I need to do better on my nursing exams, PLEASE HELP!

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    I am in my first semester of nursing school and study quite a bit. I have given up a social life and spend most of my time in my books, on my computer taking practice tests, and in study groups. I have taken two exams already and have not passed them. You must make an 80 or above to pass, if not you fail the exam. The only grades we get are our exams, and there are 8 total.
    Our exams are on the computer and are 50 questions. We given an hour and 15 minutes and I never have time to look back over my exam. The timing is not agreeing with me.
    I have a Bachelor's degree and have always made god grades. So I am baffled. I knew nursing school would not be easy but I am bending over backwards only to see discouraging results. I am schocked, freaking out and need advice and help! Any advice will be appreciated.
    Thanks so much.

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  2. 31 Comments...

  3. 0
    I understand you completely. I just took my first exam (1st semester), which is the easiest test of the semester...possibly, the easiest of the entire program, and I got an 80 (minimum required to pass). Our test was also 50 questions, and I felt pretty good about it when I left class. Didn't think I aced it, but at least a solid B. Then I come home, log on to see the grades, and I got an 80. I was really upset. I read all the chapters, went over the powerpoints, extra notes, and even did some practice questions from Saunders' NCLEX book. What the heck?!
  4. 7
    It's not enough that these schools cram tons of information into our heads, but then they test us not on facts but how all of these pieces relate to each other.

    In the end, as a nurse you should know what to expect from medical diagnosis, possible complications, medications and their side effects and what you would do about all of it as well as any pertinent teachings. After all, that's what nurses do.

    I see a lot of new students getting hung up on the small details and cramming every bit of knowledge from the readings. Think of the big picture.

    When in doubt, safety questions get safety answers. Eliminate the two answers that are obviously wrong. Select the answer that directly addresses the stem of the question.
    determined25, mommajoz, NurseJohns, and 4 others like this.
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    wish I had something better to write or helpful but I am in the same boat. Above post I actually checked your profile because I thought maybe you went o my school. I had the same thing..I'm also in my 1st semester and we also just had our first test and needed an 80 to pass. I left thinking i did pretty well and then I checked my grades later that afternoon and I barely passed If anyone gets any good advice I would love to hear it because I've never had this trouble before and its so frustrating!
    CrnaDae and skimpstah like this.
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    iluvpatho: your post is almost identical to mine. I hate to chuckle, but I couldn't resist. What are we doing wrong? I didn't expect a 93 (A in my school), but a freaking 80?!?!?! one more point and I would have failed. If anything, I'm appreciative of this forum, where I can vent with others, and hopefully gain some insight on how to do better from seasoned students. Here's hoping that we do better on our next exam.
    OB-nurse2013 and CrnaDae like this.
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    Im in an Accelerated Program in Miami...Theres a waiting list in every school. This is my ONLY chance of getting Nursing degree and I too with a Bachelors in Business managed to get As and Bs...I failed each exam and I need a 78 to pass... 10 chapter exam each class. I am on here looking for a tutor because I think either Im over cramming and thinking to damn much or my process of eliminating answers isnt working and my rationale isnt so rational... I failed both Fundamentals of Nursing 1 Assessment and 1 Pharm exam... I didnt get 78 or better I failed. So I have 2 exams left in each class and have NO clue what I am answering to even begin to gain concept of why my answers are incorrect... :/ I did the whole looking at what the question is asking and elimiating those and still...I passed half and failed half... ;/ not to mention we ONLY get 1 min per question. Uggg... I dont know where to look for help. The Cds, Lec notes, flash cards and reading isnt helping... Now im at home on Fri night trying to figure this all out... I fail one class Im on automatic probation AND I get kicked out the next time!!!
  8. 0
    sorry to hear about your experiences. i am in my 2nd year 2nd semester of nursing school and it has not been easy at all. i dont know if i can be of any help, just let me know.
  9. 9
    Test Success: Test-Taking Techniques for Beginning Nursing Students [Paperback]
    Dr Patricia Nugent (Author), Barbara Vitale (Author)

    I recommend buying at amazon.com

    This was highly recommended to me prior to beginning Nur101 by both staff and students. I found it to be incredibly helpful! The questions on nursing exams are very different from the questions that we have been so used to taking. This book really helps you to start 'thinking like a nurse' and how to break-down the question being asked in order to choose the most appropriate answer. Most times there are more than one right answer. The key is to really understand what the question is asking and then to choose the most appropriate right answer. It's very tricky! Good luck with everything, don't give up!
    slimlvn, survrgrl08, BizeeBee, and 6 others like this.
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    Immediately make an appointment to see your instructors and/or your advisor. You have no time to waste.
    determined25, futurernjap, letarn2b, and 2 others like this.
  11. 4
    Quote from mike r
    it's not enough that these schools cram tons of information into our heads, but then they test us not on facts but how all of these pieces relate to each other.

    in the end, as a nurse you should know what to expect from medical diagnosis, possible complications, medications and their side effects and what you would do about all of it as well as any pertinent teachings. after all, that's what nurses do.

    ^^ this. in. the. end!! stop trying to teach it that way in the beginning! it's grossly unfair to students to expect them to apply a concept until they thoroughly understand it. instructors don't take an accounting i student and make them try to pass the cpa exam questions, do they?

    learn first, then apply. to teach it any other way is just setting the students up to fail. it's not good teaching. it's stupid women-think, again. can't organize, can't streamline it, can't remember to say what the key points are, out of all that blathering. if this stuff is indeed a system, then it has a stupid-simple work process and decision tree for the beginner, and then after they learn that rudimentary thing, then you start fleshing it in and teaching about more than one way to do this or that, or more than one thing to consider. please make some sense of your "system" before you stand up to teach it, you stupid women instructors! students don't learn by osmosis. if this is a beginner class, be sure to emphasis exactly what you want them to learn from each lecture. i feel like this is all just one big game of keep-away: "there is a message someplace in all of this 4 hours of talking i am going to do, but you'll have to figure out for yourself what is is, haha!"

    there, i am off my soap box. if i manage to learn anything textbook in nursing i, it will be because i taught it to myself, not because the curriculum and the teaching tools are well designed.

    original post: get the study guide that goes with your textbook. most of these instructors will pull questions almost straight from that if the school didn't suggest or require your to buy the study guide, i'd almost bet that their test questions are running very close to those in the study guide.
    Last edit by Streamline2010 on Feb 5, '11

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