Find what works for you
I’ve written about knowing how you study, and I’ve talked about finding what works for you, but this time, I’ve really had to take my own advice. Studying for the NCLEX seems like a whole other beast. It’s like taking a test with a professor you’ve never met, and you don’t have right textbook for it. All you get is a very lengthy syllabus (aka – everything you learned in school, and then some!), and your critical thinking skills, however tuned-in they might be. But here’s where you need to know what to do for yourself, because what your friends are doing (and possibly doing very well with) might be the worst thing for you to do. Never has this been more apparent to me now.
At times, in the middle of all this studying, I feel like if I could have just taken the NCLEX right after nursing school finished (seriously…like the day after), I think I could have passed the test and it would all behind me. I’d be enjoying my vacation on a hammock somewhere with a good book and a pina colada. Well, maybe. But as soon as I started my review course, then started talking to my friends about their scores and study habits, I started getting really worried. Where was that confidence I got from scoring high on my predictor exams? That was all out the door. I was feeling like my review course was only helping me half the time, and the fact that it wasn’t a 100% fix-all for the questions I didn’t know was really bringing me down.
My advice. Trust yourself. Don’t listen to everyone’s ideas unless your doing research for yourself. Find what works for you. There is no right or wrong way to study for the NCLEX, but there is YOUR way. What works for you? Reading content? Taking questions? reviewing at the end or reviewing as you go? Decoding the question with strategy or memorizing the important bits, however you can get there, is right. As my review teacher always says, “I’ll meet you at the airport, doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as we all meet up.”
I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.
By Ani Burr, RN