Breaking the NCLEX: Becoming the RN

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After question 77, the screen shut blue, and read “Thank You for Completing this Exam…” Or something like that. I immediately told the computer, in my head, “Don’t you do this to me computer, I will chug your a** across this room.” I remember my dean of nursing telling me that “more questions on the exam is a good thing.” And after only completing near the bare minimum of 75 questions, I already thought I failed.

I raised my arm to be escorted out of the testing center and, of course, the attendant asked the typical post-exam question, “How did you do?” “I bombed it,” I replied. #LOL. I didn’t really keep count. I felt like I had 30-something Select All That Apply questions (SATA), and a buttload of maternal, pediatrics, and OB/GYN questions. All of which, I’m horrible at. #HOTMESS. #UGH. Of course I would…I walked out of that place feeling like I was face-palming through a foreign language class.

To keep it short, the next two days weren’t pretty. My true dreams of skipping out of town to somewhere in Europe, owning a fruit stand and raising a goat were all falling into place. All I thought about was that damn test.

As I mentioned before, in a previous post, start out by getting yourself some review book. For God sakes, it doesn’t matter which one. Kaplan, Hurst, ATI, Saunders. THEY ALL HAVE THE SAME CONTENT. Then again, keep in mind this is all my opinion. #DoYouBooBoo. However, why the hell would anyone review through the 1100+ page Saunders book?

Read through your review book literally: once…twice…three tiiiiiimmmes a lady. Side note, if you didn’t know that song reference, shame on you. All you’re doing right now is reviewing. I repeat: reviewing. That’s it. Right now you’re just flirting with those neurons to reconnect sparks that you’ve already used. This is why you always hear people tell you to take the test as soon as possible. So that all the information you’ve obtained from nursing school is all still fresh off the boat.

For me, my school had ties with ATI. I bought their Comprehensive NCLEX-RN Review, for like $30-40, and read through it once. I liked the book because it was condensed, straight to the point, unit-based, and organized in a bullet point fashion. It had no pretentious pictures, color-schemes, and hardly any “look-here” distraction points that would side track you away from the content. And then after that, I was off to the races.


I spent the majority of my time using them. I bought the UWorld NCLEX QBank and the NCLEX-Mastery QBank. They each had approximately 2000 questions. And I completed all of them…sort of (which I will get to in a bit). I was literally either on my phone or iPad doing questions, the whole day. Seriously dude…THE WHOLE DAY. I did questions while cooking, stuffing my face with food, in the gym, walking around the apartment, before I went to bed, when I woke up, and on the toilet. #NoShame. By the end of it all, I was doing around 200-250 questions a day.

WHY ARE QUESTION TRAINERS IMPORTANT? Because the rationales will teach you HOW TO THINK on the exam. Review books and courses will teach you content and what’s important…but NOT HOW TO THINK. Not enough anyway…in my opinion.

Here’s what I recommend: Do 200 questions a day, in 50 question blocks, non-timed, WITH THE DETAILED EXPLANATIONS (this will take up most of your time). I can’t stress enough how important that last part is. If I got the question right, I didn’t even bother reading the rationale. HOWEVER, if I got it wrong, you bet your a** I was reading why. You’re killing two birds in one stone here. 1) You’re getting exposure to test material and 2) You’re learning how to take the test.

In regards to my previous statement about “completing all the questions,” well the truth is…by the time I was 500 questions deep with each trainer…I realized that they started to look the same. So then, I dropped NCLEX-Mastery off the map and was full blown into UWorld.

That’s what I did. What about you? If your studying for boards right now, I’d love to hear what you’re doing! Or if you’re not there yet, what do you plan on doing? Or even if you’ve passed the test back in 2000, what did you do?

All the best!

Good night or Good morning!




Author: nursesarereal

My nursing professor once said that keeping a journal, over time, will allow me to see growth. In myself? I’m not sure yet. I’m hoping. I like to believe that nursing school saved my life. Maybe I’ll have some fun doing this. Cheers.

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