I took the NCLEX on Jan 23rd and am now a licensed registered nurse!!
The Long Version:
SIGNING UP: I graduated over a month ago but I still didn't feel like I was done with school because of the oh-so-scary NCLEX looming over my head. Toward the beginning of the month I got my ATT [You need your ATT to sign up for a test date]. I had a decision to make: take it before I go home to Ohio so I can relax on my vacation OR take it after I get back so I can have more time to study. Initially, I was going to wait and take in in February. Then, at the last minute I changed my mind and picked Jan 23. This gave me two weeks to study for the biggest test of my life.
STUDYING: My original study plan was 50 practice questions a day. HA. I had only been doing 25 every other day or so. When I signed up for the 23rd I had a mini freak out. I kicked my studying into high gear and began doing over 100 questions each day. I'm grateful I had the drive to ramp up my studying... but can you say burnt out?! The days just before my test I took it easy and reviewed study materials instead of doing practice questions.
MORNING OF: The morning of my test was lovely. Paul gave me a blessing the night before and I woke up feeling calm and confident. I kept repeating to myself "Today I pass the NCLEX". My test was scheduled for 2pm, leaving me with an entire morning to fret. Paul was a sweetheart and he stayed home from work to keep me feeling calm and happy. He suggested we go out for breakfast. We don't go out for breakfast very frequently because I can make just about any breakfast food for a fraction of the price. I wanted to get out of the house though, so I quickly agreed.
We packed up and went to Joe's Cafe. This is a special place for us. The morning after Paul proposed, we went out to breakfast at Joe's and there announced our engagement to his family. It just so happens that the 23rd was one day shy of being exactly 2 years since we first went to Joe's hole-in-the-wall Cafe. We splurged and got hot chocolate, apple cider and left a fatty tip [I was convinced that leaving a killer tip would give me some good luck karma to pass the test].
The rest of the morning was relaxed. I memorized some final tid bits of info, packed a lunch and hopped in the car. The drive up to Draper was fantastic. I had ample amounts of time so I turned up the music and made my way north. Upon arrival I felt little pangs of nervousness shooting down my spine and exploding in my stomach. I tried to drown them out by turning up the music and singing my very loudest. I regained my composure and entered the building.
THE TEST: The check-in process was a bit over the top: Two forms of I.D., an index finger print, a right and left hand palm scan, on-site photo... all to make sure that you're really you and that you don't sneakily go to the bathroom and send a smarter person to take the test for you.
I was escorted into the testing room and placed in cubicle #7. I said a prayer and got started. Depending on the tester's performance, the test is between 75 and 265 questions. As soon as you are either consistently above or below the passing level the test will shut off. I won't deny it, I have been praying for months that I could finish the test in 75 questions. The NCLEX is adapted for each test taker. If you get a question correct, the next question is harder. If you get a question wrong, the next question is easier. The point of the test is to see how difficult questions need to be for you to only have a 50/50 chance of answering correctly. Essentially, it should feel like you're failing the test.
...Only I didn't feel like I was failing. The questions didn't seem all that difficult. Most would think this would make me feel reassured that I was rocking the test. However, it was quite the contrary-- I was freaking out! I expected questions to be so difficult that I had to guess. Since it wasn't that hard I was certain that I was failing [DISCLAIMER: I spoke with other people who took the test and I'm pretty sure I got an easy version or something because their questions sounded much more difficult] As I neared 75 questions I forced myself to breathe and keep a level head. I told myself that the test was NOT going to shut off at 75. I submitted my 75th answer... and the test shut off!
THE AFTERMATH: I expected to feel relief that the test was over. Instead, I was more nervous after finishing the test than before or during the test. I NEEDED to know my results. There are a few methods to determine whether or not you passed.
1. After 48 hours you can pay 8 bucks to get your results
2. Wait until you are notified by mail- roughly 4 weeks
3. Try to sign up to take the NCLEX again, if it won't let you reschedule then you passed-- this can be done by the time you drive home
4. After 48 hours you can search to see if you're active on the DOPL website
5. Look up the answer to your last question. If you got it right you most likely passed
If you know me, you know I am cheap and lacking in the patience department. I could neither wait 48 hours nor fork over eight precious dollars. Thus, I immediately called Paul and had him research answers to my final question. We determined that I got the question correct. This still wasn't good enough for me. Paul tried to go through the process to reschedule a second NCLEX test for me-- it wouldn't let him! Okay... I should totally be celebrating by this point by I STILL wasn't convinced. I called my good friend Joslyn who had taken the test the week before to see what happened when she tried to sign up for a second time. We got the same message that wouldn't let us take it!
Finally, I sighed a breath of relief. I "unofficially" passed the NCLEX!!! Naturally, I had to celebrate. Nothing like Cocoa Bean cupcakes, right? Oh, and we didn't want to leave Vince out so we just had to get three of them ;)
Today marks 48 hours post test so I found myself on DOPL [See picture at top of entry]. Active. I passed. So grateful, relived and happy. No more classes, tests, clinicals, homework. Could this really be happening? Yes, my friends. I am now a full-time homemaker.