Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The NCLEX has been looming over me the entire summer. As I have previously mentioned it is a test I have to take and pass in order to continue on in school. If I should take it and not pass, then my 2nd and final year of school would turn into 2 years.

The NCLEX is what is known as a CAT, a computerized adaptive test. So it’s a smart test. If you do good it gives you harder questions. If you miss questions it gives you more of the kind you missed. Although this seems mean, really it’s to help you pass. The NCLEX is trying to see if you are competent or not. As a health consumer I think this is incredibly important – I want competent people taking care of me. As an individual who has never been a good test taker I think this somewhat stinks.

The test is also very variable. It can be as short as 75 questions or as long as 265 questions. You don’t know how many questions you are going to get until the computer just shuts off. Yes, it just shuts off. Then you have to wait for 2 days to find out if you passed or not, and to make matters worse you have to pay $7.95 since to even find out if you passed or not.

Not only is the test nerve racking, but taking it is too. I have to drive downtown Nashville to this testing site. Once I get there I have to provide identification. They then give me a key to a locker that has a 12 inch long key chain that I am supposed to keep on my person. They then proceed to give me forms to fill out. They then call me back up to the desk where they ask me for my identification again. Then they make sure I have nothing on my person (except the 12 inch long key chain). Then they finger print me. Then they escort me 10 feet down the hall where they fingerprint me again – three times. They then escort me into the testing room where I am assigned a computer. The computer has a video camera perched above it and it is recording me the entire time with audio. Also there is a woman behind a window in a box staring at me the entire time. If I should need to use the facilities then I must be escorted and have my finger prints taken again before entering (this is so I won’t change my fingers while I’m using the facilities). When I am done and the computer shuts off they then walk over to me and escort me out of the room (I’m still carrying around my 12 inch long key chain). Out of the room I must be fingerprinted again. They then instruct me to get my things out of the locker return the 12 inch long key chain, and have a nice day. A nice day? How can I have a nice day when I don’t know if I passed this monumental test or not?

I will have to say that this was one of the hardest tests I have ever taken . About 10 questions in I felt like I wasn’t even qualified to be taking this test. It was hard, very hard. But 2 agonizing days later I paid my $7.95 and found out that I had indeed passed.

I am now officially a registered nurse and licensed to work in the state of Tennessee.

Yeah me!


Emily said...

Congratulations Tara!! That is so exciting! Now you can start studying for your phd :-P haha
anyways... that is crazy about all the fingerprinting and whatnot. They're not even that strict at the airports anymore.

Chara said...

I want to know how long YOUR test was. Did it take long? Does the computer snicker snidely at you when you miss too many questions? Did you have to pee? If so, did you wash your hands after peeing or (passive aggressively)forget to wash?

t sanders said...

So many questions. I took 2 hours to answer 75 questions. I did have to pee, but I did not leave the room.