So how many times will you take the NCLEX? Most all of you will surely answer at least once. But for some of us-those select few who no matter how hard we try just can't excel at a nursing exam-it might be a few more.
I'm fessing up: I did not pass the NCLEX the first time. I had heard from teachers and nurses alike that the exam could potentially shut off at 75 questions, 240 questions or somewhere in between. If it shut off at 75, you either passed with flying colors or you failed miserably. If it shut off at 240, you barely passed or barely failed. Mine shut off at 75 on the dot. Two days later I found out that I failed the NCLEX exam.
The days that followed, I was disgusted, disappointed, depressed, and any other "d" verb you can think of. I seriously wondered, Am I cut out to be a nurse? Have I just spent all this time in school and still don't know or understand enough to be a nurse? I despaired.
That's when my aunt, who was a nurse, offered a story about a nurse she once knew. This particular nurse was one of the best she had ever seen as it pertained to the care of patients. An example to follow, emulate. Someone who understood the dynamics of health care and what it took to be not only a nurse, but one of the best.
Then my aunt laid the bombshell: This nurse had failed the NCLEX SIX TIMES! Here I was fretting over one bad exam, and this poor nurse had to take it SIX TIMES before she got it right.
That story was motivation enough for me to reconcile my differences with a teacher of mine in college and ask for help. I can honestly say my time spent with this teacher tutoring me made the difference. It gave me motivation to strive for a goal that obviously I wasn't able to achieve on my own. The second time around I was ready. And this time the test went to question 76. After 120 questions the test ended.
A seemingly infinite two days later I found out I passed!
The best advice I could offer anyone out there who has yet to take this exam isn't fresh; it's as old as the advice your 9th grade geometry teacher gave you: Study your hind end off! Don't listen to those who tell you how the test was that have taken it, or those who took it years ago and speculate what it might be like today. Expect your case to be unique; expect it to be tough.
So, study hard, set a goal, partner with a tutor, and always remember that nurse who failed six times. Because if she can succeed after that many failures, you can too.