Need exam/studying tips. Im failing my med surg class.

  1. Hi. I am in med surg 2. We just had our first exam and I failed it. I studied for the exam, and I studied HARD; however I didn't do well. I took med surg 1 last semester, and passed the class with a minimum C grade. I need to do better in med surg 2 and failing the 1st exam isn't doing me any good.

    My studying habits:
    Most of the exam question is nearly from the powerpoints showed in class. I paid attention in class and wrote down notes the professor said. I understand most topics after studying and after reading the textbook. However, to remember the information is a HUGE problem for me. I don't have great memorization skills. For example, I can sorta explain a topic if I have the notes in front of me, but if I don't I probably can't explain it clearly. Any hints/tips anyone?? Also, I am studying with my classmate, but it's not really helping.

    During exam:
    During the exam, there are questions that I can answer correctly in which I know that they are correct.
    The questions I am answering wrong could be a question that wasn't covered in the powerpoint. There are questions where im not choosing "the best answer" or "what is the first priority".

    As I am taking the test, I also know that there are some topics I lacked in studying. I know my memorization skills aren't good at all; and most of the time I'm merely recognizing information rather than memorizing and sometimes understanding it.

    I know for sure, one of my problems is running out of time. We are given approximately a minute to answer each multiple choice questions.

    Can anyone help me out on this? I will talk to the professor and discuss questions in which I got wrong; but she hasn't been helpful in giving me any advice so far. Thank you in advance!
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    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 8; Likes: 1


  3. by   Guy in Babyland
    Critical thinking questions can be difficult because they are looking for the best answer rather than the correct answer. It is more of prioritizing. If they are patient assessment questions then you start with the ABC's from CPR: Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Is their airway open? , are they Breathing?, do they have a pulse?. Then what is the most critical assessment or intervention? Essentially, what has the potential to kill the patient first (ex. potential for blood loss or infection).
  4. by   springchick1
    For me, I do my best studying alone. I know a lot of people swear by study groups but they jut don't work for me. I also use NCLEX study guides and you can buy them that are comprehensive or you can buy the ones that are subject specific.

    Make sure you study a topic well enough to be able to teach it to a classmate without having to use your notes. And always ask your instructor for help! There isn't anything wrong with that!
  5. by   heartsgal
    I also suggest buying a NCLEX style book. Several of us bought one our second semester when the critical thinking questions on exams were beginning to become more advanced and it has been very helpful and we still use it to study in nursing 4. Amazon has some great ones to choose from and you don't need to get a new one so there are some low cost choices that ship in 2-3 days. Good luck!
  6. by   ßåߥ
    I'm probably not the best to ask because every semester I switch things up a bit but one thing I see in your post is that you are trying to memorize things. If there's one thing I have learned in nursing school, memorizing only gets you so far. Sure you can memorize specific things such as labs, but as you said, you are having trouble with prioritization. Even if you know the lab of something, such as in a multiple choice question, you need to know what is more important, A) the patient is exhibiting a tripod position, B) the patient's tube feeding is clogged, C) the patient's arm appears to be broken and is bleeding profusely, or D) the patient's platelet count lab just came back and is 50,000 - which problem to do attend to first.

    You can memorize what all these things are, but what do they mean? This is why trying to memorize everything is a bad habit because what matters more than what is happening is what you can do about it, and you can only fix the most important things first by knowing what it means when these things happen.

    Uh, that probably doesn't make sense, but moral of the story: understand, not memorize
  7. by   LillyBud
    Well it sounds like you know your weak areas. If you are just getting by on memory/recall on these exams it will end up causing you more discomfort in the end. I know you don't want to think about NCLEX yet, but those recall questions wont be on there. Start now by taking the question apart. When you read the question and it asks what is your next BEST action...think does this situation need to be assessed or should I implement? If you need to further assess - look at your answers and eliminate the implementing answers. Then think of MASLOW! I know..thought you'd never think you would actually use him again It is helpful. psychosocial issues, while important, ALWAYS come after you fix the physical issues. And pain is normally psychosocial, NOT physical. follow your ABCs. you are triaging at the ED and 4 patients come in. one has a bloody nose, one has a swollen ankle, one has unrelieved chest pain, and one has partial thickness burns to the face. who do you see first? Well if you follow ABCs you can eliminate nose bleed guy and swollen ankle lady. They are pretty stable pts. your cardiac guy poses a significant threat, BUT your burn pt has burns to his face >which means his airway might be compromised > airway first! once you get into the habit of breaking apart you questions and going through maslows and ABCs you will find a lot of them can be answered easily. If an intervention seems weird, that means it probably is, so don't pick that one. Don't pick an answer just because it is the only one you DO NOT recognize. Think if that applied to real life, you'd never wing it and go with it just because you don't know what it is. Go with your instinct on those questions. Eliminate answers first before choosing one. always go with the last one you did not eliminate. Dont freak out about the time. spend 1 min on each one. if you run out of time, whats done is done and you will work on it and eventually you will get it! Best of luck to you! Ever thought of a nursing made easy book? they can be helpful..