For you to become a registered nurse, you need to take and pass the NCLEX. The National Council Licensure Examination is what will help the state boards of nursing to determine whether or not you are ready to work as a nurse. But what if you failed the NCLEX?
Well, failing the NCLEX doesn’t mean that your career is over or there’s nothing you can do to be a nurse. Failing doesn’t mean you have to put your career on hold, too.
Here are the things you can do to get back on track:
Accept your feelings
Spending months preparing for your big exam and not getting the results you want can make you feel angry and depressed- and that’s alright. Allowing yourself to feel those emotions and accepting them can help you move on.
Confronting your feelings and mourning over your missed opportunity is a step towards letting go and moving on. Denying the reality, on the other hand, will only make things worse.
Take the time to understand your feelings and what you are going through. You can write them down or share them with your family or friends.
Even though it’s alright to connect with your feelings, you shouldn’t stay where you are for a really long time. Understand that you also have to move on and take another step forward.
Recognize where you failed
Nurses fail for a number of reasons. For you, it could be due to your personal responsibilities, lack of preparation, inability to focus while studying, getting easily distracted or having a hard time with the questions.
After determining why you failed, you need to come up with a strategy to ensure that you do things differently the next time.
If it’s because of your responsibilities at home, talk to your family and be open to what you need for your studies. If possible, set a schedule of your tasks so you can dedicate a separate time to complete them.
If you are having a hard time with the questions, you may want to enroll in an NCLEX prep course. There are courses that are instructor-based and it can help increase not just your confidence in passing the test but it can also improve your critical thinking skills.
Be more familiar with the exam
There are tons of information about the exam. There are even sites that provide sample questions which you can use as practice.
When you took the exam, you probably received a Candidate Performance Report or CPR. Check it to see which areas you passed and which areas you need to work on more.
Remember, the NCLEX has 8 different content areas and the topics they cover vary.
Optimize your studying routine
When you are studying, you need to make sure that you are able to be 100% focused even for just an hour.
You see, it’s not really how much time you spend on studying but how focused you are when you’re in front of your study materials. Even if you spend 3 to 4 hours studying, you won’t be able to retain that much information if you have your phone with you or you are watching TV.
Poor quality studying won’t help you achieve your goals.
In addition to focus, you also have to find the right environment to study. If you are really bad at focusing, you need to find an environment with minimal distraction.
Don’t just rely on your school notes
Everything your nursing school and instructors taught you before you graduated is important for your career. They can help you work safely and efficiently.
However, studying all of the things they taught you in school can feel like too much.
Remember, the NCLEX isn’t random. It just wants to know if you can be sent out to work in your hospital without harming anyone.
Think of it like a driving test.
When you’re being tested for your driving skills, your instructors don’t really care about how the engine in the car works. They are just there to assess your driving skills and your capability to drive a car without killing anyone on the road.
With that, don’t just rely on your nursing school materials. Look for reviewers that are specific to NCLEX so you can have a better idea of what concepts and topics to study.
Avoid buying too many review guides
A review guide can help you prepare for your big test. However, buying too many review guides at once will only make your study process a lot more complicated. Plus, there’s a really small chance that you’ll be able to recall all the information they contain.
As much as possible, try to stick with just one review guide. Just be sure that it’s comprehensive so you’ll be able to prepare for all content areas.
Believe in yourself
You might have heard this a couple of times but it can really help. Having that strong belief in your capability can help you stay positive throughout the process.
As long as you know that you’ve studied and prepared enough, you can be confident that you’ll pass the test. Stay confident and talk yourself through hard times. If you experience a set back in studying, don’t feel too bad about it or yourself.
You also need to take a break from time to time. Don’t feel guilty about spending time with your family and friends. As long as you know that you are doing everything you can to pass the test this time around, you can have that peace of mind.
If you failed the NCLEX, it isn’t the end of your career. It’s just an obstacle that you can definitely overcome.
However, for you to move forward and take the necessary steps to pass it, you need to understand and accept your failure. Learn from it and do things differently this time.
Change your strategy and the way you prepare. Spend more time studying the right review guides and if you experience a setback, don’t be too hard on yourself. You need to keep that positive energy, particularly as your next exam date approaches.