Hello, could anyone help me with my first semester of nursing school? - page 2

I am soooo depressed because as much as I am studying, I'm not making really good grades. I use index cards because they've worked for me in the past. I just don't know if I'm studying wrong or what.... Read More

  1. by   SherBearRN
    I experienced the same thing in nursing school a few years ago. I had always been an A student, so after getting a B on the first test and a D on the second, I knew it was time to do something new. Here's the book that helped me get A's: http://online.medspub.com/meds/stude...d=186&cid=541&

    I'm not trying to promote Meds Publishing, but I highly recommend you take a look at books that offer assistance with test-taking tips for nursing students.

    Good luck!
  2. by   Smckee1009
    Hey. I always re-read my chapters that the instructors went over. I also did my workbook if the book came with one. I also made notes of the high points in the chapters. Study groups helped me some. Good Luck!!
  3. by   HM2VikingRN
    Mindmapping...
  4. by   chuck1234
    The most important question you have to ask once you finish a chapter is "What did I just read?"
    If you can't answer this question...then you have to go back and reread the whole chapter until you can tell yourself what you have read....
    I have been there...done it....
    Hopefully, this will help...
    Good luck!!!!
  5. by   Psqrd
    Quote from emtb2rn
    You may need to modify how you study nursing. It's different than anything I did in liberal arts/business undergrad and grad work. Here's how I approached it:

    1) don't expect to learn EVERYTHING, there's simply too much.
    2) review your notes from class that day. You don't have to try to memorize them, simply re-read them to reinforce the days lecture.
    3) understand the concepts from an A&P perspective (I never took pathophysiology, so this might be it). If you know how the body works, you can understand how/why an illness or disease will affect the patient. This applies to pharmacology as well.
    4) take breaks! I try not to study for more than 40 minutes at a time. Get up, go to the bathroom, play with the cat, get some water and then back to the books.
    5) get an NCLEX review. I use the Davis NCLEX-RN Success package loaded onto my laptop. It has over 1,300 questions. I build tests of anywhere from 10-100 questions and it really helps. You not only learn nursing theory but you also hone your test taking skills.

    With this approach, I've maintained a 93 average in nursing theory and a 99 average in pharmacology during my 1st 2 semesters. I study maybe 90 minutes a day 3-4 days a week.

    Hope this helps.
    Second semester here and this is almost exactly what I do...when preparing for a test I start about 3 days prior and try not to study for more that 4 hours...I found out more than that I get tired and don't retain any of the info...I hit the notes and power points and only read to research key points to make sure that I understand the A&P of conditions so that when I see questions on subject matter that I don't know that I at least have enough info to critically think my way through the question. I have a classmate that swears by the NCLEX study book, but I have been fairly successful with my way.
    Best advice is to find out what works best for you. P2
  6. by   MedSurgeNewbie
    I think study group was essential - make questions for eachother, writing NCLEX style forced you to think - the review books are great I got the made easy series - take a lot for breaks sort bursts are the way to go I think.. Dont stress on grades, I know easier said - most important thing is to learn be able to put it into pratice - I used to live by the motto C stands for continue -
  7. by   Becca608
    The biggest help I found was 'Test Success: Test-Taking Techniques for Beginning Nursing Students' by Patricia Nugent and Barbara Vitale. It explains how to identify the best way for you to study, how to understand and tackle the different testing formats, practice tests, etc. The "Made Incredibly Easy" series is great too. Most textbooks have disks now, use them and the NCLEX reviews included in them.

    Just beware of one trap that I fell into this year...overdoing it on study guides!

    I really do sympathize...I used to type all of my notes and actually just switched to index cards. I do feel like I am spinning my wheels and most of my classmates have informed that I am the only idiot actually reading before class. What's the answer? I don't know. I can only do the best that I can and remember that it isn't about the 'A'. Its about the fact that what I don't know may be injurious to someone.
  8. by   Lynda Lampert, RN
    I'm just finishing up my ADN -- graduate May 19th, and I've helped a lot of people who struggle with the odd questions that nursing tests ask. I always tell people to focus on these three things:

    1. what do you see (ie. signs and symptoms)
    2. what do you do (ie. interventions)
    3. what can go wrong (ie. complications)

    Teaching and nutrition for the topics should also not be overlooked. They've burned many a student.

    I also find that I'm the sort of person who only remembers things well if I know why something happens. Give me a list of lab values, and I'm pretty much sunk. Give me a question asking why those lab values cause the effect they do, and I'm cookin'! Most of the people I've helped that have trouble are the ones who learn best by straight memorization. I figure that if I know the reason why behind a disease, then I can deduce from that to get my answer. Successful students I've spoken to have agreed that this is how they study best. There may be something to that.

    Only join a study group if it is a good one, led by someone not afraid to keep the group on track, and has at least one or two people who are routinely successful. Beware bad study groups!

    You must realize and come to grips with the realization that you will *never* be directly asked "what does this thingamabober do?". You will be given scenarios. You will be asked to determine how you would know if you patient had understood your teaching. You will be asked to apply knowledge. That's the toughest part to grasp and overcome.

    Sorry so long, but these are fresh in my mind right now. I've helped a lot of my friends with this, so I hope it helps you and other students out there.

    Iona
  9. by   Esther2007
    I am in my second semester of nursing. I am taking Med Surg, so far I have an A average going to the final.
    I do the following:
    I try to read before the class
    I record the lecture
    Next day, I listen to it and rewrite my notes
    I read the chapter focusing mainly on what was discussed in lecture. I pay attention to the nursing process, specifically assessment and interventions.
    I make sure I understand the chapters rather than trying to memorize.
    I highlight key points from the book
    I only make flashcards for the antibiotics, insulin, lab values, arterial blood gas etc (flashcards help to memorize, not to understand)
    After I read the chapter and understand the material, I use the Saunders Nclex to test my knowledge in the specific subject area. Whatever questions I get wrong, I go back to the book and review. By taking the nclex questions, I have an idea on what the instructor might ask. For example, on diabetes, NPH and regular insulin, I am almost 100% sure, I will see them on my final after seeing them on the nclex.


    You see nursing is not like other classes, you have to think outside of the box.
  10. by   Mommy TeleRN
    something I JUST started this semester - RECORD the lecture. I am not an auditory learner, so just listening to the lecture the first time I don't get a lot out of it. Even listening to it in the car I don't get a lot out of it. But what I now do is copy it to my computer, and sit and listen to it with my book. Most of the teachers teach along to the book pretty well. I will read a section, then listen to the teacher talk about that section with my notes in front of me. I will catch things they stressed or repeated..and these are the things most likely to be on the test. There have been countless times this semester when students will debate a test answer and the teacher will say "well if you remember in my lecture I pointed such and such out and told you that you NEED TO KNOW that" and it's true..if you listen to the lecture again once you have an initial grasp on the material you will pick up on a lot more. Again, reading the book, reading back over your notes while listening again really ties it all together. I just pause as I go along to read or write. I've pulled the best grades this semester of any of them.
  11. by   nautica843
    I sincerely think all of you. I've never struggled with a class like these nursing classes. I just knew if I could get through all my Sciences, I could get through this. But, I will not give up no matter what!
  12. by   nautica843
    Hello, I just wanted to thank all who gave me soo much inspiration. I made it through my first semester! Thanks sooo much again.
  13. by   msnurse843
    Hi
    I knew you could do it!!! Good luck with the summer term.

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