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Critical Thinking/Test Taking

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by sarapools sarapools (New) New

I am at the end of the third week of LPN school and other than the two exams I have failed am doing well. Doing well with activities, group exercises, learning the skills, etc....but the tests. Oh the tests! So I guess I don't understand how to think critically. When I read into a question too much I get the answer wrong because I made it too difficult and it was pretty straight forward, and when I don't read into a question I get it wrong because I didn't think critically enough. I really could use some ideas as books or even more preferably a CD that is interactive where I can get some help with critical thinking and taking NCLEX style questions. Thank you in advance for your responses and help.

Edited by Esme12

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

The basic strategy for answering critical thinking (application type) questions is as follows, you must:

  • know and consider the normal anatomy and physiology
  • know and consider abnormal anatomy for the disease in question
  • know and consider the resulting signs and symptoms when the disease occurs and how they proceed from mild to fatal - each sign and symptom can be related back to the pathophysiology of the disease
  • know and consider how the doctor diagnoses and treats the disease in question
  • know nursing interventions for the signs and symptoms you are being asked about
  • know the steps of the nursing process and what goes on in each of the steps and consider how they are affecting the question you are being asked
  • know the sequence of priorities of needs as per a guideline such as maslow's hierarchy of needs
  • know and consider the principles behind the actions being done - there are many kinds of principles: principles of nursing, principles of biology, principles of chemistry, principles of physics, etc.
  • read the stem of the question carefully and answer that because the test makers try to trip you up by distracting you with conflicting information they give you in the answer choices that sounds good but has no relationship to what the question is asking for
  • ask yourself "why" a patient is experiencing some sign or symptoms to get at the underlying problem. nursing like other disciplines treats the problem/signs and symptoms.

Think it out according what will cause the most harm first and according to Maslows Hierarchy of needs. A (airway) B (breathing) C (circulation)