I am a current student here. The first semester is a bit of a trial. You will not get great support during that first nine weeks, rather you will be constantly put to the test and if you fail you will be left behind. I believe this is what people refer to when they complain about the problems at Merritt. What is unfortunate is that those critics never get to see what comes after they (because invariably the critics are those who fail). Now I am entering my second year and I cone honestly say I am happy and I have no doubt that I will come out a better nurse than any that Samuel Merritt or SFSU could produce. This is a program that does not accept mediocrity, that drives you to be independent, and knowledgeable and able to adapt and think on your toes. You can't get through this program on "good enough" and you will find your A work gets B's and your B work gets failed.
That being said a few tips for getting over the first hurdle.
1. Read the fundamentals book over the summer. The first time you read it just take it in like a novel don't focus on the details.
2. Pre-read each chapter before lecture. This time take your time and take notes. Focus on the nursing implications of what your reading (not just the facts but how those facts would effect nursing care) You will find the lectures in fundementals not as helpful as you would like but it helps if your familiar with the text first. You should be relying on the text not on lecture notes.
3. Reread the material a third time before the exams. This time skimming for details you may have overlooked and committing the information in the boxes to memory. A lot of those boxes are test questions.
4. Most important study advice is practice questions. You will be taking tests with questions unlike others you have ever faced. They are not going to ask you to recall information from the textbook. You will be expected to process the information as applied to different situations and come up with an answer that is not in any books. Often times there will be 3 or 4 correct answers and you will be asked to select the best one. Pay attention to the question line in each question. Look for words like "Best" "First" "Priority" "Safest". Pay attention to whether the question is asking for an "Intervention" or an "Assessment". Most people who did poorly last year failed the first exam miserably because they did not know how to take an Nclex style course and even though the passed the second and third exam they were not able to make up the points.
5. ***Mary Ann Hogans Fundementals: Reviews and Rationals has a ton of practice questions. I recommend starting them over the summer as well.
6. The fundementals book you will likely be using the Perry and Potters. The Chapters we covered was: (1,2,3,9,13,14,16,17,18,19,20,21,24,25,26,27,28,29 ,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,4 6,47,48,50)
7. If you are any good at math. Get a drug dosage book and read it over the summer so you can test out of that class on the first day. It will free up an extra day of studying each week.
8. Good Luck and wave goodbye to your social life.