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I don't feel smart enough for nursing school. How do I pass NS?

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Hello AN!

Well, as the title says, I just don't feel smart enough for nursing school.

Ok first of all, the last time I took the core science courses (anatomy, physiology...) was 3 years ago! So 3 years ago was the last time I took these classes which are the most crucial and the ones that we take with us throughout our career as nurses. I just feel like I forgot everything about the body :( During that time, I was planning on getting into an RN program but got rejected and decided to go for LVN so that's why it's been so long.

How am I going to be in nursing school if I don't know anatomy and physiology? It's important. To work with this, I've been reading an anatomy/physiology book I have in hopes of me re learning everything.

Speaking of reading, another reason I say I don't feel smart enough, is that I am really bad at retaining information I've read. I can read a sentence and forget what it was about. Ugh! I understand that in nursing school there is a ton of reading but I worry I will spend hours reading and not remember one single thing :( Do I not have enough brain cells? lol seriously...

I've always been an A/B student but nursing school just scares me because I read if you make mistakes, or fail a test, you get kicked out. This is important to me and want to pass and graduate but how do I get through it if I haven't taken anatomy/physiology in years and can't retain information when I read. What if I make mistakes during clinicals? Anyone have tips on how to remember information better or nursing school in tips in general?

Like I said, nursing school is important to me that's why it is so scary for me and question if I am smart enough, I really want to succeed.

Have you ever taken the time to figure out what your learning style is? Some people retain info best by writting, some learn best by hearing or seeing, others are hands on. There are several posts here on AN that go over this and websites for figuring out what your learning style is.

Right now I am completing my prereqs, but one of them is a Pharmacology class which is a Nursing class. There is a lot of reading, one test covers about 10 chapters or so and there is a lot of information in those chapters. What I have been doing which has worked well for me is I use the Unit outline that we are given to focus on the specific areas of the chapters that I need to know. As I read through those areas I highlight the important information that is in the chapter. That way I can go back over the chapter and focus on the information that I highlighted. For me personally part of the way that I learn is by writting down the information that I need to know. What I do is write the information that I need to know down from the areas that I highlighted. For Pharm it would be the prototype drugs that we are learning, how they work, what they are used for, adverse effects, contraindications any special information that need to know. Basically get down to the meat of what is needed to be known. Also there is underlying physiology that needs to be known, which makes it easier to know what a drug may do or what adverse effects may be. So far this has been working for me with this class, once I start the nursing program and start taking other nursing classes I may need to make some adjustments to the methods I use, but this works much better than the method that I used in Anatomy and Physiology in which I would read the chapter through and than go through it again taking notes before class. While that method worked well for those classes it would not work well with the amount of information that is being covered in my Pharm class.

Definitely figuring out what learning style or styles that work best for you is the first step, form there I would say figuring out what modifications to make so that your time spent studying is efficient, that is if you need to make modifications. Also try to explain what you are learning to someone else, even if it is your pet. To be able to explain or teach something to someone else you need to have understanding of the topic also.

I agree with [COLOR=#003366]Leonardsmom[/COLOR]. I personally learn best with flashcards and by looking over my notes. Repetition works for me. I have to write things over and over again, or look at them constantly to help remember. Application can only be learned by understanding first. For example, knowing how the blood flows helps me to remember the parts of the heart. I also have live demonstrations from my teacher on the bones. I can only study for 2 hours at the most in one sitting. So develop your own personal studying rituals. You have to be comfortable with them. Sometimes I don't retain what I read either, so I go back and look harder for the key points. I have a study group as well, it helps me to see how other people view and retain information. Good luck!

I'm a visual learner. Went through school with minimal reading. I use ppts and lecture notes and refer to texts when needed but I only read the first week of each semester before quitting. Figure out your flow and stick with it.

I have the same problem, it's because no one ever showed us different ways of studying and we never figured it out on our own. Intelligence has nothing to do with it, there are dumber people who know how to study better. This is the first thing I will need to tackle before I go back into one of these difficult classes. There must be a very good book out there that can teach all about ways to study, I mean if there is no one to show us we need to get a book. I always wanted to learn but I found out that the good students were the last people who would share their secrets due to competitiveness. So, go with books that teach how to learn and retain.

I have the same problem, it's because no one ever showed us different ways of studying and we never figured it out on our own. Intelligence has nothing to do with it, there are dumber people who know how to study better. This is the first thing I will need to tackle before I go back into one of these difficult classes. There must be a very good book out there that can teach all about ways to study, I mean if there is no one to show us we need to get a book. I always wanted to learn but I found out that the good students were the last people who would share their secrets due to competitiveness. So, go with books that teach how to learn and retain.

Trial and error. You know at the very least, what doesn't work.

I hate to be the odd man out (actually, that isn't true, I enjoy being the odd man out) but to date there isn't a single study showing that different learning methods correlate with better outcomes based on the learner's stated preferred learning style. Not one. Go ahead and look for yourself.

What has been shown conclusively to work is using a variety of different methods to learn the same material. The more different ways you approach the same material, the more likely you are to absorb it.

I was talking about this with some classmates last night. I have a background in ESL teaching. One of the most interesting findings in language learning is something called Total Physical Response, developed by James Asher. Asher found that students who learned by actually acting out their material (in his case, commands from a language teacher) not only learned faster, but showed higher retention of the material months later. It's a bit tricky applying that to something like learning fluids and electrolytes, or different classes of drugs, but one thing I do is write out flash cards for myself and then walk around while studying them.

Always good to keep the blood flowing while studying.

Nienna Celebrindal

Has 12 years experience.

You are going to be reviewing a&p in school a since you know it's a weakness start working on it now. I recommend watching ftlectures on youtube. Several of my instructors in nursing school recommended his videos. He is fabulous.

I can't lie nursing is a lot to remember. But it takes time, a lot of time and you will never know it all. There is this idea that you go to nursing school to learn to be a nurse. But you don't. You learn to be a nurse your first year of nursing, where you will ask a million questions of your coworkers and repeatedly find yourself saying "I never learned this in school." Nursing school teaching you what you need to know to not drown or kill someone.

Don't be afraid, if you expect to fail you will. If nursing is your passion please go for it! Don't let your fears become a wall.

krrbrr, ADN

Specializes in OR/Perioperative. Has 3 years experience.

First off, keep your chin up pretty lady!!! You can do this!!!!!

Although I have not looked it up, from my personal experience I think Paul is right! I learn in a variety of ways, depending on the material and circumstances. Everything from flashcards, to rewriting (in my OWN words) notes, to watching videos on the subject, to making funny hand gestures to go along with things, to creating mnemonics (one of my FAV ways!), and also "teaching" someone else while in a study group!

Good luck to you PrettyNerd (love your nickname btw!)

If you have time and money you can learn anything. You need to factor in the hours of studying needed according to the hours of class and maybe add another hour to that, if you are just starting to get the hang of it you need more time. If you're worried about time or money you will not be able to focus (was my problem so don't make this mistake). Make sure you have the time and the money before you attempt anything. There is a saying ' For each hour you spend in class, you should spend 2-3 hours outside of class studying'.... and it's very true!

For each hour you spend in class, you should spend 2-3 hours outside of class studying

There are many learning styles. My favorite was to tape my classes. When I got home, I would play the tapes back along with my notes from school. This way I added anything to my notes that I missed in class. I then just listened to the tapes over and over again. I cover a section and tried to understand what was happening. The main thing was repetition, repetition and repetition. Your own hand written flashcards are also a big help. Whenever I had to wait anywhere like in line or doctors office or at a car dealer, this is where I took my flashcard and read them. You'd be surprised what you will learn. Study groups are also good. And if you have a good instructor-they will give you handouts with most of the pertinent information on them. Don't lose hope. Do you have your notes from school when you took anatomy and physiology? Go over those notes if you still have them. Since you know already that you have forgotten them, use this time to relearn everything. Don't stress yourself over it but take small chunks of information and relearn it.

I don't think anybody really remembers much from reading a dry textbook the way they would an exciting novel. I need to do multiple things with the material if there's any hope of it sinking in.

direw0lf, BSN

Has 2 years experience.

Just chiming in to agree with all these terrific replies! And i also wanted to suggest reviewing/learning medical terminology, that will help so much with understanding and memorizing stuff in A&P and nursing. My nursing school requires a class in med terminology as a pre-req. There's plenty of sites that will just list med term but if you can get a book or site that gives you problems to do I think that will help you remember more than just a list of them.

So you don't feel smart enough because 1. you don't remember hard material from 3 years ago and 2. you don't remember by reading text books. Sorry, that doesn't mean you aren't smart not even a little :)

I have had moments like that though where I think I'm not smart enough. My confidence has gotten better since last semester. But I thought that because it takes me a lot longer to study and write papers than my classmates. For ex I might start studying for an exam a week before, and my friend studies only the night before, and we both get an A. Or it takes me 2 days to write a short essay, and someone else 2 hours. But we all have strengths and weaknesses unique to ourselves. You will find you shine in certain areas that others may not, then you can help them. There will be people to help you too thru your own weaknesses.

BeachsideRN, ASN

Specializes in NICU. Has 2 years experience.

Google "you are smarter than you think" read about the seminar/book. Find out your learning styles and with with them.