HELP!! Need advice for FIRST exam of nursing school!

  1. Hi all!

    I love this board, you all have been so encouraging and informative, and now that I'm finally in nursing school, I need some advice!

    I just started the program a week ago (accelerated 8 week courses) and so our first exam is next week. I have been preparing for it since the first day of class. Our student notes showed that we would be covering 4 chapters from our Fundamentals book, which is what we've been doing so far in lecture and skills lab. The syllabus showed the test would be over Unit I, and packet of student notes so far have been labelled Unit I. However, Unit I chapters in the textbook are completely different than the chapters the instructor has been covering!

    So yesterday, after a fellow classmate asked to confirm the chapters, we discovered that the exam is going to cover not the four that we were expecting...but also six others! So ten chapters !! Now initially I had expected this much in nursing school but after getting lecture notes, syllabus, etc (and the chapters are LONG), and everything only relating to the four chapters, I didn't question it. NONE of my classmates knew about it and everyone was upset. Some students pointed out to the instructor the lack of clarity of the syllabus and notes, and she just shrugged and said, "oops, sorry about that...my units are different than the book's units."

    I really feel this is information she should have stressed to the class the FIRST DAY so we could have all adequately prepared. :angryfire

    Now I have less than a week to try to fully read 6 more chapters, and I work full time!

    Since this is my first exam in nursing school...does anyone have any study tips? How do you prepare? Do you learn all the vocabulary in each chapter? Answer all the questions at the end of each chapter? How do you adequately cover 10+ chapters of material?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!! THANKS in advance!! :spin:
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Halinja
    I really feel this is information she should have stressed to the class the FIRST DAY so we could have all adequately prepared.
    Welcome to nursing school. Been there...thought that. This won't be the last time you run into something like that.

    My micro teacher's advice was, when you have to read huge amounts in a hurry, read the first line of a paragraph and the last line, and anything in bold. If after reading the first and last line you don't understand the information, or it is something you need additional info on, read the whole paragraph.

    Have a notebook next to you and jot down an outline of each chapter. Not in detail, just the outline. After you've outlined things, if you have time, start filling in the major points...then work back to minor.

    The idea is to get as much covered as you can in the time you have left. You've seen her notes on the chapters she did cover, and you've heard her lecture. So you have some idea of the way she thinks. try to tailor your studying to her style.

    I'm sure there are other ideas, probably more efficient, but this's what I can think of right off the bat.
  4. by   Daytonite
    how lucky you are that you found out before the test what was going on! can you imagine the tragedy that would occur if this wasn't known before the test? so, from now on, make sure you clarify, clarify, clarify with this instructor what each exam of hers is going to cover since she has established herself as wishy-washy. here, also, are two websites with some suggestions on how to study in nursing:

    http://go.dbcc.edu/hhps/nursing/study_skills.html - study skills for the nursing student from daytona beach community college nursing department with some good advice.
    http://go.dbcc.edu/hhps/nursing/test_taking_skills.html - test taking skills also from daytona beach community college nursing department. a couple of sample questions and how to chose the correct answer for these application type questions.

    http://www.efn.org/~nurses/ - this is a website maintained by the nursing students at lane community college in eugene, oregon. for study and learning tips specific to nursing students click on "tips for learning" at the left side of this home page.
  5. by   heather2084
    if there's any charts or graphs, i'd be sure to know them. i dont know how many times i would have missed a bunch of questions had i not looked them over.
  6. by   mysterious_one
    yea , know what you mean,we had to do 28 chapter in 3 weeks, i started to just skimm and read the summaries, answered the chapter questions , also try to do a lot of NCLEX type questions
  7. by   locolorenzo22
    Read what you can, concepts you are unaware of, etc. Also, remember to check ALL the answers on the question, sometimes you can eliminate 3 because they all deal with the same idea.
  8. by   P_RN
    I'm probably showing my age here, but they give you notes, do you not take your own?
    My system was to use a notebook and write only on the right page. When reviewing, fill in the main ideas on the left page. Do the questions/vocabulary....you're going to have to learn the words sooner or later. Read the book and try to visualize something in your own life that could possibly relate. Eg: respiratry system....remember how hard it was to breathe deeply when you had a cold? OR when you broke a rib......
    Integumentary system....last bruise, last cut, maybe a surgical scar.....relate, relate, relate.

    And 10 chapters is WILD....hopefully your instructor will relent in future tests. I know the chapters are important, but so is the level of learning you need to master. Fewer chapters and maybe more tests/papers/class discussions to clarify for all.
  9. by   WDWpixieRN
    As an earlier poster said, welcome to nursing school!

    Read what you can or at least peruse/review the text. Do the chapter questions; open/install the CD if one came with your book and go over the exercises on it; go to the book's website and review that information if there is any (forget Hangman/Match It/Crosswords/other games, unless you're in to that sort of stuff -- not for me). Review any notes given to you or that you took in to class to see the types of info that the instructor seems to be looking for...

    And pay attention to charts, tables, boxes, etc. in the book...be able to answer critical thinking-type questions. If you haven't been exposed to that before, be sure to visit the links Daytonite posted above.

    And most important of all - BREATHE!! You can do this!!

    Good luck!!
  10. by   dano
    It's the first exam, take a chill pill and sit back for a moment. If it's fundamentals you may be able to get through the exam just studying notes, at least that's how our class is. If you've paid attention in lecture reading the book is almost a waste of your own time.

    Depending on what the test will cover, you could be screwing yourself or actually helping yourself.

    In my pharm class I read every page of the book and studied my notes and got 87% on the first exam. The second exam, which was supposedly the hardest exam all year (neuro), I didn't read a single page but studied the notes hardcore and got a 96%.

    In my history/exam class you have to read the book because she includes material on the test that isn't in the notes.

    Like I said, it's your first test. If you can't read all the chapters don't panic. Read the summaries at the end of the chapters, that always helps me. You'll know for exam two if you really need to be reading intensely or not.

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