Jump to content

I think I screwed up my first semester of nursing? Need some help.

annieelu annieelu (New) New

I'm doing the BSN degree which is 4 years, and I just started in september. This is my first semester and I'm required to take all the general classes first like microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. However, during this semester I've been struggling. In high school I had much more time, and I made all A's. After graduating high school and during the summer time I was not that worried about starting uni because I thought I was going to be okay, turns out I was completely wrong. I pull all nighters sometimes, stay up until 3am to study for a "quiz" that is on 5 units, study all day literally, not enough time to finish all my studying, and lacking sleep which affects my concentration in class since I always fall asleep in class.

I'm not doing that well in school either, my grades are everywhere. I calculated my gpa and it's around a 3.0gpa, not that great, I was aiming for a 4.0.

Anatomy: A (4.0)

physiology: B (3.0)

microbiology: B (3.0)

english: B- (2.7)

psychology: B+ (3.3)


Second round of midterms are coming up after my fall break ends, which I am on right now until monday. I have a physiology and anatomy midterm after the fall break and also an english paper due. I finished studying for my anatomy but I had to cram, and I'm starting to write my english paper right now, and hoping to finish by tonight. I have to literally sacrifice my english grade so I can do better in my nursing courses. And after I finish my english paper, I have 3 days to study for my physiology midterm, which I have to cram.

What I'm asking for is for help to how to finish the rest of the semester and make A's on all my finals, like please provides tips and suggestions I'm struggling badly. The end of the semester is approaching and I really need to pull my grades up a little bit.

I would also like suggestions for next semester, because I promise to work harder and change up my routine and the way I study.


Congrats on getting into the program!

I am a year or so away before I actually apply! From what I see you have quite nice grades, so you just need to push it a little bit harder. Studying is a skill, and there are so many ways to do it. You just need to figure out which way to study works best for you. From my personal experience cramming is never a good thing. It is best to study for an our or two each day for like 2-3 weeks prior to the exam. Also, make sure to take breaks between studying. While on the break you can either take a quick nap or grab a bite, make sure to drink a lot of fluids.

To bump up your English grade, find a tutor. At this point I cannot tell which part of English you struggle with. Academic writing is a very hard subject. Lastly, it may not directly answer your questions but I feel it still is important to mention. The way people learn is by building the mastery of their knowledge begging with lowest level of critical thinking to the highest level. For example, when you memorize terms in your A&P class, and then recite them, it is called Recall. Same like when you do multiplication table. It is the lowest level of thinking. Now that you can recall the terms, think how they relate to each other, what happens if... now you are Applying the knowledge you have to the real life situations. Think further: how human organ systems interact? What happens if one system is "weak"? What happens if one system loses an organ, who will this affect other systems, the entire human body? This is now Evaluation. Finally, put everything you learned thus far about human body and create new knowledge - Synthesis. I am sure once you are able to think on all the levels, you will improve your study skills, and do better in classes.


Specializes in Stepdown . Telemetry.

Forget the recall for now, you want to know how to make As on the finals, and you seem to already be doing great with the anatomy, which is where the memorizing comes in. Physiology is where it gets interesting, and you can't learn it with "recall". Start with simple physiology understanding. Use multiple texts and you tube if that is a good medium for you. Take the heart: so u memorized layers of the vessel wall. Unfortunately that is not what u need to know. U need to understand, by taking the process step by step. Blood enters the RA and fills this area. Increased vol will increase pressure, and pressure is what causes the valve to open to allow passive filling into the RV. Now pressure is increasing in the RV and decreasing in the RA, which will cause the atrium to kick the last amt of blood into the RV and snap the valve closed again.

That is the idea. Try to "understand" the pressure system that causes the blood to propel thru the heart.

My point is evauate what and how u are studying these concepts. Dont depend on the teacher. Nsg school requires a self-directed learner. You have so much more than the one textbook, use good internet sources...u can really learn anything if u know how to learn the particular subject matter.

On the note of getting As, I would suggest not putting such high pressure on yourself. Be thrilled if you get a B but actually learned something. This material is going to be relevant for your entire career. I dont get why your world will end if u get a B. I have trouble relating to the grade obsessed mentality for the sake of it, especially when you are valuing the letter grade over actually learning.

If your goal is to learn, you will have better chance of doing that, which will earn u a better outcome. If your goal is the A, you will learn less, stress more and be none the wiser over the B student in the long run.

You may need to "work smarter, not harder", the only grade that is really bringing your average down as of right now is English.

- What English are you taking? Writing papers is a strong point for me although no matter how good you are, it is a lengthy process depending on the kind of paper you have to write. Is your English grade based on writing papers, reading books, etc? The most time saving tool I find for papers was doing an outline of the whole paper. Starting with the thesis statement/intro, body of the paper, and conclusion. I put each idea I want to cover in order so that when I wrote the actual rough draft, I just had to fill in the gaps. Also most colleges have writing labs to assist you if your stuck on some things.

- Cramming is NOT a good way to study, trust me. Your mind cannot retain things when you sit there hour after hour, you need to break it up. I will study for 60 minutes then do a load of laundry/fold while taking a mental break watching some trashy TV. I will do that for 30 minutes, go back to studying, repeat.

- You are doing great in anatomy so keep doing what your doing

- What I found helpful for physiology are concept maps (Google if unfamiliar), it gave me a visual and reinforced the info by writing it down. I did it the major concepts like Perfusion, etc.

- I do not read the book word for work. I graduate in April and have approached all my nursing classes using this method and have a 3.96 in all of my nursing classes and pre/co-reqs. What I do is read the ch. summary, bolded info, boxed info, and the first/last sentence of each large paragraph. That's it -- I do not read the filler info. If I am confused on a particular concept I turn to web resources like Kahn Academy and others. Reading text just does not do it for me so I found something that did.

- I utilize Quizlet a lot and this could be a good time saving resource for you in anatomy even though you are doing well. It's online flash cards, I never take the time to write paper ones. You can load an anatomy picture directly onto a quizlet card and study that way

Good luck, just keep pushing till you find a more efficient way to study!


By using the site you agree to our Privacy, Cookies, and Terms of Service Policies.