We’ve all been there.
Clueless about what to do, where to begin, and how to get past that lump in your throat.
There are many people and places to go to get advice. But my first suggestion is to start at the fundamentals. And a great big THANK YOU to Toniah, Varnie, & Lynn (Directive Alums) for all their help in the compiling of info!
Before the Exam
AND AUTHORIZATION TO TEST
Before you can take the NCLEX, you’ll need an Authorization to Test (ATT). To get this, you’ll need to apply and pay BON application fee to your board of nursing/regulatory body (BON/RB) and then register and pay the exam fee with Pearson VUE. You’ll want to start this process well in advance of your target date for taking the exam.
But first, When is the earliest you can apply to take the NCLEX-RN?
After you’ve completed the requirements and applied for an Associate Degree of Nursing at Inter Metro (another application process and fee – yay 😉 ).
1. The school will mail you 2 copies of your certificate of graduation for the associates degree. One you will need to mail with your application to the Board of Nursing (BON) in the state that you are applying to and the other is for your records. Application Help.
2. Fill out the state’s (you can also apply to Canada 😉 ) application completely. The section that asks, “What have you been doing since graduation?” I put, “Obtaining bachelors degree“…(it’s usually a good idea to put something truthful that has been a good use of your time during any interim gaps). The section that asks whether or not you are moving to the state, (I checked yes.) The application fee will vary based on the state (mine at the time was ($90.00). The state application will tell you how to pay and in what method.
On the application that the director has to signs, make sure she puts your graduation date on it. Make sure the date on your certificate of graduation from the school matches the date she writes/that you fill in. The state will send your application back to you which takes a longer process. As soon as she signs it, make sure that it is fully filled out! Very important!!
3. After she signs it, you will take that paper to the registrar’s office to have them stamp it (make sure you also take your certificate of grad to them as well). Make sure to ask the registrar for a letter size envelope with their info stamped on it because you have to mail that stuff to your application state (registrar is supposed to mail it for you, but they don’t)
So you’ll mail 2 envelopes to your application state, the one contains your application and money order of payment and the other will have the letter that was signed from the director and the certificate of grad document that proves you have an associates/bachelors (if you decided to avoid the associate grad requirements).
While you are doing all of that, you will also need to go to the pearson vue and register to take the NCLEX. Register to take the test through your application state and pay the exam fee ( I paid $200.) This will allow the application state to see your name on their registry and approve you to take the test.
It should take 2 to 3 weeks for your application state to send you your approval to test, (I got mine via email – don’t forget to check your junk mail) once you have that you can schedule your test time and date. (They will send you an email informing you of your ATT : Your ATT has an expiration between 60 – 365 days which differs by state – mine was a full year).
REMEMBER TO MAKE COPIES OF EVERYTHING!! (All of this paperwork – and a whole bunch more – has to go into your Integrated Practice II Nursing Class Digital Portfolio in your final term).
What is the NLC (Nurse License Compact) & how does it impact me?
PREPARATION FOR THE NCLEX
It is also important to locate your test site because they can fill up quickly. Do not wait until your ATT is close to expiration to schedule your exam or you may have to reregister and pay another exam fee.
How/What do I review?
Best people to ask are those who’ve passed the exam recently. Try asking some upperclassmen in the terms after Pediatrics or in their last year.
What are your weaknesses? – core content/question strategy? or both? Ask them what their weaknesses were.
How they decided on their review method? Ask around for resources.
There are personal study through books/(youtube) videos. These are best for those where money is a determining factor BUT they are motivated enough to lay out a core content &/question strategy plan and stick to it.
Book Buyer’s Guide: There are an exhaustive number of review books available online that you can check reviews from any major online bookstore (amazon) for a better idea of how people found it. Scroll to the bottom of this guide for his breakdown of the types of books and what might suit you best.
There are always free resources available online. To start you off. Google or ask around. Some more free stuff. But don’t overwhelm yourself with multiple sources of randomness. Have a reasonable plan. Feel like incorporating certain sources to supplement revision while you’re in nursing school – yay you. Overwhelming yourself with a terabyte worth of data and the exam is a few weeks away – not such a great idea.
There are many review programs out there: Kaplan, Hurst, Remar, Feuer to name a few.
NCLEX Prep Course Buyer’s Guide: Scroll to the bottom for his breakdown of some of the strengths of certain programs. You can also Google for reviews of a program.
FYI. If you want to organize a group of students for a review program course that isn’t already set up – there are usually some benefits associated with that (usually only one per graduating class).
We’ll give you a few opinions from recent grads who passed in an upcoming post.