How to study for nursing exams?

  1. 0
    Hello! Everyone!
    I am a new nursing student in the RN program. I read the materials and the textbooks for exams. But for some reason, I have problem during the exams.

    Any suggestions for how to study for nursing exams. Any Institution helps with tutoring?

    Please let me know. Appreciate your help so much.
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  4. 23 Comments so far...

  5. 4
    Use all of the resources that you have for studying. Use text, notes, any CD-ROMS that come with your books, NCLEX review books (even testing myself on the sections we haven't gotten to helps me, because I have gottten used to the testing style. Also, reading all rationales helps me to retain information better.)...if there's a study guide to your text, buy that and use it. If your professor takes the time to send you any hand outs, like review questions, study them, too. Ours do this, and sometimes it seems like you spend hours looking for the answers and then none of the info is on the test. But sometimes it is! And even if you spend alot of time looking up the answers, I have found that in doing that I go over information that I never noticed before when reading, or I just read stuff in more detail. Make flash cards for words you don't know, or for memorizing lab values, procedures, etc.

    The other day we had a test that AT LEAST half the class failed. I made a 94. The advice I'm giving you is the same advice I have given to everyone who has asked me.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
    jil_, Hospice Nurse LPN, survrgrl08, and 1 other like this.
  6. 7
    Pay a lot of attention to the "Why" of things. Most nursing exams ask you to apply the concepts and principles you have learned to various problem situations. So, it's not just a matter of memorizing facts.

    Students who try to make it through while only memorizing facts and using "test-taking tips" are usually the ones who work the hardest, learn the least, struggle in school, and make the worst nurses in the long run. The students who master the underlying principles and concepts being taught and can apply them to a test question or a real patient have an easier time of it -- both as a student and as a practicing nurse.
  7. 0
    Consider forming a study group. I found it enormously helpful when I didn't want to push myself any more -- the group members push themselves along. I also found explaining a concept to a classmate to be a great exercise. We all learned from each other. We also met faithfully every week, not just before an exam. At one point, during a double-time microbiology class, we realized we were in for a rocky ride, so we hired a tutor. That's why we were all A students. We didn't wait for that failing grade to make us swing into action. We focused on understanding concepts and helping each other. We worked together for NCLEX, too, and it was really fun.
  8. 0
    see the information on this sticky thread on this forum: http://allnurses.com/forums/f50/look...es-224581.html - looking for test taking strategies
  9. 17
    In addition to the above, one of the best strategies for learning to take multiple choice nursing exams is to write your own multiple choice questions after you have studied a unit of material. It helps to have a friend who will do the same-- then you share each other's questions.

    This strategy does two things 1) it causes you to review at least 4 pieces of information --and when you write the "wrong answers" (distractors) you REALLY learn the right one 2) it builds test-taking skills because you are learning to think like a "tester".

    The trick is to do it consistently and always ask questions that include a nurse and a patient. For instance if you study the following:
    Deep vein thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in the deep veins of the lower extremities. Postoperative patients are at risk deep vein thrombosis due to venous stasis secondary to immobility.

    OK! Prior to nursing school, I bet you were accustomed to questions like this:
    Deep Vein Thrombosis is:
    a. blood clot in lungs
    b. varicose veins in lower extremities
    c. vasoconstriction of veins in legs
    d. blood clot in lower extremities.

    That works for memorization-- however in nursing we have to be able to USE (apply the information we learn). So you would write a question that asks you to use what you learned. Such as:

    The nurse is caring for a patient who had a choleycystecomy 12 hours ago. To prevent deep vein thrombosis the nurse will teach the patient :
    1. keep legs immobile while in bed
    2. to avoid ambulation except to bathroom
    3. to keep legs elevated above the level of the heart at all times
    4. the importance of early and frequent ambulation.


    The correct answer, of course, is #4.
    Try this strategy prior to your next exam. I use this with all my students who have difficulties with those first few exams --it works!
    Nursing pursuit, sweetf, Rebel6678, and 14 others like this.
  10. 0
    WOW! Really good advice from everybody. Makes me wish I'd read this 2 years ago!! Hope your grades improve Tamch!
  11. 0
    Quote from llg
    Pay a lot of attention to the "Why" of things. Most nursing exams ask you to apply the concepts and principles you have learned to various problem situations. So, it's not just a matter of memorizing facts.

    Students who try to make it through while only memorizing facts and using "test-taking tips" are usually the ones who work the hardest, learn the least, struggle in school, and make the worst nurses in the long run. The students who master the underlying principles and concepts being taught and can apply them to a test question or a real patient have an easier time of it -- both as a student and as a practicing nurse.

    That's why I really pay attention to the rationales. If I understand WHY an answer is right, and WHY the other answers are wrong, that information tends to stick with me.

    We have a required book in our class that spends a whole lot of time trying to help you pick the right answer by using clues in the questions. To me, it seems easier just to know the information in the first place, instead of wasting time breaking down the question. I mean, we need to KNOW this stuff, anyway!
  12. 0
    You might want to consider looking up the Bloom's Taxonomy. This will help you understand the questions and how they are formed. If you are using all your resources to study then try a simple trick whn taking the test. Read just the question first... Most the time it is the last sentence... then read your options... then read the entire questions pulling out only information that helps answer the question.
  13. 1
    I am having the same problem. Before entry to the ADN program, I had carried a 4.0 GPA for two years while doing all of the prerequsites. After entry into the program, I did faily well in Pharmacology and Fundamenals of Nursing making a B in both classes. I am now in Medical-Surgical I Adults/Children and my exam average is a 79.8. I recently discovered that the reason why I was doing so poorly was because all I was doing was memorizing the information. Once it was test time, I'd understand the topic of the question but I would not know how to answer it because it would be worded entirely different and it isn't what I memorized. I have my 8th exam in Med-Surg tomorrow morning and I've been trying my hardest to learn and actually understand the pathophysiology of everything! I'll see if my 'memorizing vs understanding' theory actually proves my problem tomorrow after I get my exam grade.

    :redpinkhe Sarah Hay, SN
    milksteak likes this.


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