I can officially call myself an Army NURSE! Guys, I am FINALLY a nurse! I can’t believe that I don’t have to do anything for a while and can just work on other areas of life that I have been neglecting. I am going to have to relearn how to relax but I look forward to it!
The week prior to taking the NCLEX, I had nightmares that I was late to my appointment and they told me I would have to reschedule for a later date. Unfortunately my appointment wasn’t until  2 in the afternoon so I had the entire morning to pace the house in my underwear. So I arrived to the testing center at 12:45 (1 hour and 15 minutes early), sat in my truck for a while and then decided to go in early. The ladies in the testing center were so sweet and actually let me go in an hour early.  They are very strict during the check in process so that wasn’t helping in the anxiety department. I took a moment after I sat down to write down the Kaplan decision tree on the white board they give you, take a deep breath and clear my mind of anxiety. Once I started answering questions, I was able to focus and  forget that I was in a testing center taking the most important exam of my life thus far.
The NCLEX can range from 75- 265 questions and will shut off at any time. I was very thankful when my exam shut off at 75. I left the testing center with mixed emotions of excitement because I felt confident in my exam but I also had a sense of doubt and fear of failing hanging over my head (NCLEX just does that to you).
Here is my advise to those of you who are preparing to take the NCLEX or will eventually take the NCLEX:
  1. Pay attention during nursing school:  This sounds silly but you need to know content and you simply cannot review 2.5 years of notes in a month. Knowing the content is going to make the NCLEX that much easier. You don’t know what you will be tested on but you know that the NCLEX focuses on safety so can you identify what is going to cause your patient harm based off of what you know about the disease process?
  2. Practice Questions: This is what I did for a month prior to taking the NCLEX. I answered over 1600 questions and remediated each one of those questions. I used the Kaplan question bank, NCLEX Mastery app, Saunders Comprehensive review book, And the Prioritization, Delegations and Assignment book for additional questions.
    • Kaplan– Use the Decision Tree. I found the decision tree helpful when I was struggling between two answers. I averaged answering about 150 questions per day.
    • NCLEX Master app– I bought this at the beginning of nursing school. I liked having this on my phone because I could answer questions no matter where I was. Another amazing thing about NCLEX Mastery is that they have NCLEX Simulators. I found the simulators helpful because it helped reduce my anxiety and told me what my weak areas were.
    • Saunders Comprehensive Review Book– I used this book to get the down and dirty in areas where I was weak. Everything is in one place and they point out the important parts of the subject.
    • Prioritization, Delegations and Assignment book– Full of good questions that focus on prioritization and delegation. This was important to me because I knew the NCLEX focuses a lot on both prioritization and delegation.
  3. Remediate questions: Go over each question and read the rationales, even if you got the questions correct. Once you learn why you are getting questions wrong, answering future questions will become easier.  I decided to create a content to review packet, a pharmacology packet, and a lab values packet. In these packets I would write down information that I got wrong/didn’t know/ needed a refresher of. I am the type of person that will remember something if I write it down so this method worked well for me. If I kept getting questions about a subject wrong, I would go do a quick review of that subject.
  4. Clear your mind and Stay Calm: I got to the point where I was SO over answering questions and then I actually started scoring lower than usual. At this point I decided that I was done and needed to clear my head. Two days prior to the NCLEX I stopped answering questions and just re-read all of the notes I had written. I also took the time to go to the chiropractor, the gym, do a little stress shopping and get a massage. I felt like clearing my head before test day was vital to my success on the actual test day. NCLEX Schmenclex!  Remember you have been preparing for this exam for the last 2.5 years. It is super easy to let your nerves get the best of you so take a deep breath and go kick some NCLEX butt.
That’s a little bit about how my NCLEX experience went and now I can finally stop talking about it. Phew. I am sure you were all getting sick of seeing that abbreviation. 🙂

Leave me a comment and let me know how your NCLEX experience was or what you plan to do in order to prepare!


  1. I laughed when you said you paced in your underwear & got to the center over an hour early; sounded just like me. Congrats on passing the NCLEX! I take mines next May (hopefully) & I found this helpful ☺️
    Good look on your new journey as a nurse


    1. Haha thank you!! I wasn’t sure what to do to make time pass, I couldn’t even watch TV because I couldn’t sit still long enough. I am glad you found this helpful and best wishes to you on your last year of nursing school. Let me know if you need anything long the way!


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