Exam strategies? Seems like I can't pass those tests!

  1. Hi,

    Our class took our very first exam for our first semester today and I nearly passed..when I thought I did pretty well ! I knew the content well, but I guess I'm not used to NCLEX type questions ! I have been doing NCLEX type questions and my performance varies on various tests, on some practice tests I do very well and others I do so bad! I don't get it! As someone who did very well in school, I feel very ashamed that I can get to Nursing school but can't pass an exam, and for some reason feel embarrased. I know it's only the first test and I can learn from it and use what I did wrong from the last test, but that feeling of disappointment is within me and for some reason I'm petrified to ask the instructors for help when they look at me as I'm smart and them realizing I failed the first test makes me look..incapable. I really want to score high and do well and am looking for ways to improve and perhaps make the grades up..so is there anyone who is willing to help? I'm going to an academic counselor tommorow to help me anyway, but hoping to get lots of feedback.
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    About demeanor89

    Joined: May '12; Posts: 40; Likes: 3


  3. by   RashellGravel
    I don't think you should feel anything close to ashamed. i just finished my first semester and the tests are just different from anything we have seen before. Try to focus on what the question is really asking. Some of the information in the questions is just a distraction and really read the answers slowly. Most of the answers are good answers but one is the "better" answer. You need to talk to your instructor. They will not look at you as incapable. They will look at you like you are someone trying to improve and you need to figure out what went wrong. Some of the questions I missed were because I read the question wrong or focused on the wrong things. Each professor has there own style of wording questions so watch for patterns. Good luck. It will be very rewarding when we are finished.
  4. by   i<3u
    It's your first test...chiiiillll I think majority of us have been there. What has helped me in the past w/ situations like this is:
    1) Go ahead & cry &/or vent if you have to but as soon as you're done,
    2) Get on the ball & figure out what helps you to RETAIN & UNDERSTAND (emphasis on the UNDERSTAND part b/c you're not going to remember EVERYTHING).
    3) One thing about studying and test-taking strategies, what works for someone else may not work for you but the key is,
    4) Figuring out what works for you (which is trial & error) but it's all about improving your habits & skills each time.
    5) Scan through the chapters before class, focusing on charts, figures, bolded words, etc.
    6) What has helped me is instead of procrastination (which I can be a pro at doing), review the notes you wrote during lecture and compare/transfer/highlight/underline that information in your textbook ASAP after lecture. It helps me to retain the info a little more
    7) Another thing, some instructors rely on their PowerPoints to make up the exam questions. Others rely on the textbook, study guide that came w/ the book, etc. The key here is figuring out which instructor uses what during that class/semester.
    8) Know that you don't have to spend a WHOLE lot of $ to pass your lectures. I made this mistake my 1st semester reading so many threads about how you should buy this rolling book bag and this A&P coloring book lol. I've never used that book and haven't used the rolling book bag since the 1st semester.
    9) Study groups/partners may help you to bounce ideas off others and/or to hear of other methods of understanding certain subjects (I hope that makes sense).
    10) Sometimes "teaching" your family, friends, &/or significant other the info will help you to understand &/or retain the info.

    Note: Sometimes you'll find that going strictly by the book or how a instructor relays the info, doesn't help. I'm not saying cut corners. I'm saying you may have to translate the info in way that you can understand or remember. Example: turning Lab values into rap lyrics, using acronyms to remember nursing interventions, or using keywords to remember medications, s/e, and implications r/t that med, etc.

    Lastly, relax and take time out to enjoy yourself every now & then. It is truly a journey! Good luck!
  5. by   Sun0408
    Go to your instructor, go over the test and look at the ones you got wrong.. Understand why you got them wrong is the first step in fixing the problem.. Did you read the question wrong, read too much into the question etc.. This will help in the future... Nursing exams are soo different from any other exam, this is part of the adjustment. I have failed my fair share of nursing exams and I am not afraid to admit it, hold your head up.. Give yourself a break you can do this