I recently got an email from Emily, from Chicago Heights, IL. Shout out to Emily! Thanks for the email! Like many, she said that she was struggling right now, studying for the big NCLEX test. She’s not getting the practice scores that she wants and she is asking about what resources should she be using?
So, here we are again. NCLEX crunch time for many. I know that it can be a daunting task. All the difficult times that you went through in nursing school, comes down to this test. It stands between your hard work and your next step to actually applying for an RN position. But, let’s not panic. Take a step back and take a few deep breaths. Recollect our composure. And let’s tackle this together!
First and foremost, if you haven’t already, take a moment to read over some of my previous posts regarding tips for NCLEX prep. I attempted to touch base on my mind set, and how I personally got through it. I find that it will help to bring in some perspective.
Now, again, I know that it can be a daunting task. However, let’s try to simplify it.
First and foremost, in my experience, when it comes to finding the right materials to have in front of you, I strongly believe that less is best. In today’s world, studying resources are mass produced. There are a hand full of companies out there trying to get you to buy their product with their “guarantee” slapped right in front of the cover…”Guaranteed You’ll Pass the Test!” ***Eyeroll*** Don’t let all that marketing consume you.
Now, don’t take my word for it. I’m only expressing my own personal experiences and what I used. If you’re asking yourself “What resources should I use to study?”….. to tell you the truth, there truly isn’t a right answer.
I believe that you should only have 1 or 2 things max in front of you. For starters, you should have one reference book. Whether it be Kaplan, Incredibly Easy, ATI…just get a simple, straight to the point book review that “OUTLINES” nursing content. You’ll be surprised on how much content you actually remember. So, let’s keep it brief. With that in mind, please stay away from Saunders. Although the book may be quite thorough, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That.” It’s like 1000+ pages! Lol. I personally used,
I like this review book because it’s simple and straight to the point. It literally outlines all the content you need to know for the test, with no added pretentious pictures, diagrams, graphs, etc. I used this book mainly as a “quick reference.” If I got a question wrong on a Qbank, or there’s a topic that I was consistently falling behind in, I grabbed this book and just took 10-15 minutes to skim through.
The 2nd piece of your materials should always be a Qbank. Any Qbank would do, whether it be Kaplan or UWorld. I personally used UWorld. In any case, invest in a subscription to one of them. Trust me, it’ll go a long way. THE MAIN PURPOSE OF USING A QBANK is to just train your mind to tackle test questions. That’s it. Going through the qbank will program your mind to see trends in questions, spot keywords, see overall pictures of a scenario, and simply understand the main objective of a question. Many of the times, you didn’t get the question right not because you don’t know the content, but rather you didn’t read and understand the question correctly. Also, what is quick and easy about subscribing to a qbank is that, once you get a question wrong, you can quickly see why you got it wrong.
In regards to all the hype and anxiety that comes with asking yourself “What percentage should I be getting right, on the Qbanks?” 50%? 60%? There’s really no right answer to this. You can be doing 10%, 20%, even 30%. But, that’s not the idea here. You shouldn’t be going through the 2000+ questions a first time around, expecting to be scoring upper level numbers. Rather, you should be going through the Qbank multiple times and gaining from why you got those questions wrong the first time. THAT IS THE BIG PICTURE.
Nevertheless, take your time with it. Don’t rush. Don’t force yourself to review. Do it because you want to. Have fun with it.
I hope this helps Emily! Stay Strong! Hang in there! Take breaks! And feed your brain with healthy, positive brain foods!