Published Apr 26, 2014
The first Excelsior exam I took was A&P. It took me over 6 months to feel like I mastered the content and to schedule the exam. I studied the recommended materials from Excelsior and did the practice Exams to prepare. I made a C. Then I began preparing to take the micro exam the same way and again, I was overwhelmed with ALL the information and spent several months studying on my own with the materials from the Excelsior book store, so after talking to some co-workers (I'm a paramedic), I signed up with The College Network and about 2 months later I made an A on my micro exam!! I then finished a few pre-reqs and I have passed the Transition and Health Safety exams, all with As and Bs!
I took the Essentials: Health Differences exam last month and again, used TCN to prepare. I made a D on it. I felt like I had mastered the content because I made over a 90% on all of TCN end of ch. quizzes and took TCN practice exams. A majority of the posts I've read say that this exam was easy and people made As on it after barely studying, so I'm feeling pretty discouraged right now! I would REALLY appreciate any advice, help, or tips for this exam! One thing I noticed different on this exam were the questions that said, "check all that apply" instead of being just multiple choice. Those really threw me off because with the regular multiple choice questions, you can at least normally narrow your choices down between two of the answers if you're having trouble. Also, I feel like I may have spent too much time studying the lab values and not enough time on other things. And I'm having trouble differentiating the S&Sx of things like hypo&hyper calcemia/kalemia/natremia, etc. because allot of the S&Sx are the same!!
Again, I could really use some help on what to do to learn the material for this exam! Thanks in advance!!
Download the content guide outline for each exam from Excelsior - follow the content guide outline and concentrate on the higher percentage areas. Also get the EC practice exams they really help. I used studygroup101 - much cheaper than TCN and better practice quizzes.
"Check all that apply" aka "select all that apply"/SATA questions will likely appear on all the nursing exams. These are NCLEX style questions. As TCN is neither endorsed nor affiliated with EC there is no guarantee that their study guides & practice tests will adequately prepare you for EC exams.
ALWAYS use the exam content guide available for free from EC. The practice tests from EC are going to give you a better view of the exam than any other source. Some use TCN guides to supplement their studying but nearly all successful students rely on the sources directly from EC (content guide & practice tests) for their primary study outline.
Thank you so much for the reply and info! This is probably the dumbest thing you have ever heard, but I'm not 100% what you mean by "follow the content guide outline." Do you take each section from the content guide and then research the topics or am I misunderstanding? If that IS what you're saying, then where do you do your research to master the content?
I have about 4 months left until TCN loan is paid off. The loan included TCN modules for each nursing exam and also for each EC nursing exam fee. So, I would LIKE to know that I haven't wasted all that money and also that I don't have to pay for more learning materials, but I have made it this far and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to complete my nursing degree. I am wondering if I will be able to find the appropriate material on the EC content guide using TCN modules. I have also read and have had people tell me that ALL they used to prepare for the exams was EC content guide, practice exams, and "Google" when they needed more info about the topics listed in the content guides. Or am I going to need to buy the exact learning materials suggested by EC for each of my remaining nursing exams? I WILL be buying the EC practice exams from now on! Thank you for mentioning that because I realized that I did not do that for Essents: Health Differences, but I DID for the other EC exams I made As and Bs on!!
Lastly, I have seen "study group-101" mentioned in several of the posts on here, but I have never heard of it. I was wondering if you could give me some info about it and what the cost is???
"Check all that apply" aka "select all that apply"/SATA questions will likely appear on all the nursing exams. These are NCLEX style questions. As TCN is neither endorsed nor affiliated with EC there is no guarantee that their study guides & practice tests will adequately prepare you for EC exams. ALWAYS use the exam content guide available for free from EC. The practice tests from EC are going to give you a better view of the exam than any other source. Some use TCN guides to supplement their studying but nearly all successful students rely on the sources directly from EC (content guide & practice tests) for their primary study outline.
Wow! That's good to know! I figured that the NCLEX questions would be very similar to the questions on The National Registry for EMTs and Medics! I remember one of the "SATA" questions on the exam described signs and symptoms of a respiratory patient and then asked something like, "what should the nurse do for the pt?" I think I selected ALL of the choices provided. That question blew my mind for some reason. One of the choices was to "put the pt. on oxygen". There was a separate question later; which, was similar to the one I just mentioned, where one of the answer choices was something like, "administer oxygen as ordered." As a paramedic, I don't have to wait for someone to tell me I can give the pt. O2, if they need O2, I just do it! But, when I was a tech. In the ED, I remembered the nurses could not administer O2 until it was written or ordered. Is that something I need to look out for when testing?
Also, can you explain in more detail what you mean by, "nearly all successful students rely on the sources directly from EC (content guide & practice tests) for their primary study outline"? If you have the time to, read my previous reply. It has more details about why I am asking.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for the info and I WILL be purchasing the EC practice tests for all future exams! I just need to understand exactly HOW to use the EC content guides to be proficient on the exams!!
Use the content guide as a syllabus. The TCN guides have been reported to be missing necessary content, have outdated information, or contain inaccurate information. If there is a discrepancy check with an EC academic advisor ( NOT a TCN advisor) but the EC content guide will always prevail over non EC endorsed or recommended outside resources.
You can google SG101 the guides are cheap (~$10 each) and organized similar to the EC content guides.
Many students get the Saunders NCLEX-RN book for practice questions as a supplement
The EC content guide has the course broken down into sections and lists the recommended reading material and also the percentage of the exam that the sections cover. sg101 breaks them down by section also and covers them all pretty well and has lots of practice questions in nclex style and they have audio review too, which I absolutely love. Schedule your study time - I have a calendar made out and I lock myself in my office. When I start I go over the content guide and then read the study guide section of sg101 and then take the first practice exam. And then I start to study the first section in depth, do some quizzes and google things to find more info if I miss the questions. When I get through all the sections I take the second practice exam, go back over my quizzes and the rationales on all the questions I missed or didn't quite understand. Then I take the exam - has worked so far for me!
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