Quote from nekozuki
That sucks! When you put in A effort and your transcripts don't reflect that, it's an awful feeling. That being said...
You are absolutely, irrevocably 100% responsible for your own education. If the instructor never showed up for a single day of class, it is up to you to utilize all resources to learn the material as thoroughly as possible. The textbook is one way. The internet is another. Tutors are another. Study groups rock. Most schools offer learning/answer centers with tutors who are specialized for the course. Locating former classmates who are familiar with testing format and have great advice are another. It seems you take advantage of many of these already, but when you're a few points shy of an A, take a long, hard look at yourself and ask if you truly used every last one. There is always something you could have focused more on, or an avenue you didn't explore.
Sometimes, you can learn the material precisely how the book states it, but in practical application, you aren't as sure how to exercise concepts as you think. With chemistry, this can be especially true, and oftentimes, inevitable.
I know it might be frustrating, but consider this prep for the futility of "select all" and situational applications of knowledge in nursing. Unless you've taken nclex-style tests before, I can't express how ridiculous, confusing and soul-crushing it can be to do EVERYTHING you're supposed to do and more, and still barely muster a B.
Your instructor may very well be worthy of blame. However, this line of thinking will not help you when it comes to nursing. You *HAVE* to learn new ways of learning and reinforcing information. Tests aren't designed for people to get an A...they exist for you to fight tooth and nail for a B. Your standards are high, and that is AWESOME. Don't lose that. But also understand that you will be a more successful nursing student if you adapt to the rigors of a curriculum that is completely different from "memorize/regurgitate verbatim."
Good luck to you, OP. Drive and determination are things you can't "teach" someone. You've either got it or you don't, and it appears as though you have it in spades!
I fully admit I'm a bit prickly at the moment due to the stress of coming off of a tough semester, but I'd like to address/clear up a few things.
I couldn't help but feel some of your post came across as being directed to a younger student that is likely accustomed to standardized testing.
I'm 32 years old. I'm a single Mom of two young kids. "Back in my day" there wasn't a push for all this standardized testing, "leave no child" behind BS that goes on now. So, really, I don't know anything about this whole "memorize/regurgitate verbatim" of which you speak, because I'm an older student and my testing has always been done by application, so I feel that already gives me a leg up.
I was able to figure out some of the "trick" questions on the test just by using the foundation of principles.
And I actually did utilize everything you said. I had a great lab group and study group, I sought out other students, but that doesn't help because it's complete dart throwing of what ends up on his tests. I never looked at his study guides because I knew there would ALWAYS be stuff that came up on tests that was never listed, so I busted my butt studying EVERYTHING.
I'd have no problem accepting a grade I was responsible for.
But I'm PAYING for an education. I expect to receive one. That is where my biggest problem lies. I do not agree that it is solely on me to teach myself all the material. What in the world do we have teachers and professors for then? Why am I paying for an education if I can just go teach myself? I cannot agree with that part of your post at all. I do not expect to be taught answers, but I DO expect to be taught the tools to be able to figure out the answers.