Finishing the Race: A Student Success Story

university of texas at arlington student success

My name is Mary Hunt, and I recently finished nursing school and passed the NCLEX® on my first try in only 69 questions. (The minimum number of questions required was reduced from 75 to 60 due to Covid-19). What a relief!

I am 54 years old, and nursing will be my second degree/career. I completed an Accelerated Online BSN program at The University of Texas at Arlington. I chose this particular program because I already had a  teaching degree, so, essentially, my first two years were done. I was able to finish this program in 15 months.

Like many others facing the NCLEX, I felt completely overwhelmed by all of the information I had learned over the past 15 months. How would I remember it all?  How could I apply what I couldn’t recall? How in the world could I possibly effectively review enough to pass that final comprehensive exam looming ahead? For me, failure was simply not an option.

I researched several options for my exam preparation and talked to many of my friends who were already nurses. Ultimately, I settled upon the UWorld NCLEX-RN 180-day package which offered a 2,000+ question bank. It also provided two self-assessments that were timed, so, essentially, they were practicing NCLEX tests. 

My nursing program had provided me with some other study options to prepare for the NCLEX, but UWorld seemed to be a more stringent and streamlined way to figure out where my strengths and weaknesses were.

I learn very effectively by answering practice questions, and the UWorld QBank provides a detailed and illustrated rationalization after every NCLEX-style question.   This allowed me to attempt to answer the question and then immediately be able to correct my thought processes, thus helping to cement the information in my brain. This works very well for me.

In the first few months of study, I was still in school, but I attempted to complete at least 100 questions a week. I was able to systematically choose a subject such as Adult Health and then choose from a number of body systems such as Cardiovascular. After answering each set of 20 –25 questions, I was able to choose the questions I had answered incorrectly and go through them again and again until I understood the material and could successfully answer everything. 

When I finished all of my coursework, then I began to dedicate even more time to UWorld. In the last six weeks before my exam, I was doing between 100–200 questions and studying approximately 5–8 hours per day.

After the first 500 questions were completed and I could answer them all without mistakes, I took the first self-assessment. I scored a “very high” probability of passing the NCLEX, which let me know that my efforts were paying off.  The assessment also further identified the subjects in which I needed to strengthen, so I was able to make a list and focus on those areas. By the time I actually tested, I had completed between 1300-1400 total questions. I never actually used the second self-assessment; I just worked through questions.

The UWorld QBank accurately depicted the questions posed on my NCLEX exam. The difficulty level combined with the rationalizations fully prepared me for what I experienced. I believe that that utilization of UWorld, whether for 180 days like me or just 30 days before the exam, will give anyone an excellent comprehensive review and a huge “leg up” in passing the NCLEX on the first try.  Good luck! You can do it!

Guest Author: Mary Hunt, a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Arlington who passed the NCLEX on the first try.