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Anyone else discouraged?

I am a first semester RN student, I am also 46 years old....if that matters!

I had never taken any college classes untill 2 years ago, at that time it had been 28 years since I graduated from high school. I finished up all of my pre reqs with a 3.8 GPA. It was not easy, I studied alot, prayed even more. Well now that I am in nursing school, I feel like I am truly studing as much as I can, every spare minute.Before the tests I feel like I know the material inside & out. But I never do as well as I should (in 4 tests I have a B,C,D,C) I cried for 2 days after the D. Am I memorizing too much? I can always get the multiple choice questions down to two that sound right, but I always pick the wrong one! Most of the tests are over 25+ chapters and endless lecture notes, there is no way to get it all in my brain. I have tried focusing on the lecture notes, but there is always material in the tests that isn't covered in lecture. I can't learn everything in 25+ chapters....The class average is always right at my test score so I know I am not alone.

PLEASE give me some study tips!!!!! I am second guessing my career chioce/change!

Thank you all for allowing me to vent!

locolorenzo22, BSN, RN

Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Detox, Tele.

Hey. It happens. We all beat ourselves up over bad grades, but it usually works out as we go on. That said, do you have many different instructors for the course, or just one? You often have to get used to an instructor's style of composing tests.

2 tips: 1. When down to 2 answers, check the question. Make sure you know what it's asking. Think about which answer would be most important.

i.e. what is the rationle behind septic procedures?

a. To maintain infection control and prevent the spread of microorganisms

b. To keep the procedure as clean as possible.

(2 answers very similar, but a is correct.)

2. Take a breath and don't change answers unless CERTAIN! My score often goes down if I go back to change an answer I think is wrong. Usually, my first reaction is right.

3(ok, i lied). Study what you KNOW will probably be covered. If you miss a general question ok. If you miss 5 questions about a specific technique, not ok.

hope it helps!

Oh yes i feel your pain! had a 3.9 GPA before nursing and right now im looking at B's in my nursing classes. I really think you can study til you turn blue in the face and memorize all the notes you want but what it comes down to is knowing what the teacher wants and what kinds of answers she likes. Our teacher drives us nuts talking about Critical Thinking skills which im trying to grasp. people keep telling me to review your NCLEX books to get familiar with the types of questions they ask. And as far as that D is concerned dont worry about its behind you and cant focus on it. If you can find someone that has passed every nursing test there either lying or a good guesser. Everyone says you get used to taking these tests well me and you are both waiting impatiently!

Halinja, BSN, RN

Specializes in L&D, PACU.

This may sound discouraging...but remember, it isn't the grade that matters. Its passing. Do your best in clinicals, try and see how what you are learning applies to real life situations in the hospital.

I know how it feels to want to do well in school, I had a 4.0 in pre-nursing school life. That went away. But just as I learned to accept a not-so-clean house, and less time with my family, I'm learning to accept the less than perfect grade.

When you have gotten your license and are a practicing nurse, no one is going to care what you got on test #3 in fundamentals, I promise.

Oh, and I agree with locolorenzo22, never go back and change an answer. I did that one time. I changed seven answers on a test. Of the seven that I changed? I got six of them wrong...and the answers I switched off of were the right ones!

JentheRN05, RN

Specializes in OB, ortho/neuro, home care, office.

Best thing to do is to quit concentrating on memorizing, and actually try to UNDERSTAND the material. If you can understand it, then you will do fine. Memorization will only get you so far, and when you get down to two possible questions, you will likely choose the wrong one if you don't understand the material.

Understand and USE this one key and the rest of your education will be better. The key is, look it up as if it were one of the most important people in your life. You want to know everything about what is going on. First you have to know what is right before you can figure out what is wrong. Trust me, it works. Took me until Junior year to figure this out. Graduated with honors so that must mean something

The tests are definately very stressful, I tape the lectures and then put them on my Ipod. I listen to them in the car, gym or when I am going over my notes. I always try to listen to the previous weeks notes before the next week starts. If I don't understand a concept then I look it up and study whatever it is. The day before the test a group of us meet and break up into a group of two or three. We quiz each other on the material. It gives us an idea of what we need to go back and look at. My group of 12 started to do that and our grades went up considerably. I have alot of classmates struggling to keep their heads above water. It isn't a pleasant feeling. One of the things we have figured out is most of the time the answer is going to be in our scope of practice and follow the ABC's.

I hope this gives you some ideas of different study practices.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Has 40 years experience. Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

hi, kywoman1234!

make sure you are following the syllabus or objectives that were handed out at the beginning of this school term. they are often the best guide of what you will need to know for tests. tests are often designed around these guidelines. you should also check these to see if the material you are missing on the tests is also material that your syllabus or objectives say you should be learning. that will confirm to you how important it is to follow them for your study guides as well as what you are getting in lecture.

here is a website that you may find some helpful study tips on:

http://www.efn.org/~nurses/ - this is a website maintained by the nursing students at lane community college in eugene, oregon. for study and learning tips specific to nursing students click on "tips for learning" at the left side of this home page.

welcome to allnurses! :welcome:

I agree 100% with Daytonite comment, I started doing that and my grade went from an 84 to 96. I also tape the lectures and read after class. I am not that stress so far. I study a little bit everyday. I kind of know now what's important when I am reading the chapters. I hope you can evaluate your situation and make some changes that would help you score higher on the tests. Good luck to you

Totally understand where your coming from. In our class we have a saying C = RN because all you need is a 77% to pass which is a C. Alot of us have said goodbye to those A's we were so use to getting. I know for some taping lectures seem to work, for me reviewing notes and reading right after class seems to be best to get it drilled into my brain. There is just so much info sometimes I wish I was a computer where I could just add a little bit more ram or a better hard drive to solve the problem LOL

You are definately not alone. I'm in my last year. I just finished Med-Surg I (8 weeks) and now I'm in Med-Surg II. I'm 23 y/o and have been in school straight through since pre-school, so I guess I'm officially a professional student :) I have taken lots of classes and have several degrees that I'm sure I will never use. Nursing school is so much different than basic classes though. I'm sure going back to school after all those years was difficult, terrifying, but most of all...BRAVE.

1. First of all remember this: nursing school is hard!! If it was easy.....everyone would be doing it!

2. Find what study style works best for you....some of my classmates can simply read the chapters and do great on the tests. Others have to read the chapters, take notes, and study, study, study the notes. I have ADHD and it's very difficult for me to sit down and read the chapters straight through. I break it up into sections, take notes, and then 3 of us girls get together a few times a week for study sessions. That has worked well for us because what one of us forgets to include, another one remebers.

3. A "C" on a nursing exam is not bad at all! Our teachers told us that from the beginning. The exams are completely different than they were in your pre-nursing classes. Although they are multiple choice, all of the answers can be right....you just have to pick the BEST one. I'm like you....I can always narrow it down to 2 right answers, and often have trouble picking the best one. Re-read the question...make sure you know what it's asking. Cross out irrevelevent info and underline the important stuff. That has helped me. The questions are sometimes so long that I lose track of what it's really asking. Consider buying a critical thinking book....when you get further along it will be a big help.

4. Don't just memorize the information....everything in nursing builds on the last thing you learned. Make sure you understand the information. I made that mistake at first. I was so used to memorizing information for pre-nursing classes that I fell into a rut.

5. Study every single day.....even if it's just for a little while. Don't get behind because it's very difficult to catch up.

6. Pray! Believe in yourself! You can do this....be positive and stay ahead! Don't let little setbacks (the "D" on your test) discourage you. Forget about it and move on to the next block of information. Remember....all the stress and crazyness you have experienced and will experience will be a thing of the past soon. It goes by so quick and will be SO WORTH IT! Good luck!


Has 25 years experience. Specializes in OR, CCU, L&D, Home Care.

I went to nursing school many years ago but some things have remained that same...it is hard to get in and the stressors imposed to help you develop the type of mental muscle you will need in the profession are a real trial by fire. But, take heart, the hardest obstacle is the first semester.

The grueling application process is designed to weed out anyone who doesn't really belong and the first semester is designed to week out anyone who got in by mistake... Generally, this is done by focusing on the nursing process, rather than the details of anatomy, physiology or procedures. A question will sound like it is asking you to know details of A&P or a procedure but it isn't really...it is testing whether you understand the importance of the "process".

For example, what should a student nurse do if he/she enters a patient room and finds the arterial puncture site bleeding profusely:

Hold direct pressure until the instructor or an RN comes to help?

Put on a pair of sterile gloves fast and hold direct pressure until relieved? Call out for help while running to hold pressure?

Assess the situation?

It will always be to "Assess" the situation first...that is one of the key elements of the nursing process, so review the nursing process and always look for the key elements in the answers...

Once you understand how the nursing process works, you will find that the other details begin to fall into place more easily.

But I do know that nursing school is very hard and I wish you success.

I felt like that a lot...You study and read and read and study and it doesn't seem to be enough....I could always narrow it down to two answers of course but could not figure out which one to choose...My teacher sat me down to go over one of my tests and she said to look at the question and if you had to make an instant decision and choose one thing to do which one would you choose?.........As far as studying goes...when you feel like you know the content...teach it to someone...signs and symptoms..how to diagnose it and treat it..even go through the medications and what they do. Sometimes talking it out helps you to realize what you really do and don't know....When I was doing my OR rotation I will never forget what the Nurse Manager said to the class which was "No matter what...Don't Quit"..Its easy to get discouraged but you know more that you think you do...you'll see!:)

If your class has Objectives for the chapters try answering them. For the first time in any of my classes I started using the free websites.. I don't know what books you are studying but Kozier's Fundamentals of Nursing has a great site which quizes you per chapter.

Second, throw away your eraser! My teacher has threatened the class to start confiscated them because second guessing has lowered alot of grades.

The comments about not memorizing are important to.. don't strive to be able to spit back the 2 pages.. it would be better in the long run if you can put it in your own that make sense.. even if it is only 1/2 paragraph. The more you learn, you can look back and add to it. Good luck!

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