Hi.........I have finished with NC 1-7 and am waiting for my CPNE date. Yeeeehhhhhaaaawwwww (and scaaaaaaaaary, too). At any rate, the guides are just that GUIDES. They are a great reference to get down the pertinent information you need. For the first 3-4 Nursing Concepts, MOST of the information essentially comes right out of the Fundamentals book, so I would really use that one the most. I found a LOT of information on the test came from the areas that were shaded/blocks.
It can be very overwhelming when you see all of the reading you need to do. Again, go by the Guide, highlight the information, study those areas, and also tick them off as you go down the listing. Making notes also helps out as well.
I did use some of the Chancellor guides from time to time, but did find errors and inconsistencies in some, so the Guide is your MORE reliable way. There are NO short-cuts in this program either, so don't expect nor look for that.
Another valuable resource for me, IMHO, were the on-line practice exams for each Concept. If nothing else, they helped me in my weak areas (with the rationales) and review those areas. As a result, I was essentially pulling all "A's" in my NCs (I am a VERY in-depth learner and did NOT rush through the NCs...to do so does the program injustice and yourself, IMHO)..........that is where this program gets the reputation of us being "text-book nurses".......
Also, another HUGE helpful thing was having a study buddy or better yet, a study group. We, here in UT, formed a study group (and Excelsior student nurses association), and it has been extremely beneficial. We all bring to the table a variety of experiences (most of us are EMS types/ED), and we are sticking together as well for the CPNE preparations and going through the study guide together, practicing, going to a CPNE prep course together, et al.
It has been a GREAT and HUGE support to say the least..............
At any rate, develop good study habits, discipline yourself to stay on track, use the Study Guide from EC, find/get a study buddy or form a study group, take it easy (don't rush), and have fun with it. I don't miss the stress of taking the tests (I am a HORRIBLE test taker even though I know the materials) but I do miss studying/reviewing for the tests. Wealth of information & interesting.
To get in the mode for the CPNE, really review the Fundamentals book through and through as you go along to know the "school way" of things.....also, I would advise to get the book, PHOTOGUIDE OF NURSING SKILLS by Sandra Smith (it is recommended in the CPNE Study Guide)...it is also VERY valuable. Not knowing your level of experience, one of the factors, as has been told, in failing the CPNE is bad habits developed from "experience", not adequately preparing and nerves causing one to fail the critical elements.
My downfall at this point is the Care Plan and formulating the nursing diagnoses since we do not do those in pre-hospital/ED/clinic settings..........so believe me, I am studying, studying studying and practice, practice, practice.
Ooops! This got to be considerably more lengthy than I intended.
Good luck! And hope to hear about your successes as you go through the program. :-)