Class Majority Test Fail


Hi everyone,

This is my very first post on allnurses so I apologize if I'm posting this in the wrong place. This is my first semester of nursing school (BSN program).

Last week we had our first pharmacology exam and only three people made a passing grade. Today we had our first nursing foundation exam and half of the class passed it. I unfortunately failed both of those exams. We also had a dosage calculation exam today that I passed with flying colors.

Is this normal in nursing school to fail your first exams? It's just very disheartening. I felt so confident answering the questions and after viewing my score I was in shock...

What were others experiences like regarding exams?

Specializes in MICU, Burn ICU.

Based on my program and the cohorts within it, it is pretty common for students to fail exams - mainly the first exam.

There will always be those few students that do so well naturally or study EVERYTHING to a tee and score great nearly every test lol

With the first, you tend to not really gauge on what the teacher wants you to focus on or how the questions will be like. Plus, in nursing school, the grading scales are completely different than your average uni where like mine, having an A is 94%+ B 84%+ C 76%+ What I have came to terms with is that sometimes you're going to have ****** test scores. It's all on how you react and to tackle the next one.

So expect some frustration, even if you do well lol I think the best thing I can say is to try 110% in studying ahead of time - because even if you sometimes barely make it, as long as you are retaining and learning how to apply/critically think on the floor with that info, that's all that matters. Always try your best though! Too many people set their bar low.

This is your first semester - you probably aren't used to NCLEX style questions. That will come in time. From there, everything will flow and seem like you are covering the same diseases over and over again - more in depth with its treatments/interventions. It'll get easier.

Hang in there! :) Speak with your professor, cohorts ahead of you on best way to study, and kick butt on the next ones!

If your professors offer test reviews- go to them! I was thankful I passed my first exam but felt like I still had it in me to do better. I found it really helpful to be able to go over my test and see what I got wrong and then try to determine the rationales behind the answers on my own.


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It's not ideal but there is usually some period of adjustment to the demands of nursing course. Generally, students are not use to the volume of information they must cover and the fact that nursing exam questions often involve higher level thinking than other academic subjects you may have encountered. Most questions are asking you to apply, analyze, or evaluate rather than simply recall or understand something. There is also a great deal of information to synthesize and each question typically requires you to apply at least several concepts. I would be more concerned that you didn't notice you were struggling until you got your grade back. It's one thing to struggle adjusting to the demands of nursing exams, quite another to lack the metacognitive awareness that you're struggling. Reach out the the instructor or student resource center about ways you can improve both your studying and test taking but also don't get too worried about one round of exam. Best of luck!