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How do you study for Nursing Exams

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by Dragtail Dragtail (Member)

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Snowrain7489- I'm a visual learner. Can you please send me any tips or material you may have that will assist me in retaining info. when studying. Thanks in advance. After being out of school 6 yrs. I have just learned that rewriting my notes in diff. colored ink actually wks.

Edited by latricia99
wanted to add a name

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1,458 Visitors; 8 Posts

Here is some test taking advice:

If you have to add something to the question to make it right you are headed in the wrong direction. In other words if the question is asking you which patient you should see first just use the info they give to decide. This is very helpful when you are stuck between two answers you feel are correct.

Also, remember ADPIE - assess, diagnose, plan, implement, evaluate - if the question includes assessment info (i.e. "the client presents with BP 90/60, P 110, RR 24, T 97") don't choose the answer with the assessment in it (eliminate answers that include the words "take vitals"), go to diagnose. If the question has the RN diagnosis, move on to plan and so forth.

Good luck and congratulations on making it into your program!

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1,194 Visitors; 33 Posts

well its awesome to see that this thread is really developing into something interesting to read each night, I do agree with acastrobsn about studying the Saunder's cd with the study mode NCLEX and do the section pertaining to the lecture and readings. acastrobsn , did you start in the Operating room and also how did you go about getting a job in there, because that is my future speciality after I finish nursing school

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575 Visitors; 1 Post

Congrats on getting into the Nursing Program! What I found extremely helpful is to keep all my notes in one place. I read the chapter ahead of time with the professor's powerpoints next to me and take notes where I feel the professor skipped something that may be important. Then, I take those same notes to lecture and write more notes, in a different color this time so i remember these notes are from lecture, then I don't look at the book again. To study, I read and reread the notes, quizzing myself over and over. I even make a list of concepts or ideas that I know will be on the exam and try to say everything I know about it without looking at my notes, then look back at my notes to see what I forgot. I think the key is in taking notes well and going to every class.

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texashyles has 2 years experience and specializes in Med-Surge, ER, GI Lab/Scopes.

2,327 Visitors; 47 Posts

OK. I've decided I'm lazy and time-constrained (like any of us have ample amounts of extra time while in school)..and nearly finished with my BSN. The best advice I can give you is that when you are reading material and you don't understand a word, look it up. If you understand the flow of context, that is what is important.

Also, if you find yourself nodding off in your readings or can't visualize a procedure, look it up on UTube. You can catch a video a few minutes long that can be very enlightening and wake you up.

Grab an NCLEX review book to read as an adjunct to your studies. Simply reviewing the material will enlighten you as to whether you grasp the material. Then you can pinpoint your weak points. (I have Saunders NCLEX RN Review Manual).

Finally, take practice tests online. A free site that I use is http://198.146.4.5/nclexrn3500/mainMenu.do;jsessionid=E498A37B3E725DA63BCB73B852ABA142. It has the option of choosing the amount of questions and the particular field. Once again, when you come across a question you don't understand...

GOOD LUCK!

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2,444 Visitors; 64 Posts

Good question, OP.

When I started nursing school, I struggled with this SO much. I'd get an A on one test, and a C- on the next, and could never figure out why this was. As I progressed through nursing school, I got this down to a science, but not until my final year. Now, after two years as a nurse, I wish I'd discovered this way back in high school!

First of all, I'd strongly recommend a book called Fundamentals Success by Patricia Nugent & Barbara Vitale. This book taught me how to read the nursing test questions. The nursing exams are very different from exams in most academic areas, because while they do want to make sure you understand the content, their primary focus is to examine HOW YOU THINK rather than just what you know. (You will forever be sick of hearing that darn term "Critical Thinking"- but it really is important).

Second, my nursing instructors all gave us study objectives which told us what we had to read, and had many many many broad questions that we needed to answer from the reading. I found that it was nearly impossible to do all of this myself, and still have time to study for the exam. Eventually, several of my classmates and I formed a collaborative where we split up the reading and objectives and typed up the highlights of it- and then we would make a copy of the typed highlights from each person for everyone in the group who had contributed. This saved each of us SO much time- it let us focus on studying the information that really was important, rather than trying to weed out the important information in the vast sea of unimportant information.

So I would read over these highlighted notes before each class that covered the topic. And I would take COPIOUS notes during class- I would often try to write down everything the teacher was saying (that was related, not the stories, of course). I would take my notes in a different color pen each day, so I could visually distinguish what information I had learned when- it would help me recall important facts better.

A few days before the exam, I would start "power studying." I would take 3-5 hours the first evening and go through with a yellow highligher and highlight the important parts of my class notes and the study objectives, making notes and stars in the margins as I went. The second night I would go over the notes and study objectives again, this time in an orange highlighter- focusing on the things I had forgotten from the day before and on what I thought the teacher was really going to focus on. I would also often devise a game - like memory or something- for example, I would take all the different symptoms of all of the types of shock and put each symptom on a notecard, and it's corresponding type of shock on the back. I would try to put all of the symptom cards into rows based on which type of shock they corresponded with- and then check my answers when I flipped them over. The third night (if I had an extra night before the test) I spent going through my class notes and study objectives yet again- this time with a pink highlighter focusing on what I had STILL forgotten, devising tricks to remember them and making notes in the margins.

The morning of the test, I would have a good breakfast and buy a bottle of caffeinated soda, and meet my friends about an hour or so before the test. We would flip through our notes to quiz one another, and share the tricks we'd come up with for remembering things. Sometimes we would get competitive and try to stump each other- we learned even more when we did this. Then I'd start on my caffeine (it really does help!) and go in for the test.

Good luck to you, and let us know what you find works best for you!

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2,444 Visitors; 64 Posts

One more thing that I'm sure a lot of others do too- I print out the power points in advance (3 slides per page w/ note lines on the sides, single sided) and I take my class notes on these. This way I'm not spending my time in class re-copying the power point, but rather adding the important information to it.

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3,277 Visitors; 94 Posts

I read 99% of my textbooks, taped the lectures and found in our program it was pretty much self study. We had some useless powerpoints, some vague lectures, and the instructors wanted independent, self thinkers who were motivated- in the words on one professor, "We are not here to spoon feed you!" and "We do not lecture, we will however guide you."

I varied my studying--- read the textbook, make notecards, used a comprehensive PN NCLEX review book, then moved on to the RN, listened to taped lectures, stop the tape write notes, gather notes form the textbook.

There is so much info that the instructors cannot cover it all in class so plan on being an independent learner!!

Good Luck!

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1,076 Visitors; 9 Posts

Love the tips...keep them coming! I will be starting my first semester of NS in less than two weeks. I may be missing something but how did you get pp before class? I had a professor in A&P who e-mailed them before class but this was not the norm nor was it mentioned in our orientation. Is it standard NS protocol to have them available before class? I also found it very helpful. I am, like every other new nursing student, very nervous and looking for any tips or advice on studying!

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492 Visitors; 1 Post

""Love the tips...keep them coming! I will be starting my first semester of NS in less than two weeks. I may be missing something but how did you get pp before class? I had a professor in A&P who e-mailed them before class but this was not the norm nor was it mentioned in our orientation. Is it standard NS protocol to have them available before class? I also found it very helpful. I am, like every other new nursing student, very nervous and looking for any tips or advice on studying! ""

I am going on my second year in nursing school. I just want to let you know that the first month or so can be alittle overwhelming ( at least at my school). I just wanted to run away :banghead: but I hung in there. Please be prepared to be overwhemed at first but it will get better. So hang in there you can do it.:up:

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newbebop has 5 years experience and specializes in critical care nursing, ED, education.

2,529 Visitors; 82 Posts

As for getting pp ahead of time ... Most schools have some type of online interface (usually found through your school website) like "Blackboard" or "Angel" where they can post syllabus, power points, updates for class, discussion boards, etc. for the classes you are registered for. Even your traditional classes now can include a lot of "online" work.

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1,076 Visitors; 9 Posts

As for getting pp ahead of time ... Most schools have some type of online interface (usually found through your school website) like "Blackboard" or "Angel" where they can post syllabus, power points, updates for class, discussion boards, etc. for the classes you are registered for. Even your traditional classes now can include a lot of "online" work.

Ah, I never thought of that. We have blackboard but that wasn't mentioned at orientation...I guess I will find out soon enough!:D

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