My NCLEX Test Day Experience

Two months ago I was on my way to Charlotte, NC to take my NCLEX exam. It’s hard to believe it was that long ago. I wanted to share my timeline and experience because I know it is something we are all curious about as nursing students! I left Wednesday afternoon with Bradley and we headed d to Charlotte for the night. The first thing we did when we got there was find the testing center- this is something I highly suggest you do even if you are testing in your home town! The last thing you want is to be stressed and lost the day of your test. After that, we grabbed some dinner and headed to the hotel room. I mostly just relaxed and tried to not think about what the next morning would bring. I did sneak in a 50 question review on my UWorld app while waiting for dinner (oops!), but other than that- no studying the night before!

I woke up at 6- I was to show up at 7:30 for my 8am test. I chose an 8am test because all through nursing school my tests were typically at 8 or 9 in the morning. I wanted to keep things as normal as possible, as well as not have to long to let my nerves get the best of me. Now, I know people who test early and loved it, and know people who tested later and loved it. You have to do what’s best for you!

I showered, got dressed, spent a few minutes of quiet mediation, then headed down to the continental breakfast. The hotel had a really nice spread- I only wish I had been hungry- ha! My anxiety was high but I knew I needed something in my stomach. I ate some yogurt and fruit and sipped some coffee. I could hear my heart pounding and my hands were shaking- the day was finally here!! I was about to take my NCLEX- the test that would decide if I would become an RN!

I drove to the testing center- even with turning the wrong way out of the hotel I was there in 6 minutes (I booked the hotel closest to the testing center). Give yourself plenty of time to get to the test center- this is not the time to be late because of traffic. I walked in to the center- went to the restroom- and walked in the actual center right at 7:30a. They had me grab a number and take a seat. While I waited the gave me a print out on basic information for the NCLEX- how breaks worked, time, number of questions etc. I ended up waiting until 8:05 before I was called up! I did not expect this but they called every person up individually and it took some time. When they called me I did my palm vein scan, had my picture taken, and then was walked to a locker. I had to pull up my hair to show my neck and ears, put my scarf in the locker along with my ID and keys. My instructor said not to bring anything- so I didn’t. Most people has purses and jackets though and this wasn’t an issue. I then took my locker key and talked to the test proctor- who again checked me for any paraphernalia. He then handed me a white board and pair of ear plugs and walked me into the testing center.

Once inside the began the test. You have to do some practice questions- some do not count against time and some do- you have to do all of them before you can begin. I quickly went through them then it was time to start! My heart raced the whole time- although I did start to calm down as time went on. I didn’t feel as focused as I usually do on tests- and I didn’t feel as confident as I hoped in my answers. Every select all that apply question that popped up (there were a lot) made me more and more nervous! However, I believe this is how many applicants feel. Remeber, Pearson Testing Centers proctor a lot of differnet tests. If you hear people typing or getting up quickly- the are not necessarily taking the same tests as you! So don’t feel like your missing something or doing something wrong.

I kept coaching myself to not panic if question 76 popped up- that it meant nothing. Because it doesn’t. I am happy I passed in 75 questions, but people who take all 285 have the same RN after their name as me. After question 75- the screen went blank. I sat in shock for a moment- then completed the survey. I raised my hand and the proctor came and walked me out. He asked what I was taking and when I said “NCLEX” he said “WOW- that was fast!” It didn’t make feel any better- that’s for sure. I felt nauseous again- but luckily I kept my breakfast down. I did not feel confident I passed- and told everyone that I didn’t know if I did. Again, I think this is how most people feel.

Bradley and I spent the rest of the day exploring Charlotte and trying to keep my mind off the 48 hour wait for quick results. On Saturday morning- I woke up- and didn’t check. I was so nervous. What if I failed? What if there not there? Finally- at 12 I put in the credit card information- and there it was. One of the best words in the English language. “PASSED.”

If your a fellow nursing student studying for boards- read my review on UWorld and how helpful it was in my NCLEX preparation!