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Help, failing last semester

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Hi, as the title entails, I am on the brink of failing my last semester of nursing classes. I have tried everything, reading textbooks, looking up NCLEX review questions, attended workshops on how to study (which was useless), test- taking techniques, etc you NAME IT! I'm in study groups too and the irony of it all is that my classmates turn to me for help... yet I still get the lowest grades for BOTH professional and medsurge II!

I bought another NCLEX review book last week, in particular because I have heard that my instructors have been pulling out questions from there for our exams. At this point, I'm willing to cheat just to pass this idiocy.

Medsurge II for the first exam I got a 78% but then I got 67% for my second exam and 66% for my midterm on professional. I studied SO hard more so, for my second exam and professional is supposed to be EASY T______T

I don't know what to do anymore... there's so much on the line, my parents have threatened to kill me if I don't pass and graduate at my appointed time in December. I am also due to transfer in Spring to the university level.... I have no friends.. literally anymore.. I'm so depressed and lost 7 pounds since this semester started.. One of my instructors hates me and is giving me B's and C's on my major papers.. while my classmates whom I help with their papers are getting A's, which I don't care at this point as long as I pass my classes. I'm honestly contemplating suicide... haha but really if this continues I'm going to die anyway of malnutrition and stress by the end of the semester. Please help...

People are taking advantage of you. Seriously. I've been there. I'd go out and help everybody. And, all I've got is backstabbing. Hang in there. Hang in there. Stop. Give up something. Try to say No to at least 3 people asking for help no matter how much you know you are very capable of helping them, no matter how much you know are very capable of solving it, no matter how much you want to appear nice to them.

Nursing is really hard. I've talked to many nurses and they've all told me that they don't think they've learned much from school but from clinical and on-the-job. Hang in there.

Give up on everything and everybody but you.

I have no friends neither. Friends in Nursing school are most fake people. People are busy getting their job done. They can't be true friends. Look back from the friends you've had but haven't contacted them for a while. They are very welcome.

I was in a community college and had a whole bunch of friends. When I moved on to a nursing school, I've lost most of the contacts and befriended with nursing classmates who are not really friends. They are very competitive and most are frustrated with their previous careers and college majors. This makes life in nursing school even harder.

So, what I've done is to get some contacts back with some friends in the college. And, that helps. Reaching out for people out of the health care field.

Hang in there. You'll make it through!!!

Right now you need to concentrate on you and put your needs first! People will take advantage especially if the help is free. You can't please everyone and suffer

in the process.

Have you tried to analyze the type of questions that you are getting wrong to see if there is a pattern to it? For example if you read questions too fast it is easy to miss the word 'EXCEPT' at the end and remember the questions are written to catch out the unwary that leap in.

Ask your profs to give you 10 mins to go through the exams and get their perspective on whether certain question styles are tripping you up. If it's content then dang... sorry but you are on your own there. I see less sleep and more study in your future...

Good Luck.

decembergrad2011, BSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology. Has 12 years experience.

I wholeheartedly agree with finding friends outside of your nursing program to lean on for support, as well as taking a step back from helping people.

I've unfortunately encountered similar experiences. I realize that some people do make these "lifelong friends" in nursing school, but I have not met any. My school is extremely competitive and most of the students in my class are catty and cliquey. I'm very thankful that my best friend goes to school for massage therapy (so we can commiserate about health stuff, but we don't risk competing) and my other good friends are in different majors. I try to get away from doing nursing stuff at least once a week completely - meaning that I spend at least one whole day doing nothing but fun stuff. I also try to take at least one class a semester that's outside of the nursing or healthcare curriculum so that I have an outlet.

I'm sorry that you're having such a hard time. Have you set up a meeting with the instructor writing the exams in order to "get in her head" a bit? I'm sure if you are struggling this much, going over your last exam and discussing each question you missed wouldn't be out of the ordinary. My courses have had this option for any student, and instructors especially encourage it if you score less than an 80% on any exam.

Above all else, please remember that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You won't feel this way forever, and even if you were to fail this semester, so what? You would (presumably) repeat the semester and move on with your life. You'd graduate 6 months later, but in the long run, 6 months is a very short period of time. I have friends that have failed a class throughout the program, and it's interesting how little your grades impact your nursing practice in clinicals. I've met some who are naturals at performing skills and patient communication but their grades in lecture exams suck, and I've met the opposite. Considering that most classes teach to this often unrealistic, ivory-tower of nursing, it makes sense that the real learning would happen on the floor rather than in the classroom.

Hang in there. You CAN do this, and I agree that it starts with being selfish, even if it feels unnatural, and putting yourself first. It's great to help people, it really is, but not at the expense of your own education and career.


Specializes in Med-Surg.

Hey! dont worry, Im on the brink of failing also. My ortho test, I was so worried about studying neuro next that I blew it. And whats worse, is I shouldnt have failed ortho. I work on a med-surg unit. I knew the questions when I came in to talk with my instructor. I freaked myself out too much. Dont worry, just keep studying. Dont tell others u are failing, dont ask what others got on the test. Dont even discuss tests with others. It just gets u worked up afterwards. When u take tests, take deep breaths relax and tell yourself you KNOW this material, even if you dont. You have to have confidence. Believe me.

So, you get grades on things besides just tests? Must be nice. We dont get a grade on clinical homework (which takes 8 hours to do each week) or on research papers we do. We are only graded on our tests. Which is not right at all. Just because your a bad test-taker doesnt neccesarily mean you are going to be a bad nurse. But anyways, hope you find this helpful and remember we all been there at one point or another. Also, it doesnt matter if you pass with the lowest possible grade in the course. The point is, you passed.

Thank you everyone for the responses and the advice. It really has helped bring up my mood and provided me hope that hopefully I will do better in my next set of exams. I think overall, I'm just a bad test- taker as Amber0515 pointed out. When I'm in my study groups, I can pour out all the information related to the subject and even teach people about it but when I apply it in the test, its a different result... I've actually never had problems with tests until I entered the nursing program.

Unfortunately due my schedule, I don't have time to cater to friends outside the nursing program, what little time I do have, I try to spend it on myself by reading, listening to music, etc. I agree with decembergrad2011 that making friends in the nursing program is not an option, many of my classmates have that mentally already that they could really give a damn about making real friendships (and one of them even said that to my face).

Suethestudent, I actually mark up my tests and make sure I underline or circle the most important words like except, select all that apply, etc. I am applying my test- taking techniques, and yes, I am also reviewing the exams with my instructors. I also do know my teacher's styles and what to concentrate on, I think the questions that make me miss the most, are those that are select all that apply (which my teachers seriously abuse a lot) and really confusing questions where two answers are right, but one of them is more right than the other, and the line between them is really THIN. I will definitely be having less sleep and more studying for sure... haha..

Thank you to nursingishard and studentny11


Specializes in Med-Surg.

I know the feeling. I was straight A student in high school. And now I am trying to keep my head above the water. I just found out the more than half of my class are not doing very well now. But, I think our head of nursing dept might have talked to our teacher (the one who taught neuro and when she gives tests most of us fail them, only her tests though. Whenever we ask her questions during lecture she would say "I dont know". Total BS) because today she actually taught us and did not just read from her 25 pages of notes! It was nice and I hope it gets better. And I hope you graduate. As someone said earlier, if you graduate now or even next year, you still graduate. I know plenty of girls who have had to graduate the year later because of failing out. It really is not the end of the world. I have to hide my grades from my family because I get embarrassed. My sister graduated from the same program and she says "Oh I got an A or B on this test!" and I got a B or a C (sometimes, even a D) I dont want them to know I am failing. If you need any help lt me know! And I definitely recommend talking with your instructor. After all, they know your grade already and they do want you to do well even if it sometimes does not feel that way:D GOOD LUCK!! YOU CAN DO IT!!


just wanted to say im right there with you and so is 85% of my graduating class. the withdrawal date for no academic penalty is in two days and the neuro test on monday is now called dooms day. I currently have a 72- have to be stellar to make it out in december. i have a 3.7 gpa and i WAS and honors student prior to this sem.- and im failing. it is not you and i agree with other concerning their method of determining competency. its flawed. clinical performance says alot about you as a person, and a nurse. i am precepting on an arrhythmia unit (ACU/PCU) which is a high acuity unit. i practice safely, am strong in patho and medications, and i have excellent rapport building skills- but that is no matter to my theory instructors. nursing school is probably going to be the hardest thing you will ever do. if you are anything like me, you are a walking dictionary. for now, here is some advice i was given quite recently from a post grad- it will be implemented on monday:

-dont try to read everything, its too time consuming. use sylvestri comprehensive reviews, do ALL of the CD quesitons you can. look at the rationals for the ones you missed AND the ones you got correct. look for a possible pattern where you misfire i.e. outsmart yourself, overanalyze questions, or whether its a content problem- if its the last, assess your learning style and study accordingly.

-get ample sleep the night before...even if you feel compelled to stay up late. your brain needs to recharge! eat a good breakfast, a little caffeine, and my instructor said she read a study that claims salt in your diet (crackers) improved test scores. heck, i im gonna try it.

-wake up early, get a little review time in to refresh the info.

-study groups!!

-when answering questions, try to r/o the questions that are simply wrong. when you get to two, refer back to the nursing process content for that particular patho...think ABC's. airway trumps breathing and breathing trumps circulation. identify those in your answers. they say "if you have no airway, you aint gotta worry about if your pt is breathing."

- last, if you have an anxiety problem, talk to your doc about alprazolam 0.5 mg. take half before the test. anxiety can hinder your thought processes and cause a block.

also, i would like to mention that my nursing friends are like my family. im not sure about the structure of your program but ours teaches through intimidation. all we have is each other and we are in no way competitive. jane doe graduating has no impact on whether i grad or not. why would it be competitive? i dont get that. it hurts me to see a friend drop out- which many have over the past semesters. they are the ones who truly understand how hard this is, how much we sacrifice, how stressful and frustrating it is. it is physically, mentally and emotionally taxing. they are the ones who lift me up, lend a shoulder, give me motivation and drive. i love my nursing family and will KIT well beyond post grad.

i hope you are able to pull this out. regardless of my score on this neuro test, i have decided not to drop. i paid for this class, im gonna ride it out. its gonna be an uncertain 6 weeks but i refuse to give up. keep your head up as i will mine and remember, you are not alone =)

You need to worry about yourself and stop focusing on your classmates! I taped my lectures and that helped tremendously! Study groups are useless! They are just a social gatherings and nothing gets accomplished! You have everything riding on the line here, studying every chance you have is the only way you are going to pass! Good Luck!

I would make an appointment with you mental health professor, advisor, maybe a mental health physician, and dean of the department STAT. I think you need to read what you wrote and think about how you would respond to a patient that is saying what you are saying... good luck!


Specializes in Student.

I have had the same sort of problem with other students- there are some leeches out there who expect you to do their work for them.

Here was my solution

- Quit answering/screen calls & texts - my texting option would frequently

"not work"

- not answer e-mails

there were always a few who would wait for the last minute - then demand help -

I weeded out those who used me, it took awhile, and taught me to be more cautious in who I befrend.

Now when I choose study partners - everyone must contribute.

I will be friendly to everyone, but watch out for me, anyone who hinders me, is

negative or cheats, I stay away from.

Are you in a postion to take a "mental Health " day ? A day off doing what YOU

want - no laundry, chores .... but maybe a pedicure, a little R & R can work wonders. It's an investment in YOU.

OMG. I think the stress of everything is the most damaging to your grades at this point. I think you need to prioritize your life and work. Set a side scheduled time for studying every course alone, then go into the group study with questions or concerns from your "alone" studies. Most importantly, set a side a little time, everyday, to unwind (music, gym, dance class, bar, movies, mediation, or church....something to break up the studying). This helped me a lot in college.

Edited by Jevell - AMPNN

There is alot of stress when it comes to nursing school I agree with the post above take some breaks. If not you will probably go crazy. I only have one person who I talk to about class and she is also in my class and we help each other out. She can relate to the same stress as me. That helps also to have someone to call on to just vent about everything thats going on.