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To review or not to review


With NCLEX exams drawing nearer and nearer, everyone is getting anxious.  Passing the ATI exit exam for our school, and then the NCLEX means a lot more studying without the structure of a classroom curriculum. So then the question boils down to: do you take a review  class first, or not?

My first instinct is YES!  Take 3 review courses! Anything to get through the madness and pass the test! Why  not, right? It can only help.  There is really no way that studying in a classroom can hurt your score on the NCLEX, right?  I’ve heard Kaplan has a course that’s most similar to NCLEX style questions, but there are other companies out there who offer great course as well.  No matter which class, here is my list of PROs for taking a review class:

  1. It CAN’T hurt!
  2. I’m a very un-structured studier, and so being in the classroom and studying might force me to FOCUS.
  3. A lot of the classes focus on test-taking strategies, which would be great to know since I’ve heard that SO MUCH of the test is about how you read the question.

But then, I don’t know. I did pretty well on my school’s predictor ATI… and I studied test taking strategies for that on my own. That’s actually ALL that I studied for the test. There wasn’t enough time for me to be studying what the practice tests told me that I needed to review before the test (ok, so maybe I procrastinated in studying… I couldn’t review all of the systems the night before!). I definitely think that was helpful in studying. So if I could study for that and do well, do I need a review class?  Here’s my list of CONs for taking a review class:

  1. It costs an arm and a leg. I know it can’t hurt, but if it’s not 100% needed, then, is it worth the moolah? I am saving up for wedding goodies here!
  2. I’ve heard the classes are very repetitive, and long, and boring. So maybe they’re structured, if they’re boring, it’s not going to help.
  3. The predictor exam says I have a good chance of passing at this point… and I studied for that on my own, I think I can handle it.

So… I don’t know. Any suggestions out there?  I definitely think it could be helpful, but is it really something I want to invest money in? Do I want to spend my first few weeks of freedom in another classroom?  What do you think? I am open to your advice!

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Ani Burr, RN

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.

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7 Responses to To review or not to review

  1. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    I would recommend ANY type of review. I was told to work on brain exercises.. to ready my ‘brain’ for the very long and enduring exam. Mental sharpness and fatigue is usually the worst part of the exam… by question # 60ish.. you start seeing things a lil more blurry.. and start losing focus.
    Practice the ‘length’ or ‘time’ of the exam.. so that you don’t lose focus.

    Best of luck!

  2. Pingback: A Nursing Student and the NCLEX Review « My Strong Medicine

  3. I may be the exception to the rule, but I say don’t waste your time or cash.

    My reasoning went like this:

    A) I rocked the HESI, got good grades, I think I can continue the trend.

    B) My school has a >98% pass rate, again, power in trends.

    C) Have you seen/worked with some of the people that passed the NCLEX?

    D) Your future employer may not require that you pass NCLEX before starting as a GN. Often employers will include a review course as part of your benefits.

    The night before the test, I got a review book and read over the sections regarding populations I don’t usually work with: maternity, peds, psych.

    Worked for me.

  4. Barbara

    I took a review class. I feel it helped me pass the first time it certainly did not hurt

  5. spencer

    i was in the same situation a few months ago. what i did was use the saunders nclex review book. go through that at least one to refamiliarize yourself with some terms and then afterwards you can use the cd provided. take the assessment quiz and then it’ll tell you what your weak spots are. after you go into study mode and select all the content areas and itll give you mostly questions on what you tested weak on. this help me alot since when i was taking the exam it seemed like on the subjects i wasnt strong in came up.

    try and find a friend who also needs to study, doesnt have to be a fellow nursing student per se. anyone will do.

    hope that helps

  6. Sherry

    Good points.I too am unsure.I bought the books from the on line NCLEX review courses.I am repeating my PEDs rotation based on the post HESI exam results which are required to be a certain score before moving on.You can pass the clinical and the lecture class material but if you can not endure the test, you will fail,as I did.So I was given one more chance.I start in April.I have spent 6 months reviewing and practicing NCLEX and HESI questions.Still unsure how well I will do.I also spent the time reviewing all subjects as well.Our exams are 50-60 questions.A small, warm room.We sit for 2.5 hrs.We can not leave.So, I have trouble staying focused and staying awake,although I NEVER felt tired before the exam.The exam is scheduled at either 3 or 4 pm.So, any suggestions-comments-concerns or recommendations are GREATLY appreciated as well.Thank you

  7. Lana

    When students graduate from good nursing programs, knowlege and understanding of content is covered. However, in my opinion a review course is helpful in teaching essential test taking skills.