Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My NCLEX Experience :)

Hi Guys!
This is a video that was long over due, sorry for everyone that requested it earlier!!
Here is the video... but below I have included the section from the book!!
I hope you find this helpful!!

My Story
When it was time for me to graduate nursing school, I told my mother I didn’t want to celebrate with a party. I explained that my degree was worth nothing unless I passed the licensing board examination. My mom got her way, and we had a nice party anyway. I have to admit it was nice to celebrate making it this far, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Directly following the party, I switched back into serious mode. I said every day to myself, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!” In my head over and over while I was studying, I said this to myself.
I was blessed to attend a school that provided us with NCLEX reviews. I attended every single one, every single day. I noticed many of my classmates taking vacations or simply time off studying. I often wondered why, as our four years meant nothing without passing this final licensing exam. After the review every day, I went home and studied what we had gone over that day. In my head still, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!”
I signed up to take my exam the first date I could, which happened to be a month after graduation. I was surprised to see that I could sign up for a two o’clock test time. As I like to sleep in, this was the time I chose. I also found a job at Central Carolina Hospital that allowed me to follow an RN before I passed the board examination, and get paid while doing so. On the days I didn’t have a NCLEX review or follow my RN, I allowed myself only one luxury. This was to sleep in until 10 a,m. Once awake, I made myself repeat question after question. I still repeated in my head, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!”
Two weeks before my exam, I was introduced to Pearson Vue. This company had NCLEX review questions on the computer. Every morning I answered question after question. In the evenings I would go over questions I didn’t understand with my mother; she would help me understand the rational or help me look up the answer. In those two weeks, I completed every single question on that website. Sometimes in the mirror I would say to myself, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!”
Many of my NCLEX reviews suggested taking a few days off before your exam so you would not be too stressed out. Some of my classmates did this and it worked perfectly for them. I knew myself and realized I wasn’t comfortable with that. During my entire time in nursing school, I studied until my instructor told me to close my book. For the last most important exam, I was not about to change my strategy. Again and again, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!”
Two days before I drove to the location of the exam. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly where to go on “the day.” I went home and again repeated question after question. I still allowed myself only one luxury of sleeping in until about 10 a.m. because I was able to get a 2 p.m. test time. I knew I could also do this on test day.  While driving back home, I kept looking in the mirror saying to myself, “Wow, the test shut off in 75 questions, you know what that means!”
Test day. I woke up at 10 a.m. just like I planned. I went through my morning routine of telling myself, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!” I ate breakfast while still doing more questions. Time flew and before I knew it I was driving to my test location.
Fear suddenly came over me. I suddenly thought, “Oh, I need something to make me feel better or give me some energy.” Right away I pulled into the nearest gas station, tires screeching and all. I went straight for a Mountain Dew. It had been so long since I drank one, possible five years, but when I consumed them before I was always buzzing off of a sugar and caffeine high for hours.  I drank it immediately and continued onto my destination. By this time, I was practically screaming, “Wow, you passed your NCLEX exam in 75 questions!”
I arrived at the location about an hour early. I began looking over notes, my nerves, however, would not let me comprehend anything I was reading. I looked over these notes for 30 minutes then finally went inside the building to take the test.  The test room was much smaller than I was expecting, and there was almost no one in sight. I expected to be in a crowded room with many more nursing students about to take their exams. However, it was nothing like that.
I was early, but it didn’t matter. I went right up to the counter, handed the person my test information and my license, then posed for my photo. They gave me a locker for my sweater and said “Okay, you can go ahead.” As I went up to the exam room, I was closely examined by the proctor who asked me what the bump in my pocket was. “Ummm, I’m not sure.” I reached into my pocket to find my chap stick. I was told to put that in my locker as well.
When I came back, I was told the rules of the room. I was given a small dry erase board if I needed to write anything down.  I was told I could have as many bathroom breaks as necessary; I simply needed to raise my hand and he would lead me out. I then was led to my cubby, which had my computer on it. I entered all of the information it asked, and then answered three example questions. I was told at one of my reviews these example questions would determine the level of difficulty your questions would begin at.  
Question one. The question came up but I couldn’t see it! My heart was beating out of my chest and I felt like I was going to pass out! “Maybe the Mountain Dew wasn’t such a good idea, oh my gosh, what if I fail my exam!” Panic-stricken, I sat there, unable to read the first question and drowning in fear.  “Breathe, Caroline,” I said calmly to myself, “just breathe, slowly, easily. If you don’t pass, you can take it again,. Everything will work out.”
It felt like five minutes that I was breathing and talking calmly to myself. The clock however said 30 seconds. I finally blinked one last time and was able to read the question.  Question after question came. They were so difficult, just like I imagined.  I did every question just like I always practiced, reading, rereading, then reading the answers, then again rereading the question. Then finally, selecting what I thought was the most appropriate choice.
I went though each question like this. The majority of my questions were med-surg based. I was pretty nervous about this, because this had been my hardest course while I was in school. I kept getting “select all that apply” questions, too, which I always thought were so difficult. I had to do breathing exercises several times during the exam. As the numbers began to rise, I had to make myself breathe slowly even more.
73, 74, 75. I looked at the number 75 for about 30 seconds before I could even read the question. I read, reread, then looked at the answers, then again reread the question.  At one of my reviews I was told that if you remember the last question you had and you knew you got it right, you probably passed. I selected my answer and tried desperately to remember this question.  Every time I was about to press the submit key I completely forgot the question.
I did this several times before I finally said to myself, “Caroline, if you have to do more questions, it’s ok.” I talked myself into truly believing that and breathed some more as I pressed the submit key. The computer screen went blank. “Oh no! I didn’t remember the last question!” Did I pass? Did I fail? The whole time I imagined myself taking this exam I saw myself feeling so confident afterwards. I felt nothing of the sort.
Driving home I could hardly talk. My nursing school friends called me and assured me that I passed.  I didn’t feel as good as I wanted though. Over the next few days, while waiting for my results, I just didn’t feel that great. When the third day came and I was able to go online to see my results I was so nervous to do so.
I sat in the living room with my mom and dad. I went to the website, put in my information and waited for what seemed like an eternity. I was concentrating so hard on the screen I didn’t even notice my parents disappeared. Finally, it came up and said my result in tiny little 12 point font, “pass.” “I passed!” I exclaimed! My parents came into the kitchen carrying a cake that said, “Caroline Porter BSN-RN” and a bottle of champagne!

As proud as I was that I passed my exam in 75 questions, not one person besides my classmates ever asked me that question.  My boss didn’t care what my grades in school were and when I got my license, they were just happy I could work as an RN.  Bottomline, no matter how many questions or times you take the exam, pass is pass. In the end if you’re a licensed or registered nurse. That is all they care about. I have come to find out myself that is really all that matters as well.


  1. Nice post! I like the reflection at the end....it's true. Everyone makes a big deal about it, but in the end it doesn't matter. D for Degree!

    How did you prepare for the NCLEX? If you're interested, I have an invitation for you to make a few extra bucks. Contact me by email or comment back!

  2. I just discovered your blog and I LOVE IT! it's been so helpful reading about your experiences and watching your videos, but I haven't seen anything recent from 2014! You haven't quit have you?