Any suggestions

Posted
by Marilyn Marilyn (New) New

Hello,

I recently started my first semester in Fundamentals and it has been challenging. Prior to core all my grades were excellent A's & B's. Now it seems so challenging to get a good grade, that along even a C. I'm studying so much until when I get my exam it's like okay where did this come from. Can someone shed some light on any suggestions or books I could use to help me.

Thanks,

bitter_betsy

bitter_betsy, BSN

Specializes in Emergency / Disaster. Has 3 years experience. 456 Posts

Welcome to nursing school where former A students struggle to be C students. Thats normal. Its a huge head game and it takes a couple semesters to get over that. It is a new kind of studying and new kind of test taking.

The most important thing to realize is that you can no longer get a list of definitions, memorize them and pass tests. You have to actually understand the material, be able to juggle it and then regurgitate it while applying it. Memorizing does absolutely nothing for you. The ONLY time memorizing is good - pharmacology. Start on that now. Its never too early. That stuff is no joke.

As far as fundamentals - you don't need anything except your textbook and the ability to look at the material in a different way. If you have to - use youtube videos to understand the topic. Be able to write down how the system works or be able to explain it to yourself or your pets. Once you are able to start doing this, you will not only have a better time in fundamentals, but you will do better overall in the program.

Part of the problem is that the grading scale changes too - at least ours does. Formerly a 90 was an A but now I have to get a 95, and an 85 is a B and and 84 is a C - it doesn't take much to become a C student.

Just do your best. Read the textbooks. Understand the concepts (not memorize). Don't stop moving. You will get there!! Oh - find an app and do at least 50 NCLEX style questions per day starting now. It will get you in the habit of being familiar with them.

NCLEX_LVN, CNA, LVN

Has 6 years experience. 1,691 Posts

Hi! We have all been there. Have you spoken to your professor yet? They are the ones who create the quizzes and exams. Let us know how everything turns out

Hello, nursing school is a new kind of realm. It's hard. I was a straight A student, but once it came to nursing school I was not. It took a toll on me mentally because I was so used to being that straight A student. You have to LEARN the material and use critical thinking. You can't just memorize everything and expect to pass. But, don't lose hope! You got this, if you need extra help ask your professor. Don't be afraid to go to their office hours for help. Some people like study groups and if you need a tutor, seek one. There are also tons of videos on youtube that can help (cathy perks is great).

I graduated from nursing school in May 2019, it took me 5 years but I did it!

Marilyn

Marilyn

13 Posts

Thank you all for your replies! I will definitely will keep you all posted. ?

Marilyn

Marilyn

13 Posts

Thank you all for your advice. I Passed my Fundamentals! ?? now I’m headed to semester 2: Med Surge, Mental Health and Pharm 1. I’ll keep you all posted. ??

NCLEX_LVN, CNA, LVN

Has 6 years experience. 1,691 Posts

Congratulations Marilyn!!!

Marilyn

Marilyn

13 Posts

Okay, this med surge and pharm! ??Any study tips???

NCLEX_LVN, CNA, LVN

Has 6 years experience. 1,691 Posts

What are you struggling most with medsurg and pharmacology?

What study method are you using?

What is your job work load schedule?

What were your A&P scores on your entrance teas exams?

Have you grasped the critical thinking concepts like adpie, safety and maslow from fundamentals class?

This assessment will let us know where you are right now

Edited by E-commerce

HandsOffMySteth

HandsOffMySteth

Has 4 years experience. 471 Posts

7 hours ago, Marilyn said:

Okay, this med surge and pharm! ??Any study tips???

Marilyn

Marilyn

13 Posts

Thanks so much! I will watch and keep you posted!

For pharm, my best advice is to learn the prefixes and suffixes. Of course, that only gets you so far. But, when I was having a hard time with pharm, that is what my instructor suggested. Once I learned them, I at least had those to be able to tell me that class of drug and then I could go from there.

What exactly do you need help with in pharm and med-surg? Just studying or is there something specific?

Studying in Nursing -

I, like you, went from being an A student to a C student. I think most do, a lot of it because (as others said) you have to change your thinking when taking exams. Its not like before where you memorize things and then spit it back out on the exam. You have to be able to APPLY what you learned. So, you are taught what happens when a certain disease occurs (patho), signs and symptoms, treatments, nursing interventions, etc. Of course, you could try to study and memorize every sign and symptom, every treatment, each patho process, etc. for things. I noticed that the students that passed and kept going in my program, were the ones that actually learned to APPLY the information we learned in class. The ones who were just trying to memorize things like interventions and signs and symptoms, never ended up making it very far. Instead, you need to learn WHY the patient experiences signs and symptoms, WHY you do those nursing interventions, etc. So, basically, you have to understand WHY you do things, WHY patient's experience what they do with each condition, etc. You need to know the WHYs behind everything! Technically, you need to be able to think CRITICALLY.

MY MAIN TIP IS TO LEARN A GOOD WAY TO STUDY -

This is the advice I have given to others asking about how to study:

My first advice would be to you is to find out your learning style. Are you a visual, verbal, social, etc. If you are a visual learner concept maps, pictures, images, etc. would help. If you are a verbal learner, listening to recordings of lectures would help, reading content aloud, using mnemonics would help. Kinesthetic/tactile learner (like me) needs to write things down. If you are a social learner, you can use study groups, role playing, or even teach someone something you’re studying. One a side note, study groups can be helpful. Personally, I don't like study groups. They tend to get off track, there is no structure, people seem to socialize during them than study, each person usually learns differently, people can tend to get lost (quieter ones end up just sitting there and not speaking up, more outspoken ones can take over). It just seems like there never seems to be much done during the time. Of course, if you find the right people that you fit with and are able to stay on track and it is a helpful way for you to learn, they can be very beneficial. So, if using a study group, first, keep the group SMALL – I’d say 3 total is more than enough, but if you know the people well and you are all committed to staying on topic then maybe 4 would work. If you have too many people in the group, you can get off track much easier and it becomes more of a social event than a study group (IMO). Make sure to choose the group carefully, make sure you all have the same goal in mind and are all committed to staying on topic. It helps to set a definitive start and end time. It helps to make sure that you get started right away and you don’t veer off into socializing. If you know you only have a set amount of time, you tend to really make the most of that time. Make sure to set up ground rules to follow before starting the study group – like no coming late, phones off, don’t have individual conversations, don’t gossip. Make sure right from the start to Google learning style and take a quiz to find out what type you are. This link also provides some info:

http://allnurses.com/general-nursing...ng-840132.html

These are also helpful:

https://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/

https://teach.com/what/teachers-know/learning-styles/

http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-quiz.shtml

https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/learning-styles-preferences/

HOW I STUDIED

First, how I took notes:

BEFORE class, read each chapter you will be going over. Don't worry about taking notes. Just read each chapter through so you have an idea of what the instructor will be talking about during lecture. (it's hard to take notes if you don't know the info - if you don't know the info, then you'll think everything is important and be writing waaaay too much. If you have at least a little idea of the info, you can at least get kind of an idea of what is important and where to start). I know a lot of people say that you can't read every single chapter for every single class, but I didn't think it took that much time to just read through each chapter. It was when I tried to read through every single chapter and make notes on every single chapter that was time consuming. Just reading through was quick and easy.

DURING class... TAKE NOTES!! Take lots of notes. Don't be afraid to ask questions - ask as many as you need, talk to the instructor after class if you need to. Don't worry about the notes looking good (we'll worry about that later) - Just scribble down everything you need to. (my notes were a mess after class - I would write them fast and think of things after the fact and make notes on the sides and squish something between other things)

AFTER Class: If possible, right after class (or as soon as you can but try not to wait)...type up your notes from class make them well-organized. Fill in anything you left blank, use your book to supplement things, add to things that you didn't understand, find examples in your book that help you understand, etc. Make this as neat as possible. This is what you will use as your study guide. Read through it, write it out over and over again, whatever helps you retain the information best. (Personally, I need to write things out in order for them to stick in my head, so I would type up the notes nice and neat, then I would write em out over and over again until I felt I had a good handle on them).

Now...when I took notes...I tended to end up with PAGES! So, after I had spent time studying them and studying them and studying them and learned everything I could from it, there became a point where studying them all was just wasting time because I learned all I could from those notes, so I would go on to my final step. Of course, there was always some things from those PAGES of notes that I had a hard time with still. So, I would take a piece of paper, then I would take the key concepts from those PAGES of notes and I would write just a few words or something to remind me about each one. You are only putting in what you DO NOT KNOW. This ends up breaking our notes down from everything to only what you still need to review before the exam. THE KEY HERE IS TO NOT GO OVER 1 PAGE. If you have, then you have put too much information - either you haven't learned everything you can from the PAGES of notes, or you just didn't condense the info enough. So, if you need to, go back and review those PAGES. If not, just focus on condensing what you have down more.

Doing this helped me actually RETAIN the information. I didn't just cram it into my head for the exam and then forget about it to learn the stuff for the next exam - because then, I would have to review EVERYTHING when it came time for the final exam. Instead, I used this method so I could actually LEARN AND RETAIN everything. So, when it came time for the final exam, I just needed to key concepts and the stuff we just learned.

Hopefully this helps you some. Again, my best advice for you is if you don't know your learning style, find out. You can take quizzes online and find out your type of learning style. Knowing your learning style will really help. It will help you focus in on the best way to study for YOU. Like I said earlier, for me, writing things down is best. If I write it down, it sticks in my head much better than when I hear it or watch videos. Some people are visual learners, and do best with images and pictures and can draw diagrams that help explain things. You just need to learn what works for you! Good luck!!

Other Tips:

Learn how to dissect an NCLEX question.

  • Find the stem (the actual question being asked) - be sure to read the question carefully and make sure to see if it is asking a positive/negative question. Positive - what is true. Negative - what is false. There were plenty of times in the beginning, I didn't read a question carefully enough, and it was asking which was false. I read the options and lets say option B was correct, I'd choose it. Later, I'd see I got it wrong and realize why. That's another important point - READ THROUGH ALL THE OPTIONS BEFORE CHOOSING AN ANSWER! There were plenty of times I and friends of mine, got questions wrong because we were reading through the options, saw one that seemed right, and chose it without reading the others. Take it from me, DON'T do that! ? Often times with NCLEX questions, there's more than 1 option that is right. It's just one is MORE right than the others, which is just another thing that makes NCLEX questions so tricky!
  • Look for key words, such as "most," "first," "best," that tell you the question is asking for what takes priority. It's important to know the difference between BEST and FIRST. Sometimes they are the same, sometimes they are not. What is FIRST might not always be what is BEST. BEST is the ONE thing you would do if you could ONLY do ONE thing. FIRST is the one you do FIRST. Again, those may be the same and they may be different. A lot of people mess up with questions because they answer FIRST instead of BEST or BEST instead of FIRST, and they are NOT paying ATTENTION to WHAT the QUESTION is ASKING. So, this is something that is really IMPORTANT to understand the difference of! For example, a person has ventricular fibrillation on the monitor. You go into a patient's room and find they are unresponsive and have no pulse. What is the FIRST thing you are going to do? A) Place the patient on a backboard. B) Start chest compressions. So, looking at the question. It wants to know FIRST, which is about ORDER - What will you do FIRST. So, looking at the options. If you were to pick place the patient on a backboard - You think to yourself, "First I would place the patient on a backboard, then I would start chest compressions." If you were to pick start chest compressions - You think to yourself, "First I would start chest compressions, then I'm going to place the patient on a backboard." What is better to do FIRST? Place the patient on the backboard. Now - What if the question said - You go into a patient's room and find they are unresponsive and have no pulse. What is the BEST thing to do? A) Place the patient on a backboard. B) Start chest compressions. This question wants to know BEST so that means I can ONLY do ONE of these things and NOT the other one. If I could ONLY do ONE of these things, which one would I do? So, looking at the options. If you were to pick place the patient on a backboard (remember, you can only do ONE thing and NOT the other) - So, you think to yourself, "I roll the patient over, put them on the backboard." Now, you think, well if all I do is put them on a backboard, they still won't have a pulse, so they will die. So, that would NOT be the ONE thing I would want to do if I could ONLY do ONE and NOT the other. Now, we need to think through the other option. Start chest compressions - so you think to yourself, "I'll do chest compressions with them on the floor." Now, the chest compressions will help with the whole no pulse thing, so that would be the thing I would do if I could ONLY do ONE thing. My point here, with this rambling, is to make sure to know what the question is asking and to think through each option thoroughly.

Do NOT read into the question. Look at EXACTLY what the question is asking. Do NOT read an option and then say to yourself, well this could be correct if xyz. NO! Do NOT make any assumptions about info that has NOT been given in the question. Focus on EXACTLY what the question is asking.

Hopefully this novel helps you! ? If you need anymore help or have any specific questions, you can always post them on here because everyone is always so helpful! You can also message me anytime and I'd be glad to help you! Good luck!