Test help- Those who did well

  1. Ok I spend hours reading and reading and writing, but the exam always ALWAYS seems to be things I overlooked or thought wasnt a big deal. I soooo frustrated now I wanna turn in my nursing uniform.
    I spent all weekend studying and it wasnt enough, (yes I study during the week too).
    Whats the secret! Im reading some of you are getting A's on your exams. Im in fundamentals and its alot of info. But the problem is I dont know what to focus on. Our teacher does a poor job of leading us in the right direction. We'll have stuff on the test Ive never seen in the book and she never talked about.
    Ultimately its my own fault, but I'd like to correct it.
    I did my reading, took notes in class and as I read, supplemented with looking concepts up on the internet, did practice questions etc. I cant fail out now! ahhhhh
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    About FNPhopeful

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 309; Likes: 10

    14 Comments

  3. by   BeccaznRN
    I would recommend making an appointment with your instructor ASAP to discuss your test score(s). If you are doing the required readings, studying, and making sure you understand the concepts, then something's not adding up. Maybe the instructor could help find the missing piece for you or give you some tips. If you have tutors available at your school, take advantage. Don't give up! Better you realize now that you're having trouble and get help than waiting until it's too late in the semester to make a difference.

    Best of luck to you and hang in there!
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Sorry, but too many people place too much emphasis on grades. I earned 'B' and 'C' grades in nursing school; however, I was the first person in my class to pass the NCLEX. Several of the straight-A students have failed the NCLEX twice before passing on the third attempt. It's perfectly fine to not earn all 'A' grades, just as long as you are thoroughly absorbing the material learned.

    Many of the straight-A students in my classes crammed at the last minute and were good at memorizing. Rote memory will not help you pass NCLEX, as you'll need to grasp the material at a much deeper level. Good luck.
  5. by   emllpn2006
    Maybe you are reading to far into things and trying to study to much. Try to think back on past tests and remember if the instuctor went into the small details or if the test was on the overall concept. Also I found that if I read over my notes right before going to bed I did better on tests than if I studied earlier in the day. I would lay down read over my notes then turn off the light and go straight to sleep. This helped me more than anything else I tried.
  6. by   WDWpixieRN
    Our instructors gave us powerpoints and one told us she went off of that for her questions...not sure how the other chose her questions (or whose were whose questions), but I just read through the book, the slides with my notes and guess I just absorbed enough...the 4 I had real trouble with were application type questions and several of us didn't feel we really covered that type of material yet (more of the implementation-type questions). I have no doubt our tests will be come more difficult and involve more of that type of question.

    I think talking to the instructors would be very helpful to get direction. Ours have emphasized that they're very interested in our success as nurses are needed so badly, so I hope you find that same at your institution.

    Best wishes!
  7. by   Daytonite
    have you gone back through the handouts that your received during any orientation and/or syllabus material on the first day of class? many times the instructors include a bunch of pages that have the objectives of the coursework in these pages. those objectives are often what a lot of the test material is based on. for some programs instructors pass out a test review sheet before a test and it is nothing more than these objectives that will be tested over, but restated. teachers/instructors, very much like nurses, have to have teaching plans. their teaching plans must conform to the teaching plan that was formally submitted to the state board of nursing. the nursing course that you are in had to submit a formal teaching plan to your state board of nursing that clearly outlined the objectives that they were going to teach to you students. most programs share the objectives concerning the nursing theory content with their students. they are not secret. so, again, i encourage you to look for these objectives among your handouts. if you really don't have them, ask about them. they should not be withheld from you students.

    you should also be doing de-briefing on your exams to find out where you went astray in picking the wrong answers. you need to find out if your wrong answers were because you just didn't know the material or because you applied your knowledge to the facts given in the question incorrectly. application type questions are very popular types of questions on nursing exams. they are used to help stimulate critical thinking as well as to prepare you for the nclex exam. you can get help with this type of question by purchasing a nclex preparation book. you can also get a free question of the week from the makers of the nclex exam at this website:

    http://www.learningext.com/students/qofweek.asp - question of the week. every monday a question from the online nclex-rn examination course from ncsbn and it's answer is posted here on this page.

    here is another website that has some good practical advice for nursing students about studying and test taking that you should read. it isn't very long and won't take up much of your time, but has important information:

    http://go.dbcc.edu/hhps/nursing/study_skills.html - study skills for the nursing student from daytona beach community college nursing department.
    http://go.dbcc.edu/hhps/nursing/test_taking_skills.html - test taking skills also from daytona beach community college nursing department. a couple of sample questions and how to chose the correct answer for these application type questions.

    be proactive and don't wait for the next test to just "happen" to you. best of luck to you on your next test.
  8. by   Race Mom
    There will always be questions that make you say "WHAT?"!!! The first way I approach these is to just "think rationally" about what they are asking. Look for those words that are distractors (always, never, first thing, etc). Try to answer them with common sense. A lot of times we look way too far into a question when using common sense may be able to get you to the answer. Start by eliminating the wrong ones. I always reminded myself and my buddy when we went to test, to remember that a lot of it is plain common sense.

    Good luck and remember...it does get better, almost easier to do. DO NOT give up! If it makes you feel any better, almost all of us feel that way at least ONCE a semester! I felt that way on week #2. First time I cried to my instructor. I already feel tons better. I cried for two days, at the drop of a hat! A good kick in the pants does wonders!!!!
  9. by   Halinja
    I noticed in our earlier classes that a lot of people were just trying to memorize facts about each system or each disease process. They would go way too far into details, without every stopping to understand how it worked, why it was that way.

    If you understand the basics of the system, or how a disease process affects the body, its easier to be able to answer questions that ask you to think critically. Lists of symptoms don't help if you don't know what is causing the symptoms. If you know what is causing the symptoms, you don't usually need to memorize a list. Hope that helps. It worked for me.
  10. by   nicuRN2007
    Quote from FNPhopeful
    Ok I spend hours reading and reading and writing, but the exam always ALWAYS seems to be things I overlooked or thought wasnt a big deal. I soooo frustrated now I wanna turn in my nursing uniform.
    I spent all weekend studying and it wasnt enough, (yes I study during the week too).
    Whats the secret! Im reading some of you are getting A's on your exams. Im in fundamentals and its alot of info. But the problem is I dont know what to focus on. Our teacher does a poor job of leading us in the right direction. We'll have stuff on the test Ive never seen in the book and she never talked about.
    Ultimately its my own fault, but I'd like to correct it.
    I did my reading, took notes in class and as I read, supplemented with looking concepts up on the internet, did practice questions etc. I cant fail out now! ahhhhh
    Is this your first semester? If so, there may be hope. The more nursing tests I take, the better I get. You really have to get used to/learn how to take nursing tests. Also, most of the things you learn in nursing (whether you realize it at the time or not) will apply to every area/aspect of nursing. So as you go through school, you should begin to attain more and more knowledge which you will be able to apply to your test questions, no matter what the content. (Does that make sense?)

    Aside from that, here is my suggestion for studying. I'm in my 3rd semester of nursing school, and we just had a test over 17 chapters covered in 4 class days. Most people didn't do so hot, I made a 92.

    This will take time, but it works for me. The best thing to do is work on this a little each day (or every couple of days) so it doesn't add up and become too overwhelming. For EVERY chapter that is going to be on the test, look at all the bold terms. Type out the bold terms and their meaning. Make sure you truly understand what that term means and how it relates to the reading in the chapter.

    Also, look at all the headings in the chapter. Can you explain the headings? You may need to make notes on the headings as well, but keep your notes brief.

    Make sure to note anything the book says the nurse should do in any situation (nursing interventions) and learn what is normal in any situation...

    for example...if a patient is having some type of surgery, and abdominal cramping is common for several hours after that surgery and not of pathological significance, know that. That way, if your instructor throws in a question that says, for instance: The nurse is caring for a client who just had (above mentioned) surgery and notes that the blood pressure is 100/57 (baseline was 120/80). What should the nurse do? The first thing you will need to know is that this is not to be expected in this situation. You will then select the correct intervention.

    If the question had been...the client is experiencing abdominal cramping after the surgery, what should the nurse do...the answer would be something like...chart the findings, or explain to the patient that this can be expected for the next few hours, etc...but not 'notify physician immediately.' Knowing the norm is very important.

    Next, look at all the charts and figures in the book. Do you understand those? Make notes on them if necessary. Once you have done this for all of your chapters, you should have covered all the material.

    Now look over your class notes. Did you miss anything? If so, look over it, make sure you understand it, and make notes for them in Word if necessary.

    Print all of this out, and the day (or two) before the test, take several hours to review what you have printed. Make sure you understand everythig. Hi-light what you are having trouble with so you can go right to it. Take time before the test to look back over the tables/figures in the book again if you feel like you need to.

    Wake up early enough the day of the test to read ALL of your printed notes at least one more time before the test.

    This really works if you have a lot of material.

    If you aren't covering that much material at a time, I would go ahead and read all the chapters making brief notes when necessary. I've never had the luxury of not covering much material at a time in nursing school, however...and I doubt you do.

    Hope this helps!
  11. by   pdunn
    i agree totally , i did ok on tests but i found a edge , get a copy of the nclex review essentials book , this breaks down the areas very well and gives you a better understanding of the area you are testing , i got mine on ebay, good luck
  12. by   bdgriff
    It's nice to know I'm not the only one that felt like I DID ALL the reading, made notes, looked at pp slides, etc...And had our first fund. test today. I got a 78!!! I thought I'd do a lot better than that!! But, I will say that I am no longer making myself sick, mad, crazy b/c I didn't get an A!! I now feel 'ok' with the C I got today...NOT SATISFIED, but ok about it. Maybe a B next one. However one of the instructors did say this first test is the EASIEST of the entire program...So, we'll see.
  13. by   happytoheal
    Wow! I totally feel your emotions about tests in nursing school. I graduated in May of 2006, and school seemed like a constant up-hill battle for me. While most students in my class spent the semester keeping their heads above water, I was always hungry for a gulp of air. I dedicated just about every weekend to studying (usually with a study buddy "A student") and spent most nights after classes going over material for upcoming tests. For one of the "hardest" nursing courses at the school I attended, I barely averaged a passing grade on tests. Actually, it was by the grace of God that I passed the class. Definitely times of heart break and triumph!

    Regardless of grades, I learned that those struggles were going to give me the pride that I now have as an RN with my BSN. After surviving nursing school, I couldn't be more proud to have my degree and be able to call myself a nurse. I graduated and passed the NCLEX the first time, with 75 questions (that was even a shocker to me). The skinny of it is, give yourself a break. If you are truly studying and actually learning the information, it will pay off in the end. Although the knowledge you are attainging now doesn't seem like it's paying off with all of those awful school exams, as long as you can hang in there, the only test grade that truly matters is the NCLEX (and you can even take that over if needed)! Don't compare yourself to others, and try to focus on the positive things you accomplish.

    On a side note, I didn't think twice in going to talk with teachers. I'm not sure what your school is set up like, but the teachers at my nursing school were amazing...always willing to take time out to speak and work with students. There will always be that "one" teacher...and avoid 'em like crazy. But, find a teacher that you connect with, or one that is coverig material on an upcoming test, and see if they can cover any material that you don't feel clear on, or go over a few related NCLEX questions on the specific topic. Some teachers do a much better job of explaining things one-on-one rather than in class. Just a side thought!

    Good luck!!!!!!!
  14. by   FNPhopeful
    Ok..........but passing at our school is 76%, so if I get a 72% or a 70% thats failing..........I dont care if I get A's anymore but I have to pass!

    Thats why I cryed myself home today, it all seems so hopeless. My past study skills that got me A's in Micro, Anat, etc arent cutting it. And I dont know how much more I can do.

    Anyone got a Xanax?.............

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