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Failed Nursing 1 by less than a percent looking for advice

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by joven4801 joven4801 (New Member) New Member

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So I made an account just to post this here and as the title says, I just failed my first semester of Nursing school. Sorry but this might be a long rant, anyways, I'm really upset that this happened since I practically quit my job to focus 100% on this program but still failed by less than a percent. The passing grade for our program is a 77% or higher with no rounding, meaning if you got a 76.99, you failed. I ended up getting a 76.2% as my final grade. I talked to my professor about my overall performance in the class after I got my grade and she told me that I was satisfactory in dosage, lab, clinicals, skills check-offs, passing them on the first attempt with a 92% or higher, basically everything except the exams. We had 5 exams in the class, 4 of them were worth 210 points and the final HESI exam was worth 99. My scores in order were; exam 1 - 171, exam 2 - 150, exam 3 - 168, exam 4 - 159, and HESI 64.

I know that those questions are critical thinking and I think I struggle with that part because when I see those exam questions, I feel like they have no correlation to the material I studied, and that it wouldn't matter how much or how hard I studied and sometimes it would seem like there were more than 1 right answer. Sometimes I would end up overthinking a question and then getting it wrong because I looked too deep into it. My studying habits would consist of me reading the chapters before we went over them in class and if not then after class, and highlighting parts in my book that I thought were important to know. I signed up for a mentor when they gave out the applications for them but none of them ever texted me back so I just didn't bother with it and I sought help pretty late which was before the 4th exam and went to the nursing adviser for study tips which personally I don't think really helped me at all. We were told to not just "memorize" but to understand the concepts which is what I tried to do. I wouldn't do group studies either as I tried it once and it just lead to off topic conversations and didn't bother with that again.

I've decided to re-sequence, but since I applied late (due to me putting all my bets into that HESI hoping for a 72), I probably wont be admitted until the summer term which I really don't want to do since it's more fast paced and have heard that it is brutal but if I have to, I will. In the meantime I will also be taking a medical terminology class and hope that it'll help since my professor and the adviser suggested that to me. I plan on getting prescribed adderall from my doctor to help me focus on the exams and while studying, looking for any textbooks on critical thinking and NCLEX practice questions, and going over all my Nursing fundamentals textbook again while I wait for readmission. Since I failed once, I can't fail again throughout the program which is 6 levels of nursing or I'm kicked out for good. I'm really worried and hesitant about re-sequencing because I don't want to be someone that makes it to Nursing 5 and then fail and not have the option to re-sequence anymore when I'd be so close to finishing.

I know people will say that if Nursing is your dream then you should continue to pursue it no matter what, but I'm trying to be realistic here and plan ahead in the event that it does not work out for me and look for other majors or programs with similar pre-reqs with nursing so that I don't have to start completely all over again. I'm both sad and mad that I put in all this effort for this class with nothing to show for it and that I failed by not even a meager percent. I'm looking for any advice, suggestions, or tips. 21 yo Male in FL if any of that even matters. Thanks for taking the time to read my long post.

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I don't even start school until the 7th - so take this with a grain of salt. I have a friend who also just failed her first semester. She and her spouse were in class together and it was extremely difficult for her while it was practically effortless for her spouse. She failed by only a few points and was initially devastated. I watched any gleam of hope wash out of her face when she realized that she and I will now be graduating at the same time. She eventually realized that (I'm paraphrasing) she needed to re-take the material anyway because she really didn't understand it. When push came to shove, she didn't pass because of multiple things - it wasn't just one test - it was all the tests. Now she is looking forward to her program because she knows what she doesn't know.

From my standpoint, it sounds like you need to build a firm base to learn on. I'd venture to say that more than the majority, and nearly all of our questions are based on critical thinking. This is actually a skill that has to be learned just like anything else, and it sounds like you need to learn how to think this way. Most of us students aren't taught how to study in high school and we don't learn how to apply new principles or ideas. It is just sort of inconvenient because you want to graduate sooner rather than later. The problem is, some of that information just didn't click for you. You need every little bit of that information because nursing keeps building on what we are learning. By missing that percentage now, it means that next semester would have just been that much harder for you - had you passed.

While you have some time, do some you tube research and learn how to study questions. I have actually been going through a free question bank. Most of the time I get the questions wrong, but I read the rationale and try to understand to point of the question - the thought process maybe. This really does nothing more than gives me plenty of examples to learn by. You should figure out how you learn best. I am an audio learner. I actually have both physical and ebooks for some of my classes. I listen to the ebooks while I'm in the car driving. It makes recall faster for me when I start reading. I promise I didn't know any of this my VERY first semester in college many years ago. It has taken me a long time to learn how I need to study so that I can learn.

I hope that in time you are able to see this as a positive thing. I know its disappointing and I'm so very sorry that you are upset. I hope that you will take a little time, investigate yourself and figure out your learning style. You already know that you don't like study groups - I don't either for the most part. I actually do really well where we study alone, together in groups. We will sit around usually on the floor and study quietly. Every once in a while someone will blurt out a question of some sort and we all stop and talk about it together. Then we go back to studying. No straying from what we are doing. I would surely recommend a tutor of some sort, and have them help you learn how to learn.

You didn't fail. You just didn't approach from the right angle. Pull yourself back together and try again.

I wish you well. You can do this!!

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What exactly do you meant that you feel like the material you studied and the exam questions did not correlate? Were there questions on topics that weren't at all mentioned in the chapters/lectures? Or were they just more application-based questions that took the concepts you learned further, but maybe just wasn't specifically discussed? If the latter, then I recommend finding additional sources to review each topic. Watch Youtube videos on the whatever concepts you go over. Buy the relevant book for the class from Made Simple or Demystified series. Definitely invest in some NCLEX Review books (I personally like my Sanders one). You can also find books in the Davis' Success series that had a mass of questions per class and topic. Do as many questions from these sources as you can.

Try to take notes and highlight but then condense the information into flashcards or concept maps. I found those to be good tools to make yourself summarize the information, which requires you to understand the underlying rationale and pathology of everything. I think the advice to understand the concepts, not just memorize, is great because if you can at least understand the concept and how things affect each other, you can reason out interventions and symptoms.

You can also find some books that discuss test strategies specifically for nursing questions. You are going to run into questions in which two or more options are technically correct, but only one is the "most" correct. For those, I personally try to determine what is the question actually asking me (what is it trying to determine if I know or not) and then ask myself if I could only do one intervention out of all the correct options, which one would help the patient the most?

Whenever you find yourself struggling, consult with your professor right away. They are in a better position to give you feedback on what you can improve on.

And yeah, if you have ADHD, then I'd consult your doctor about their recommendation since that can certainly affect your concentration.

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angeloublue22 has 7 years experience and works as a RN.

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I was 4.0 student before nursing school because I have a really good recall memory. When I started to not do so well on my med/surg classes, I had no idea what I was doing wrong. I didn't realize that memorizing the info was only half of it. You might want to try other study strategies. Study groups are great and it gives you time with other students to discuss different ways to look at the material and critically think about it. I didn't see you mention flash cards but you might want to give them a try. Also, youtube can be a great tool. There are good nursing teachers on there that will help you delve into the subject matter and again increase critical thinking, which is the basis for most of those tests. Try "simplenursing" on youtube. Good luck!

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mindofmidwifery has 4 years experience as a CNA and works as a Student Nurse Associate.

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Does your school use ATI or Elsevier? We use Elsevier - all online ebooks - and our book package comes with a lot of resources like EAQs, case studies, etc. Do those if applicable. Also, read every assigned reading. First semester is more knowledge based/foundations versus later courses that will be more conceptual so I found that reading everything helped a lot. Take notes during lecture, lab and seminar. Find a good group or even just one other person to study with. But I can not stress PRACTICE QUESTIONS enough. They help a ton with getting used to nursing exams, especially HESI exams. Finally, Khan Academy has good physio videos to help understand disease processes better. Just practice, practice, practice. You'll get it next time!

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Do you only get one combined grade for all your classes or something? I know people who missed one class by a point but they only had to redo that course not every part of the curriculum?

Anyway, one thing I've learned, and this is even more true as you go forward, is that you have to pay particular attention to nursing interventions when you are studying. Nursing tests are not like your A&P tests were, it's not so black and white. Your textbook might give you a lot of A&P and patho, and you definitely need to know it all, but also pay a lot of attention to nursing priorities. Learn Maslow's hierarchy WELL, because that will be a big part of deciding what to do first. Also watch some videos on how to do NCLEX style tests - basically, remember ADPIE, and that you are going to be ASSESSING before doing anything else.

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yeah it is a combined grade so if we fail one part of the class, we have to take everything all over again.

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Does your school use ATI or Elsevier? We use Elsevier - all online ebooks - and our book package comes with a lot of resources like EAQs, case studies, etc. Do those if applicable. Also, read every assigned reading. First semester is more knowledge based/foundations versus later courses that will be more conceptual so I found that reading everything helped a lot. Take notes during lecture, lab and seminar. Find a good group or even just one other person to study with. But I can not stress PRACTICE QUESTIONS enough. They help a ton with getting used to nursing exams, especially HESI exams. Finally, Khan Academy has good physio videos to help understand disease processes better. Just practice, practice, practice. You'll get it next time!

We use elsevier, and I do the practice questions they come with but those questions are a lot easier compared to the ones we get on the exams since our professors were the ones that made the exam questions.

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Do you only get one combined grade for all your classes or something? I know people who missed one class by a point but they only had to redo that course not every part of the curriculum?

Anyway, one thing I've learned, and this is even more true as you go forward, is that you have to pay particular attention to nursing interventions when you are studying. Nursing tests are not like your A&P tests were, it's not so black and white. Your textbook might give you a lot of A&P and patho, and you definitely need to know it all, but also pay a lot of attention to nursing priorities. Learn Maslow's hierarchy WELL, because that will be a big part of deciding what to do first. Also watch some videos on how to do NCLEX style tests - basically, remember ADPIE, and that you are going to be ASSESSING before doing anything else.

yeah it is a combined grade so if we fail one part of the class, we have to take everything all over again.

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Part of the problem is our education system. It rewards memorization skills instead of critical thinking skills. Obviously both skills are necessary, especially in the nursing profession. Instead of being able to memorize a correct answer you are possibly faced with a question where every answer is correct, but which is the most correct? One good thing to keep in mind when taking a HESI or NCLEX is safety. If you could only choose one answer, which would you do if you were not able to choose any other answer? Which response would keep them alive? In nursing you will continually encounter situations you did not study or were unable to memorize, and that is where critical thinking comes into play.

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Rainbow_RN is a ADN and works as a Staff Nurse.

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I started nursing school at 21 also.

Sometimes, you've studied all you can and it's just a matter of luck. Yes, I remember some of the questions at my college with the multiple correct answers. Many will be like that. I recommend working on test taking strategies instead of trying to memorize the material. Sometimes there is just too much to memorize. Try to understand what the professor is asking of you and eliminate wrong answers.

In my last semester I had a 70 average at one point (passing is 76) and didn't think I was gonna make it out of there.

I graduated and am now an RN.

Don't give up yet. You're still young. That's what everyone would tell me.

Good luck!

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When you go back, I recommend getting a study group established.

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