For me, the only thing that ever got easier was figuring that the tests were based on both knowledge of the subject as well as critical thinking. Once I figured that out, I at least knew what to expect, although it was not really easy. I did well but I stressed through the whole program...I was always either studying, practicing skills, prepping, writing papers, etc. I was in a constant state of stress for years...it took a while to feel "normal" again once I graduated. The subject matters never got "easier" but never got harder, either. Some just "clicked" faster than others for me, though.
Every class in itself had it's challenges. A&P requires a lot of memorization, microbiology lab ability, clinicals depend on the instructor and patient load, theory can be challenging as it tends to be more existential (at least for me), management depends on your personality. I went to class five days a week, worked weekends as a waitress and played an online MMO through most of my schooling. Depends on your life demands, study style, stress levels, and commitment I guess.
Which semester is going to be the hardest depends a lot on your individual program. In my program 3rd and 4th semester are really hard, and 1st and 2nd are a bit easier. For my friend at his school, 1st and 2nd are considered the hardest and 3rd and 4th are easier. It just depends how your program is set up.
Granted I'm only in 1st semester, but so far nothing has been "hard" persay, but it's a lot of information thrown at you at once. I think A&P and chem were harder for me than any of my classes this semester, but in nursing school you're introduced to a different way of thinking and I think it's just hard getting used to nursing school, because it's much different than your pre-reqs. I study at least a little bit each night, and I go to school 4 days a week.
The middle was the hardest for me.... beginning is simple nursing and getting introduced. middle is man it's getting harder and im not quite thinking like a nurse should and now i really have to learn critical thinking and content.. the end is a little easier yes we deal with harder concepts but have almost mastered thinking like a nurse so it doesnt seem impossible like it did in the middle.
I spent about 3-4 hours a day studying. However the 10 days to a week leading up to a test I would increase my time by a lot. The day before it wasnt really unusual to spend about 8 hours if I had the free time just sitting in the library all day finding different ways to study.. group study.. individual study/notes, book, videos on the internet, re writing notes.. nclex trial questions.
I might have done overkill with it but i wanted a fail proof plan so I wouldnt have to worry about whether or not I could succeed or not.
It's worth the hard work and its my greatest accomplishment to me in my life so far. Just try to look at it that way
Thank you guys. It seems that it is different for everyone. So with that being said, it seems like it really depends on the program and individual because some people are stronger in stuff that others are not in the nursing program.
That's the key to surviving nursing school. If you go in a class/clinical expecting it to be difficult then you're setting yourself up for failure. Approach every test, every assignment and every patient with a positive attitude and you will succeed.
So far, no one semester is harder than another. But, I struggle mentally and physically about half way through. I get burnt out on all the knowledge thrown at me, feel like I can't handle it, and freak a little. Then, I buckle down and get right back to it.