Failed my 1st Fundamentals Exam

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Wow! I couldn't believe it...I really was shocked. I prepared and studied, that is all I do. Just last semester I was President's List! In fact just got my certificate in the mail, and don't even feel worthy to hang it. Here's the thing...

I knew the topics the test was talking about. I understood them and I felt prepared. So for me that is the scariest thing of all. There are no words to describe how I feel because class avg was 78% and I got 70. I feel so inadequate, and I want this so bad. I have been praying that this is for me, because this is all I have ever wanted.

I am an older student and I have been a hair stylist for 23 years. My kids are all grown, and I always said when they were grown I was going to go to school for nursing. This has been my first college experience, and I got all my pre-reqs done in a year. 12 classes in 12 months and 12 A's. 4.0 student for the first time ever.

In high school I was a C at best. I was so proud that I finally felt like I could do something, and now this. This has shaken me, and I would be lying to myself if I didn't admit that it has released some old demons in the way I look at myself. (like...there she is. there is the girl from high school...that kind of stuff)

Here's the thing, I even felt good after I took the test. I felt "iffy" on 14, and we could miss 13 to pass. But my "rationale" was surely I didn't miss all 14, so I felt good about it. We go back in and I was right I didn't miss all the 14 I had checked, but I kept missing others that I didn't think twice about...This test was over "Nursing Process" (ADPIE), Asepsis, and Pain Management. I missed mostly ones in Nurse Process...

Well, I'm not giving up, but I have to say I am extremely nervous about my test this Monday in Pharmacology. I guess my question is, considering that I have devoted my life to this, and I do take it seriously, and I do study (all the time!), is there hope considering I failed this first test, and I am below avg of alot of ppl who are distracted with young children and jobs...I'm just feeling inadequate...Please Help! PS> I have sooo much respect for the nurses out there...WTG!

Lev, MSN, RN, NP

4 Articles; 2,805 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Nursing style exams are a huge change from what you are used to. You will find a way to get higher scores. Think about it, you passed! A 70% is a great grade for a first exam. You will get much better at answering and answering those questions. The nursing process questions can be very confusing, because the nursing process can be difficult to understand and apply.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

it was the first test, not the only test. Testing should be a way to help us learn how to think critically. My recomemndation is to talk to your instructor about what could have been done - such as why you interpreted the question in a way that led you to choose the wrong answer. Learn from this!


4,161 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

First, go to your instructor and go over the test and have them explain the rationale for the correct answer. Second, get an NCLEX book and study the questions out of the book that you are currently studying in class. That will help in answering nursing type questions.

I made a 60 on my first nursing exam and it was about making beds and things of that sort. The testing style in nursing school is just weird (and annoying). I adapted though, and I made it through the rest of the exams just fine.

nekozuki, LPN

356 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics.

Failing your first exam is practically a rite of passage in nursing school. It's a rude awakening to all of us who were used to getting A's without studying. It's a tough but necessary pill to swallow.

Welcome to the jungle.


9 Posts

Thank you so much! Trying some new things...


9 Posts

This is awesome...I am sharing your words with my class mates nekozuki :)


9 Posts

Also seeing an advisor on Monday...I am going to do whatever it takes...You all are awesome and you should be so proud of yourselves! I respect your hard work and all you have to put up with and all you have gone through! Much Much Respect!


19 Posts

Specializes in Obstetrics, LDRP.

One big thing that is true for all of the nursing tests I've ever seen is that you have to really READ the questions. If you are allowed to write on your tests, underline things, highlight them, whatever. Know EXACTLY what the question is asking before attempting to answer. Once you think you've got an answer - double check it. Does the answer fit according to things you've learned in your prerequisites? What about with common sense? The best, and my most favorite thing about nursing, is that unlike English class, the common sense answer is almost always right. I really have to think each question through. And once you've taken a test, always review what you've missed if you can. Last year I was extremely worried about the 90 Q comprehensive final. I studied hard and I reviewed my old tests to see what and why I had missed things. You know what? I only missed 2 questions on that test and one of them I had gotten right on a previous test - it was just a factoid and I blanked. Anything and everything that could be figured out with a good thought process, I got right. It gave me a huge headache, but figuring out the answers is tons better than trying to memorize blind facts. If your system doesn't work, change it. Change it until it works. Ask advice from others who've been in your class before or from people on here. There are tons of advice threads. Beating yourself up will only make you feel bad, but finding a system that works for you could improve your grades and your outlook. Here's to being nurses one day!

I received a 66 on my first fundamentals exam. I completed the class with an 89%

Everyone fails the first exam.


44 Posts

I don't think you are in the minority on failing a test. I failed my first test and ended up passing Fundamentals with a B. It IS possible to come back. Just learn from your mistakes and try to improve. My biggest issue is that my grades do not represent the effort I put in.

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