The Dreaded NCLEX

The countdown has begun, folks.  One more semester until I place my career, my future, and my livelihood in the hands of a computerized, adaptive, multiple choice test. Intimidating, much?

But never fear, for Nurse Teeny has a plan.  I am not taking any chances on this puppy and have come up with a study plan that should prepare me well…

  1. September: Read through Kaplan’s NCLEX review book.  This one is more focused on strategy and breaking down the style of the test questions, so I thought it would be a good place to start, and then build from there.  Also, I plan to review my ATI subject test results and identify the content areas where I need to focus.
  2. October: Start Hurst Review’s online NCLEX test prep.  Hurst was started by a nursing school professor and has a fabulous track record.  By using their online version, I can view the lectures on my own time and read the book according to my own needs.  Their in-person class is four days straight of intensive review, but I think I’d get more out of it (and pay less) if I have 90 days to focus on the content that’s really giving me trouble, and get instruction from the comfort of my own living room.
  3. November: Start Saunders‘ NCLEX review books.  These has thousands of practice questions and will be a good way to train my brain for the “Big One.”
  4. Ongoing: Flash cards galore!  I bought a lifetime subscription to The Flashcard Exchange for $19.95 and downloaded the free app Mental Case to my iTouch.  This allowed me to download electronic NCLEX review flash cards directly from Flashcard Exchange to my iTouch – now I can sit on the bus and quiz myself.  I also have a copy of Kaplan’s little book on meds you need for the NCLEX, which I will carry with me and review at my leisure.
  5. November 20: Take the ATI Comprehensive Predictor…180 questions covering all of the subjects and content reviewed in previous classes.  ATI people claim that your performance on this effectively indicates how you will do on the NCLEX (hence the “predictor” label). My school appears to agree…we have to pass this for the school to submit our names to the state Board of Nursing as eligible to take the NCLEX.
  6. December: Take as many practice tests as I can get my little hands on.  (Hopefully) take the NCLEX before Christmas.  If Santa brought me an RN license, I would be greatly pleased! 🙂

So, there you have it.  I’m sure that other strategies will emerge as I begin reviewing.  The important thing is NOT to cram.  And to walk into that testing center knowing that I did everything I could to prepare.

How will or did you prepare for the NCLEX?  What worked and what didn’t work?  I’d love to get your feedback…

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