What's wrong with me?

  1. I am 5 months into Nursing school, taking Fundamentals. So far, I have been passing with a C. A bit of background, I was one of those students who did not need to study and I would still receive A's. Fast forward- from my very first exam I quickly noticed Nursing school would require much more, therefore I studied and read a lot.

    My dilemma right now is, I have about 4 more weeks to complete this semester and Med Surg will begin in May. I Just failed one of my exams by 2 points, therefore I only have 2 more exams to increase my grade and those exams will be on Fluids and Electrolytes (which I'm told is very difficult). I am not sure what is wrong with me or if it's just extreme test anxiety. I know the information, but for some strange reason that I cannot comprehend I'm getting C's or failing. I find that while sitting the exam, I sometimes choose the right answer and then erase it. Also, as soon as the time is up, all the wrong answers I chose comes rushing to my brain. Finally, when I review the exam, it's as though I did not read the exam, because there is no way I would choose some of the answers I did. Ps- This is only happening on my lecture exams

    If anyone has any tips on how they prepare for an exam/ tips on how to deal with test anxiety, please share.

    Thank you.
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   hermioneRN
    Nursing school required a shift in how I thought about how to answer a question. In classes I took prior that were unrelated to nursing, I could argue my way to a correct answer through open ended test questions. Perhaps you are dealing with the same issues? For me, it was all about doing practice questions. Studying in groups also helped.
  4. by   TTulip10
    Thank you for replying. I don't think that's the issue, mainly because of the time allotted to take the exam. I'm only able to read the question a couple of times and then I choose an answer, I don't really get the time to question and rationalize each answer(which would be helpful). I also find myself re-reading the questions and becoming flustered. This is so frustrating because I'm actually reading and I know the material, but once again it does not translate on the exam. I am now trying to practice more questions though.
  5. by   Cat365
    Take calm breaths and try not to worry. DON'T change the answers! Go with your first instinct. Personally I thought the NCLEX was easier than several of my classes tests.
  6. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    The only time I get "test anxiety" is when I'm not prepared for the test I'm taking. Are you studying for the test you're taking, or the test you think you're going to take?

    Also, never change your answers. I've usually found my initial instinct is correct.

    Good luck.
  7. by   Nuked
    Nursing questions and nursing exams require a distinct approach that it is in some ways unique to nursing. It's not as straightforward as a lot of other multiple choice type exams. Unfortunately I didn't fully comprehend this until I was studying for my NCLEX. My grades would have been much better if I had.

    Ask your teachers what resources are available to help you with this. Often they have "retention specialists" or other people there to help tutor you. Inform them that you need help with your approach to the questions, not the material itself. They should be able to guide you. There are resources online for how to approach NCLEX style questions as well.

    Good luck.
  8. by   TTulip10
    Thank you, I sat down with my professor today and she recommended some other materials, along with ear plugs and relaxation techniques..lol.
  9. by   TTulip10
    Quote from ItsThatJenGirl
    The only time I get "test anxiety" is when I'm not prepared for the test I'm taking. Are you studying for the test you're taking, or the test you think you're going to take?

    Also, never change your answers. I've usually found my initial instinct is correct.

    Good luck.
    Initially that was the case. I studied for a far more complicated test (paying attention to intricate details), only to see that the questions were the basic fundamentals. I definitely know the material, just need more practice on how to apply it and stay calm. Thank you.
  10. by   Simplistic
    Do practice questions! They help you apply the information you already know into real world scenarios.
  11. by   BScN1994
    I would suggest studying to understand the information. Understand why each symptom occurs and how the pathophys correlates to a response in the body this makes application a lot easier. I also suggest getting an NCLEX book for practice questions. Research shows the best way to learn is to recall and apply knowledge.
  12. by   Dizzyblue415
    You are over thinking it. Nursing school is not black and white. There often is no totally wrong answer but varied correct answers. Your job is to select the "best" answer.
  13. by   GENJEN
    I would tell my students to read the question completely before answering. Try and answer the question before looking at the answers given. My saying to them was, "know what it is so you will know what it ain't". I also had a few students that I made them take their eraser off their pencils. Breathe! Make flash cards. Take your time unless of course it is timed, leave more difficult questions for last. You can do this but I know some days you feel you can't. There are so many free reference information "easy to learn" electrolytes/fluid balance help that you may benefit from. Good luck!
  14. by   FanRN
    Quote from GENJEN
    I would tell my students to read the question completely before answering. Try and answer the question before looking at the answers given. My saying to them was, "know what it is so you will know what it ain't". I also had a few students that I made them take their eraser off their pencils. Breathe! Make flash cards. Take your time unless of course it is timed, leave more difficult questions for last. You can do this but I know some days you feel you can't. There are so many free reference information "easy to learn" electrolytes/fluid balance help that you may benefit from. Good luck!
    This worked for me. I covered the answers with my hand or scratch paper if allowed and only looked at them after I read the question and had an idea of the possible answers in my head. And like others suggested, don't erase or overthink, even when you feel a strong urge. Your brain pulled the initial response from the "database" it retained earlier in the lecture or sometime during reading, trust it! As you progress through the courses, you will get better at answering those type of questions.
    I also recommend UWorld; it has excellent rationales (especially the ones that explain why you got it wrong). UWorld questions are the reason I got through the NCLEX with zero anxiety and in record time.
    Good luck!

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