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Curious to know

To all of the 30, 40, and 50 somethings who began their nursing careers at a later age, how did you manage to wrap your brain around algebra and chemistry after not being in high school for 20 plus years?

I am 39 and am planning on taking the TEAS after giving myself enough time to study and have gotten a few of the recommended study guides. I've glanced over the algebra and science portions and although I remember learning this in high school, it feels like it's been so long ago that I can't get my brain to do that anymore lol. And I've attempted this a few times before the last few years...applied and was scheduled to take the NET at the time, and chickened out. But my desire to be a nurse can't be stifled so I know I have to suck it up and take a chance.

So I'm wanting to know what you did to prepare. Did you study with the study guides only? Did you look up additional sources on the internet of math and chemistry sites? Did you take a refresher course in anything?

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide!

First I was afraid of it. Then I worried about it. I took algebra twenty two years after my last math class (which I had failed once before passing with low C). I hadn't done well in a math class since the second grade, detested math, and made a deliberate effort to avoid it for that twenty two years.

I worked on some basic things for a few hours before class started... I used the beginning chapters of the text book but mostly nontext books from the local library. The library books had titles like "Algebra Simplified" and "Get Ready for Algebra".

I worried unnecessarily. Once the class started, I could see it was entirely different this time around. This time I knew to make sure I understood each step as we went and I didn't stop with being able to follow the step when the teacher did it. This time I did all the homework assigned and did it to learn/understand it not just finish the page as I'd done before. I made sure I didn't get behind in the homework or leave anything to the last minute.

I went to the prof's office hours two or three times during the term for extra help but I had a lot less trouble with it than most in my class.

I did have to go back and do/learn/relearn a few concepts (like one or two things) that the rest of the class had done in intro algebra the term before (my class was an intermediate algebra class). Most things the professor covered in enough detail in class for me to understand, even what the students were supposed to know it.

My experience: I haven't taken the TEAS, yet, but regarding Chemistry: I didn't prepare at all. I'd already had all of the math in my 30's. Last year at 46 I just took Chem and jumped in. It was hard -- my poor husband had to constantly encourage me when I was tearfully complaining that I couldn't "get it," but in the end the points were what mattered and my merciful teacher gave me a B. :)

If I could do it over again, I would do just the same -- you rise to the challenge and find the help you need. I used Youtube videos for help with Chemistry concepts and names ("Chemguy" was a GREAT help -- he is a high school chem teacher in Canada.) My nurse friends kept saying "just get through it -- I don't remember any of it" when I'd moan that I didn't understand.

Good luck to you! :)

I knew that I wanted to get all of my pre- and co-reqs done before starting nursing school. Therefore, I made sure that I took my chemistry early in that process. I took a basic chem course as a refresher because it had been more than 20 years since I had HS chemistry. I also took my organic and biochem before taking my entry exam for nursing school. I looked at a study guide for the math portion, but other than a quick google to remind me how to divide fractions, I didn't really prepare for that portion.

Thank you all very much :)

I have not taken the TEAS yet. At my college, we have to complete all our prereqs and then apply to the nursing program. I am in Algebra 2 this semester, and am 42. We homeschool, so I have done basic Algebra with my kids since being in high school, but I am learning math I have never seen before. For instance, back when I was in school, we were not allowed to use calculators, so just having to learn how to operate a graphing calculator was overwhelming to me at first. My 19 year old is in the same class (different day) so he gave me a few lessons and now I am very comfortable with it.

I was concerned when my placement test put me in Algebra 2 instead of 1 and thought I would be completely lost. But I have steadily been doing the chapters on my own at home (we have a separate answer book for the odd problems in the textbook which helps to check myself as I go) before she goes over them in class and that has helped so, so much. The book really teaches everything step by step, giving examples and practice problems. I have scored over 100% on our tests and quizzes so far (there are bonus questions at the end).

I was out of school for 20 years before I started college.

This is how I dealt with it, I took the classes from the bottom up. I never had high school chem, so I took intro to chem at community college. I got a low B in high school Algebra and could barely remember fractions , so I took it all over again. First pre-algebra , then algebra. I got A in everything.

I would stick with study guides and refreshing only the areas they tell you to. I am 39 too and find it difficult to memorize tons of info in one sitting. Had to work on daily study habits and figuring out new ways to memorize. Things don't stick like they used to.

Other option apply to a school that doesn't require teas. I don't even know that it is. On the west coast, no entry exams are required. But students usually need close to a 4.0 in prerequisites, of which there are many more than I've seen at other places. 10-15 depending on the school. I'd rather take classes than study 9th grade algebra. I did have to take math, but they accepted my statistics course from college. I'm not sure what algebra from so long ago has to do with being a good nursing student & nurse!

good luck & hang in there...I've seen nursing students in their late 50s, so our 39 year old brains should be apt.

One1, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Pre-Op, PACU, OR. Has 3 years experience.

Honestly, I find it much easier to learn sciences now than I did in High School. I was doing miserably in math and sciences in HS, and now do well in my classes, many of them online (self-study). Approach them as a new subject, and don't be afraid of them. The beauty about sciences is that they are usually logical and structured. Just start working your way through one topic at a time, max 2. Basic biology and math might be a good start because you will need math for chemistry, and bio for everything else. I tested out of a Bio prerequisite class by studying an AP book. I also rely on online sources for my online classes (additionally to the class material). If I cannot grasp a concept from my class reading I will google the subject and find class notes from other universities or science websites (.edu sites are usually pretty reliable). You can also find video clips of science topics and science classes that are free to watch. Many classes also have practice tests online that are accessible to the public and are a good way to test your skills.

I am applying to LPN school and there aren't any prerequisite courses I need to take beforehand. I just need to pass the TEAS V exam in order to get in. I've had all of what is on the exam in high school but it's been 21 years so I am definitely rusty. It would be great to be able to pass the exam without having to retake these classes so I was just wondering if there was anyone out there who did not take any refresher courses and just studied by the guides or online.

I am starting my prerequisites this year. I am a hard worker, but I was a very average science student in High School. However, I didn't take Chemistry or statistics. Does anyone have any tips or words of encouragement on how be successful?

I will also need to take the ATI exam (TEAS Version V). Does anyone have any tips, study methods, or suggested study guide books, that might be of help?

I am determined to make it into nursing program, and I am willing to work hard to do what it takes. Therefore, any advice would be greatly appreciated!


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