!! Good luck!