I Failed the NCLEX and Don’t Know What to Study!

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Updated Oct, 2017

It happened. You failed the NCLEX and can’t even imagine taking your books out. Where do you start? Page 1?

If you tell your instructors at school that you failed, they will probably just tell you to A) practice more questions or B) review the test plan, or both A & B. Neither one of these suggestions are helpful. I’m going to focus on the test plan right now. Practicing questions is a different story.

In my opinion, the test plan is the most confusing looking test plan I have ever seen. It seems to not follow anything that you did in school and you would be jumping around all over your books trying to review the content. Then you would notice that “Didn’t they already say that in the other section? Didn’t I already go over this?” And you would be right, there is a lot of repetition in the test plan and then it’s difficult to even figure out what they mean.

In order to pass the NCLEX Exam, you have to know the nursing content. A lot of content. I hope you are ready to get started because I have some insightful knowledge to make your studying easier and more efficient so that you are studying the right things.

Let me clarify. There are 8 sections of the test plan. You must pass all 8 sections in order to pass. Therefore, you want to be familiar with the content from all 8 sections. Some of the sections it is easy for me to tell you what to study. But for some of the sections, it’s not so clear to break them up into the separate chapters. These sections and chapters aren’t written in stone, but it’s as close as anyone will ever get to making sense of the test plan. The content you need to review is from the Saunders NCLEX Comprehensive Review Book, 2017 edition. Here is what you need to study based on the test plan.

1) Management of Care

  • Chapters to review: 6, 7

2) Safety & Infection Control

  • Chapters to review: 16, 44

3) Health Promotion and Maintenance

  • Chapters to review: 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31
  • Also, immunizations and healthy life style choices which is throughout the book: sun exposure, health screening, breast/testicular exams, exercise

4) Psychosocial Integrity

  • Chapters to Review: 5 (p32-38), 68-71

5) Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies

  • Chapters to Review: 12, 13, 14, 17, 45, 47, 49, 51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61, 63, 65, 67, 72

6) Basic Care and Comfort

  • Chapters to Review: 11, 20, 5 (p38-39)
  • Also, basic human needs which is throughout the book: skin care, O2, sleep, urine and bowel elimination, hearing/vision, canes/crutches/walkers

7) Reduction of Risk Potential

  • Chapters to Review: 10, 18, 19
  • Also, diagnostic tests which is throughout the book

8) Physiological Adaptation

  • Chapters to Review: 8, 9, 26, 28, 30, 33-43, 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66

I told you it was a lot of content, but at least it’s one book and you know where to find the content.

For my repeat test-takers, when you look at your CPR report, look to see which sections you were  below or near passing. You will definitely need to focus on those sections. My advice would be to review content and practice questions for ALL the sections regardless of what your CPR report said.  Multiple repeat-test takers never have consistent CPR reports and what they did well on one test, they failed it the next. I once had a student say that if you took his 5 CPR reports and added them together he would have passed the NCLEX because at some point each section said “above passing”. If only that were true for some. He ended passing all at once. Yeah!

Want to see for yourself what the NCLEX-RN test plan looks? Here it is: https://www.ncsbn.org/RN_Test_Plan_2016_Final.pdf

Let me know if you find this article helpful!

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