Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Date with Destiny

A huge sigh of relief, a pat on the back, and a round of applause! My NCLEX is behind me!! I'm still waiting for official results, but according to the Pearson Vue Trick, which is pretty legit; I passed! I'll explain more about that shortly, but, let me give you a little detour through my NCLEX experience. 

August 29, 2012:

I received my Authorization To Test (ATT) which meant I could schedule my NCLEX. Initially, I took the soonest date open which was September 19, however, the next day my friend said she was able to register for the being the anxious person I am, I looked online and sure enough, they'd opened up a sooner date to test, so I took it!

I made a decision this day to tell only a select few that I would be taking my NCLEX. I didn't want people badgering me on test day with questions etc. as I knew that would only make me more nervous than I needed to be! That was the best decision for those of you who have the NCLEX ahead of you, that may be something you want to consider! But then agian, maybe it's not...who knows! :)

August 29-September 10 included non-stop studying and practice-test-taking! Thanks to Kaplan who I took a prep-course through. Every day I was doing at least 150 questions a day that were all application and analysis type questions (translation: they were the type of questions that are above the line of passing on the NCLEX)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012:

Well I believe it's needless to say, but just coming out of nursing school I'm about as broke as they come. So while some people are able to afford a massage, a dinner out with the family, anything relaxing and that requires using money, well, I couldn't afford that! So, I made my own relaxing day! First, I went on a morning walk with two of my best friends (who both took their NCLEX with me) and after our lovely walk we went to the building where we would be testing. This helped ease our anxiety and familiarized ourselves with the place we'd be taking our life-changing test! Then afterwards we went out for lunch, because there's some delicious melt in your mouth chocolate chip cookies from Paradise bakery (aka Panera Bread) when you're a little stressed out! Then I ran some errands and came home and cooked/baked the day away! Then my little brother and sister (who had no idea that I would be testing the next day) came over and enjoyed dinner with me and my mom. After dinner as my siblings played hockey downstairs making as much noise as possible...I went upstairs and started to wind-down for the evening and start my relaxing evening....I stepped into Spas by Maggie. There I did a hair wrap, face mask, I painted my toes and fingers, I got skin that was so soft thanks to Avon's skin-so-soft...I even shaved my legs...that's right! I was living on the edge. At least I knew that if I didn't make it through the next day, I at least looked (and felt) nice! 

Such a great evening! I took a melatonin and hit the hay..because I had a date with destiny the next day!

September 12, 2012: 

I woke up to the sound of my alarm and actually had a smile on my face! I knew that this morning meant all the waiting was over with. It was time to put my test-taking skills to the test...and my nursing judgement I suppose! :) So I started things off with a quick morning jog. I didn't have a lot of time but knew a couple of endorphins would do wonders for me! It was a beautiful overcast, fall(ish) morning...perfect for a run and the NCLEX!!

 Then it was to the shower, throw on some clothes, eat a breakfast for champions (Jimmy Dean d-lights of course), and I was out the door to meet up at my friends house! Me and my girls decided we needed to do something in the morning together to help the time pass until we had to go take our test, which wasn't until 1pm. So we got together and watched a movie, drank a lot of water, peed more than one normally would, danced like some crazy women, ate a hearty lunch, and then we were on our way!

I drove there with stereo playing my test-taking music to help me get "pumped up." I said one more prayer (actually I'm not sure I ever quit praying throughout the day) and I pulled into the parking lot of the Bank of Albuquerque building, where my testing would take place. Destiny was right in front of me! Destiny was right in the palm of my hands. This was finally happening. All my schooling, all those years, those long nights, those dreaded care plans, those tears, the sweat, it was all being put to the test. It was my day to prove I'm not going to be a killer nurse! 


 We went down to the basement, checked in with the friendly lady that had so kindly helped us out the day before when we had a little tour of the place! We read the instructions on correct and incorrect behavior and so on and so forth! I was fingerprinted...the palm of my hand was scanned my purse was thrown into a locker, and then I was taken to my own little cubical where I proceeded to take my test. Now the NCLEX is a hard test to describe. But it's a minimum competency exam and you have to get 60 questions above the line of passing. Questions that are considered above the line of passing are application and analysis type questions. The test starts you off at the line of passing and then depending on how you answer you get an easier or harder question ect. You can have anywhere from 75-265 questions. You're given 6 hours to take the exam. At 2 hours the test has a pop up that suggests you take a break and there's another pop up at 3.5 hours. Any break you take is on the clock, the exam doesn't pause! Once your 6 hours start, it doesn't stop or pause! I knew that if I got to two hours that I would take a break, and I would take one again at the 3.5 hours if it took me that long. With each question I took a deep deep breath and moved on. Forgetting whatever questions I had answered and focusing only at the one on hand. However, things were going smoothly (I was pretty sure I was doing well because all of the questions were application/analysis type the ones I had practiced with Kaplan). Yet, when I got to question 75 I told myself, "It's okay Maggie, you're going to get 76 questions and that will be okay. More questions just means you're still in the game so don't freak out" So I clicked next and the screen went blue and a few seconds after that it came up with a screen that said, "you have completed the NCLEX examination. Please proceed to take this short survey" That was it! I was done in an hour and forty minutes and in 75 questions. Every NCLEX-taking student's wildest dreams! I held up my hand, the proctor came in and escorted me out, I "palmed out" and I was good to go. 

My friend Candice had gone in a few minutes before me and I saw her go out shortly before I did. Larra went in after me so she was the only one left taking her test! I ran out to my car hoping that Candice hadn't left yet...and I found her in her car trying to do the Pearson vue trick. Essentially you try and register for the exam again and if it comes up with a pop-up then that means you passed but if it lets you put in your credit card information then that means you failed. So we were doing that and we both got the pop-up! It didn't let us put in our CC information!!! Then we started to call people and tell them we'd finished the exam and we tried the pearson trick and it didn't let us register! Then shortly after we had been out our friend Larra came out!!! We all got 75 questions and we all got the pop-up!! Shock, joy, tears, adrenalin, more shock, terror, excitement, it was all pulsing through our veins. We decided we need to go share some appetizers at Gardunos to let the whole situation settle in! 

While I don't have official results I'm hopeful that I passed my boards and will soon be a registered nurse. Now I just wait. I'm still contemplating if I want to pay the extra ten bucks to get the quick results. I almost don't want to because I think it's lame that they want to nickle and dime us...nursing school did that enough to us already! So I'm content with waiting...for now...


So that's it! I had my date with destiny and it was better than I thought it would be. It didn't make me bawl my eyes out and it didn't make me scream. I think I had reasonable expectations for the exam and now I will wait...and see how patient I really am! Congrats to me (pat on the back) and a huge congrats to my friends that took it with me...WOOT! and Congrats to all my other friends that already took their boards and passed and best of luck to those of you who will be taking yours here in the next few weeks! If you need something to pass the time...bake...and go on to pinterest! Those are great ways to spend time. I did more baking today...I think tomorrow a run is in order.... until official results are in TTFN...ta-ta-for-now!