265 Tips and Hints:
This is LONG, but I guarantee it's helpful! I will re-post this also at the end of the thread for people who may not see this information.
I finished the Fall 265 semester successfully!! I did not take 265/263 together. I had an unfortunate mishap the Spring Semester and had my first CLINICAL FAILURE ever in 265. Totally my fault, by not being prepared and then another circumstance out of my control. Because of this I was EXTREMELY on point by the time I was back in the class Fall 2011. Here is what I learned...
1) You WILL be nervous (especially for 265), do not let your fear paralyze you, let it motivate you.
2) There ARE people who take it together, worked (they may have had to adjust their schedule a bit), and passed BOTH classes with decent grades. This does not happen often but I have a friend who did it this past semester, and one of her 265 test grades was an A!!
3) @lelafin- Skills lab and clinical tips: The professor you have for clinical is amazingly helpful, amazingly THOROUGH, and expects you to be prepared. Some things I learned:
**HAVE YOUR skills checklist with you ALWAYS, especially at skills lab! Have it the very first week. SHE WILL ASK YOU FOR it at the beginning of class. Some of my friends had professors that forgot or asked on other days. My suggestion, ALWAYS HAVE IT. (This is one of the ways I got a stupid ED). Have it for 263 too, those professors MAY seem nicer and smile more, but they expect preparedness as well.
**Read for skills lab, you WILL be asked questions, and your particular professor will keep an eye out on your preparedness and knowledge. Stand out for GOOD reasons, not bad ones.
** Go on D2L, Print out all your skills-lab quizzes, worksheets, assignments ahead of time. Keep them in your skills packet notebook. That way if there is a printer, ink, or an I forgot we had a quiz mishap... you have them with you. Teachers will NOT accept you writing the questions and/or answers down on notebook paper. You would be surprised how many people do their quizzes super late, or don't look online and print them out, or have a printer problem at the last minute, get to skills lab and try to write the answers down quickly. SORRY you get an ED. (Never thought it would happen to me, Ms. Super organized, but it did).
** For Skills Lab/Clinicals Don't Forget!! Skills CHECKLIST (I know, I said already but I want you to know how important it is), Lab Skills Notebook, DO ALL QUIZZES and HW , Check D2L before you go, Bring Textbook, remember ID badge (especially if you are doing hospital assessment right after), stethoscope, items you need for the skills lab, watch, scissors, hemostat, measuring tape
** This is not 101 people, you should know that you wear a midlands tech approved outfit, no undies showing at clinical. Wear that badge, have your supplies. Don't be late! Little tip, take measuring tape, bandage marker, hemostats, scissors. Have it just in case, you may be in a situation where you can impress the professor because you had scissors and hemostats, when others didn't think it was necessary to bring. Have a marker to label date on saline container or IV bag... most people don't bring it, so you will look very prepared!
** Remember safety, and please avoid stupid ED's. You want to save up your ED's for when you really make a nervous mistake (i.e., not looking up a med, bad time management with patient... although sometimes it IS out of your control, incorrectly identifying a med, bad technique with injections, or recapping a needle... IT happens). So please don't get ED's for missing homework, checklist, supplies needed at clinical, unprofessionalism, missing supplies for skills lab, BEING LATE, leaving a blank space in your data tool or clinical worksheet.
**KNOW YOUR INSULINS, Onset/Peak/Duration, When to give, Why given, HOW to give, Where to administer.
** Be thorough on your Data Tool, but don't give a dictionary definition for a basic diagnosis. Also, if there are terms within the diagnosis, other secondary medical issues in the patient's history, or things that aren't normal that you find in the chart.... look it up before preconference. The person may have LUNG cancer, but also other secondary issues might be pleural effusion. Don't just write down pleural effusion, know what it means, know where it is in your patient, when it occurred, and what is being done for the patient now to treat it (i.e. a chest tube is placed, how patient is positioned, daily weights etc). YOUR PARTICULAR PROFESSOR WILL ASK YOU ABOUT THIS, she is very thorough, and if you do not know what you are talking about in pre-conference you will not be allowed on the floor. Give her extra IMPORTANT information before she asks you. Now, some things are not SO important. If the person is getting a soft diet, you don't have to define what a SOFT diet is and the type of food examples under it.
**Have all your textbooks, and buy a Saunders NCLEX review book. Get the most recent edition.
** Get out of your head that you will be able to read EVERYTHING BEFORE the assigned lecture. It almost never happens, and sometimes you don't know what is important to focus on until after the lecture.
** What is VERY helpful BEFORE LECTURE, review your notes along with the podcast. This is veeeeeeery helpful in reinforcing the information learned. Also listen to podcasts maybe 2 more times on that particular subject, before the exam.
** Be organized, prepared, check d2L for updates on the calendar!
** How I studied: I would read notes and listen to podcast (most of the time) before lecture, Soon after lecture I would read the sections assigned and high-light what I deemed important and what instructor focused on, I would write my own additional IMPORTANT notes from my reading (then usually I wouldn't have to look in my book anymore), Look at important charts (If you don't know what chart is important ask the professor in HER OFFICE HOURS, do not waste time asking this question in class). Keep re-reading your notes and doing NCLEX questions throughout the weeks. Please try to make time for this. At least 3 times a week. A couple hours PER subject matter. It will help reinforce the information!! Then 5-7 days before a test. I would do NCLEX practice questions, and divide up my lecture notes, written notes, charts etc, and study them systematically throughout the last week before test.
**Do not try to STUDY/COMMIT to memory 2-3 days before. It won't work, unless you are seriously ready to hustle and be stressed!
** OKAY, the NCLEX questions you practice will be MUCH easier than the test questions in 265. But the benefit to taking them is that it reinforces what you are reading. It also gives you a break from reading... sometimes it's nice/fun to take the little quizzes on the CD. Also it helps you practice for the NCLEX!!
** DO THE Worksheets or Handouts they pass out in class. Some professors will call on you COLD and want you to know the answer.
** DON't forget to study for MANAGEMENT. Management will be one of you first lectures in the semester, but you will not get tested on it until the FINAL! Yes, the FINAL! Now I have to admit: I DID NOT get to read all CHAPTERS in management, I did not have time! I read the 3 REQUIRED articles, and THOROUGHLY read/memorized/understood my notes and definitions, as well as listen to Ms. Richardson's Management podcast (they are very helpful and very entertaining!), listen to the podcast again when you are studying for finals, and TAKE Management NCLEX practice questions.
** Some people say the final was torture, but if you read your notes from day 1, listened to podcast, started early, time managed well, tried to read as much from the book (but again do not sacrifice reading and understanding your notes and handouts), NCLEX practice questions, and rest... you should do well.
** VERY HELPFUL TIP: After you get tests back, don't argue. If you really think an answer is debatable nicely ask or email the course coordinator. ALSO, stay and review your test (EVEN IF YOU DID PRETTY WELL). Read, understand, and find out what you got wrong. Also, when you leave or walk outside. Try to remember those questions/scenarios, and write them down for yourself on a piece of paper so you will never forget. By the end of the semester you will have a paper with scenarios or questions that were tough for you to remember on tests but now you know how to answer correctly. Then you will be prepared if you see them, or a similar question, on the final again :-). This REALLY helped me.
**To me the final was straightforward. Don't let people create a fear in you about the final before you get there.
** Don't study with a group if you aren't learning anything, you are just going to gossip, or get on facebook. I never studied with a group. I studied alone and either did handouts, study guides, or NCLEX questions with a friend once a week. We would also test each other and try to see if we can explain certain pathos or diseases without having to look at notes too much.
** Make a friend/find a friend you can rely on that will encourage you through the course. BLOCK OUTSIDE VOICES of discouragement. People told me the first test was the hardest, and I ended up understanding fluid and electrolytes VERY well. I personally thought the second test would be murder because GI has SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much information (but it is very enjoyable to read), and that was my HIGHEST grade. I thought the third exam was my HIGHEST after taking it because I loved the info I read, I studied WAYYY ahead of time, and I got amazing sleep.... yet it was my lowest test LOL (although I still passed it). And the fourth test, I was told OMG EVERYONE GETS an A on the test, It is soooo easy. I took it and almost cried, It was the most difficult test ever (but yet it was my second highest exam grade). I was told that you have to read EVERYTHING for management, that it's soooo much info on the test and that's why people don't pass the final (Yet I read all required articles , read/studied/understood all terms and notes, and listened to the podcast thoroughly).
I passed every exam. Never made an A on tests, but was always CONSISTENT (i.e. 86, 84, 83 etc). I passed the class and I am not looking back!!
(P.S.- My suggestion, if you are not passing or 3 points away from passing at midterm... then DROP. IT is not WORTH the fail.)
(Send a message if you have more questions on particular subjects (i.e. what did you study, what do you think I should know for this subject? etc). Good luck!