I took the Excelsior Ethics exam a few weeks ago. It was really tough. I left the exam room sure that I had failed. I couldn't even open the envelope with the results until I got out to my car. I was completely shocked to find I had made an "A".
My study tips would be: To get the main ethical philosophers and schools of thought straight: I would recommend the Complete Idiot's Guide. It was written in a easy to understand style and I had struggled for several weeks to get them straight. This book really helped me. It is available as an e-book and I studied it on my Kindle
using the highlighting feature to "take notes".
My husband recommended the flashcard exchange on the internet, and I downloaded a few sets but I didn't find them all that helpful.
We also (both of us are doing the RN to BSN thing) used Lisa Arends study guides. I think they are available on Ebay. I did find them helpful, but couldn't organize my thoughts until I had been through the Complete Idiot's Guide. Both provided valuable information.
We also paid for the practice exams on Excelsior. I think they were very useful. They really give you a chance to be familiar to the "scenarios" which are such a large part of the actual exam. They give a rationale for most of the right and wrong answers. I did find that many of the rationales were non-sensical, almost like ethics professors came up with the questions and answers but then they left their grad students to come up with the rationales. Some of the same scenarios appear on both the practice exam and the actual exam but the actual questions are mostly different.
One more thing. I would have studied for months if it was up to me. My husband had experience with Excelsior having gotten his ADN from them. He insisted the key was to just go ahead and schedule the test to force oneself to study and then just go do it. I only scheduled the test because I felt pressured to do so. But it was the right thing to do since I made such a good grade.
I've since passed the Dantes exam for World Religions and am studying for the CLEP Humanities as well as having just passed Writing for the Professions and working on Statistics for Healthcare Professionals. We're busy to say the least.