Agggh, practical exams. How to do better?

Nursing Students Pre-Nursing


Specializes in RN.

Has anyone else done really well with anatomy lecture/written exams, but really blown the practicals? Last semester, I was able to recover enough to ultimately get an "A", but finals were a real nail-biter.

It often seems like I know the material -- all the muscles, bones, etc, on the list. Yet identifying them on various structures is a whole different exercise that I feel takes a TON of practice, especially when you might be looking at it on many different places (a clay model, a dissected rat, an old faded school model vs a fancy new pretty color one). Our school has a "study hall" I try to use when I can, but it's often too crowded and/or everyone's fighting over a couple models that each are broken, missing parts, etc. Often I feel I learn more from watching YouTube videos honestly.

Sometimes I think anxiety is the #1 issue -- the format of a timer that buzzes, going station to station, etc, everyone freaking out about needing to make an A, etc. I am sure this is only going to be worse once I'm in an actual clinical program, though.

In theory, this is all fun! I love anatomy and answering questions, but... I choke. Would love ideas on how to make this less of a nemesis in my study path. :nailbiting:

I also had similar problems in labs and mine seemed to be exactly like you described. To improve, I either took pictures of the exact class models or I found images of the exact class models on Quizlet or under Bing images; I also used YouTube to help me identify structures. I labeled the pictures with the items I needed to know either in Microsoft Word, Quizlet, or by printing the images out. I relabeled the pictures as many times as possible. I even paid about $12 for an A&P app. My classmates who successfully completed lab studied together in the resource room, assured that they could identify the structures on any model, and also used Quizlet. I also realized that I had greater difficulty in the class because my lab instructor didn't go over any of the lab models which we were tested on, but instead refereed to the text images which we weren't tested on. The next semester, my lab grade improved, mostly because the teaching style better matched my learning style.

I have the opposite problem. I don't have a lecture (it' a hybrid course where the lecture is online) and we are doing an 8-wk version. I struggle on lecture exams but usually score a 100 on the practicals. For my teacher, we know exactly what we could be tested on. If you know it, you know it. I take photos of any models we use in our in-person lab (from multiple view points), and dissections we do, any slides we look at, and the slides of my classmates so I have a variety. I use the images in my lab book, text book, and sometimes online; if I feel like I'm not entirely sure. I spend a lot of time outside of lab tracing things I'm learning through my body while driving, at work, the gym, etc. I also ONLY focus on what we could be tested on. If something doesn't translate into something straight forward i.e. Cervical _____, Axillary _____, Popliteal _____, I will relate it to something that pops into in my head that works for me. Usually they are pretty corny so I keep them to myself...

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