Tips for Passing Nclex Rn at First Attempt

I passed the NCLEX the first time, in 75 questions in 3 hours. I want to share what worked for me.

When I started studying, I didn’t remember much from nursing school. I did a lot of brain dumping – just trying to get through the current exam. I felt lost most of the time in school and I figured I would worry about it when it came time for the NCLEX. But then the time came and I had no idea how to study, what to study, and how much to study. So I made a plan.

I continued to put my life on hold and be unavailable as if I was still in nursing school for another semester. I took a break for a month (maybe a little too long but I needed it) and then I hit the books for 3 months. I studied 5 to 6 times a week – 4-6 hours a day. I knew that studying here and there for a few hours was not going to work for me because I had so much to learn. If I was going to fail the exam, it wasn’t because I didn’t study enough. Here is what I used:


Mark K audios

2 NCLEX study guides


UWorld was my backbone – I separated my studies into each system that UWorld had categorized. I did 75 questions and noted what subjects were in the quiz. I was getting 50%-65%.

Example from a Neuro quiz: Myasthenia gravis – 23, 43, Meningitis – 37, 39, Guillain-Barre – 25. Seizure – 14, 29, 62, 71. Stroke – 18, 24, 47, 48, 70. Spinal cord injury – 22. Autonomic dysreflexia – 30, 68. AVM – 7. Cerebral aneurysm – 21.


After I finished all the questions from the subject, I made a document of each subject and went back and took notes on all 4 rationals, added pictures, and inserted notes from 2 NCLEX study guides, Mark K and Picmonic. I made my own study guide and saturated myself on what was being quizzed. This help me learn the subjects because I was writing the material myself, I wasn’t passively ready it. I then went back and quizzed myself again on the subject, getting about a 90%. 24 hours later, I would review my notes – important.

NCLEX study guides – I used Saunders and HESI Elsevier. Saunders had way more content and I used it to look up info. I didn’t read most of it because it is way too much info that I didn’t need.

HESI Elsevier was more condense and I read most of it when I was looking up info. UWorld and both study guides covered the same subjects and it was reassuring to have an idea of what I needed to know.

Picmonic is a lifesaver! I am a very visual person and Picmonic helped me with medications big time! It also helped me with Patho. I highly recommend it – There is a free Youtube video on Pharm that I used as part of my “must know meds”. I watched the video, then went to Picmonic and took notes on each medication that was covered in the video. It definitely helped me on a handful for SATA questions on the NCLEX. The tutorials are awesome because they are short and sweet and visually connects information with easy to remember pictures.

Mark K. I took detailed notes while I listened to his audios. I was given a PDF of his audios typed out but I wanted to type them out myself so it would sink in. I then listened to them all the time – driving, in the shower, working out. The audios I have are older and he uses brand names so I looked up the generic. He taught me how to answer NCLEX style questions – I don’t know how well I would have done without him.

2 weeks before my exam, I reviewed like crazy. I took a 50-75 question quiz on each subject in Uworld. I had already taken notes on each rational so the questions I got wrong, I had my notes up and just reread the information.

My first UWorld assessment was a 69% – high chance of passing. My second assessment was an 80% – very high chance of passing. If I could just study from one source, it would be UWorld – hands down.

Two days before the NCLEX, I was super stressed, angry, and frustrated. I worked out like mad, then gave it all up. The day before the exam I was chill and calm. I did some reviewing from note cards. If I could go back, I would have stopped reviewing at noon, instead of at 6pm.

The day of the exam I was calm – whatever happens is going to happen. It is not the end of the world to take it a second time and I was prepared to do so. I took my sweet time – read each question carefully and answered with my gut. Asking myself not only what the subject of the question was but what are they trying to find out from me. I walked out of the test feeling confused. Some of the questions were suspiciously easy, some were harder (SATA). Most of what I studied wasn’t on there but at least I was prepared.

Anyway, I hope this helped someone out there. Even if you have been out of school for a while, you still got this. You need to make this priority #1 in your life for a while.

Good luck!

Credit : Shawn W

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