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In search of.... Viable Test taking strategies

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masai39 masai39 (New) New

Hello Everyone. I am one of the few male nursing students in my school and am new to this board.

I study intensely. However, when I take those exams :angryfire, the questions don't seem to match the lecture or the materials I am instructed to read. At the same time, I see people completing the exams in half the time it takes me and others in the class to do so.

Am I missing something? If so, what can I do to re-align my studying so it matches the angle the questions are coming from?

Hello Everyone. I am one of the few male nursing students in my school and am new to this board.

I study intensely. However, when I take those exams :angryfire, the questions don't seem to match the lecture or the materials I am instructed to read. At the same time, I see people completing the exams in half the time it takes me and others in the class to do so.

Am I missing something? If so, what can I do to re-align my studying so it matches the angle the questions are coming from?

I am also a first semester ADN student, and male. I was told by some friends I had in the program that standard test taking was no longer valid LOL The questions were in the form that you would see on state boards. As in critcal thinking stuff. No shoving questions and answers in your brain and hoping they come out right. You have to learn how to define the question before you can even consider answering it. Lot of us having trouble with that, especially the younger students who dont have much real life experience to help out. Not sure what the answer is, but your gonna have to learn to turn the critical thinking question into one you can relate to.

Hope This Helps

Have A Great Day

Jerry

chris_at_lucas_RN, RN

Has 7 years experience.

Hi--Just got my RN. I had the exact same experience--and it was pretty hard for me to adjust to. I already had a couple of degrees, and I've always been a successful student. This was a left hook (if you will) that came out of nowhere.

What you might consider doing is this: get a review book for the NCLEX (the licensing exam you will take in a year or so to actually get the RN), and review the questions that are related to your current topic. Find a book that gives you "rationales" or the reasons why the right answers are right, and why the wrong answers are wrong.

When you are studying, do you find you have "aha!" moments, times when the facts you are learning seem to come together to give you a multidimensional picture? That is probably what you need to work toward having more of. It's one thing to know the facts, but another to put them together and find you are inspired toward questions related to, well, other, similar related issues.

I got some help when looking through a book about how to take nursing exams. (It might have been specific to the NCLEX, I'm not sure--this was 2 years ago!)

Another thing is to befriend someone who seems to be doing so well and study together. If talking through concepts and info helps you, this might be the way to go. Good luck finding someone though. In my class, and others that I've heard about, there were plenty of people willing to accept your help, notes, insights, etc., but no one had time if you needed them. I hope this is not your experience, but intense competition seems to bring out the worst, sometimes.

If all else fails, and you do too, don't give up. Check out other programs in your area. Some of my classmates did that--it meant they drove about 20 miles further, but most of them--good students and good people--graduated and passed their boards. You can too.

Good luck! And keep in touch!

I agree get some NCLEX review books and always ask yourself why... as in rationale. They give you the definition but it is up to you to apply it.

Perfect answer. That is helpful... Also, on the students helping? forget it! I had one girl staying with me as she lived too far away and now that she isn't she can't be bothered to study together as she is too smart. She just makes up excuses and rationalizes I 'm not ready to study with them

I notice that you answer many posted questions and it is really great that you do that. In fact, I just posted a response but I just noticed it wasn't for this answer. I find that most people in our class are quite frankly rude. The teacher only responds to those students who don't ask many questions and get high grades, which is a low number. the rest she intimidates with: I answered that question in lecture, during lecture if you ask a question "get a tape recorder" if you are not one of the favorite few, and after school, I don't get paid overtime. Most of the students don't want to look like they don't know all the answers so they circle it and find the answer some place else. I think the teacher is wrong! She says it is her responsibilty to give the information and yours to grasp it!

The teachers love to tell the class how students they lost during a particular section of a module. Stress. In our school, they kicked out 2 students within 3 months of finishing, not because they didn't pass the tests or turn in assignments, no, they just decided they "don't have it together in their clinical notebooks". To me, they should not be allowed to do that. This program is too long and there are too many sacrifices. After we paid, they say that they can kick us out if we fail 2 tests in a 2 year period or for no reason except they want to kick you out.

Anyway, good study advice and I think I will take you up on it.

Hi--Just got my RN. I had the exact same experience--and it was pretty hard for me to adjust to. I already had a couple of degrees, and I've always been a successful student. This was a left hook (if you will) that came out of nowhere.

What you might consider doing is this: get a review book for the NCLEX (the licensing exam you will take in a year or so to actually get the RN), and review the questions that are related to your current topic. Find a book that gives you "rationales" or the reasons why the right answers are right, and why the wrong answers are wrong.

When you are studying, do you find you have "aha!" moments, times when the facts you are learning seem to come together to give you a multidimensional picture? That is probably what you need to work toward having more of. It's one thing to know the facts, but another to put them together and find you are inspired toward questions related to, well, other, similar related issues.

I got some help when looking through a book about how to take nursing exams. (It might have been specific to the NCLEX, I'm not sure--this was 2 years ago!)

Another thing is to befriend someone who seems to be doing so well and study together. If talking through concepts and info helps you, this might be the way to go. Good luck finding someone though. In my class, and others that I've heard about, there were plenty of people willing to accept your help, notes, insights, etc., but no one had time if you needed them. I hope this is not your experience, but intense competition seems to bring out the worst, sometimes.

If all else fails, and you do too, don't give up. Check out other programs in your area. Some of my classmates did that--it meant they drove about 20 miles further, but most of them--good students and good people--graduated and passed their boards. You can too.

Good luck! And keep in touch!

chris_at_lucas_RN, RN

Has 7 years experience.

Hi, Sylviamon--thanks for the thanks. I am only giving back what people on this board have so freely given to me. It delights me to be able to share and encourage.

You sound like you are going to my old (traditional) school--you aren't in north Texas, are you? :uhoh21:

In my class, I was the note taker. I didn't run for the office, I wasn't paid, nobody asked me to help. But I had my laptop (bought out of desperation when my hands gave out trying to keep up with the notes in Micro, A&P I and A&P II, all taken in the same two month summer semester), and I had been a secretary in one of my several previous lives. Let's just say, I type fast and very well.

At the end of a class, I had all the notes, and I mean all of them, verbatim. What did it take to polish them up and mail them out? Nothing, really, and I had a couple of people ask me for my notes. I'm not the sort to say, do your own, I mean it really didn't cost me anything except the time to organize us into a yahoo group (my email server would not let me send them out to 70 different addresses).

You would not believe how fast I became "persona non grata." I could not get help, I was the last to hear about last minute info. I was given misinformation a time or two.

But I wasn't the only one--some students, especially foreign nationals for whom English was not a first language, asked me for help, and there were enough that frankly, I couldn't handle them all. So I asked on their behalf, people I knew who weren't having to work so hard to get their A's.

You guessed it. "They aren't smart enough to study with me." I could not freaking believe it!

As for the instructor's shenanigans, yeah, I saw a little of that too. By the second year, I transferred to a school with more sanity, so I only heard about it from my classmates who remained.

As for the students, I think some of those "behavioral" questions they ask new employees now ("what would you do if you saw a problem, but fixing it wasn't your job?") in the pre-admission interview would help sort out the non-helping sorts. (What do they think they'll be doing in nursing, anyway? LOL)

As for the instructors? I think their damage is done. We can only hope the new crop of instructors (our "generation") is an improvement.

Take care--I'll be looking to hear from you from time to time!

But I wasn't the only one--some students, especially foreign nationals for whom English was not a first language, asked me for help, and there were enough that frankly, I couldn't handle them all. So I asked on their behalf, people I knew who weren't having to work so hard to get their A's.

You guessed it. "They aren't smart enough to study with me." I could not freaking believe it!

Good grief! And these people want to be nurses?! Do you know how difficult they will be to work with, with attitudes like that?

Part of what we do as nurses is teach -- whyever would they pass up an opportunity to practice those skills?!

I'm one of those "smart people" (or at least all my classmates believed that). :chuckle I mostly got Bs and a few As, but I didn't have any time to study, either, since I worked full time.

But I organized a study group when the woman who sat next to me went from barely passing to failing. Didn't really do much for my grade since my study time became the study group time. But I did feel hugely satisfied because everyone in my group passed, and passed NCLEX.

i have reviewed all of the comments. while i remain delighted that you have even taken the time to respond, i am troubled by all of the disturbing comments which so define my own nsg school experiences.

students in my program are also exposed to strict, draconian staff attitudes - with a multitude of ways to fail if you don't consistently meet their ever-changing "standards." like so many programs described on this board, our program also has this one mistake rule where there is only one way to pass but countless ways to fail - this one mistake standard exists despite the countless errors made by two faced-staff ranging from confusing mistakes during class sessions :uhoh3:, incorrect test questions, conflicting appointment dates, time or places, inadequate materials and under prepared teachers, faulty equipment and aborted lessons, etc. i can go on. it is a shame that we cannot hold staff to the same one mistake rule that they hold us to.

from day one, staff began pitting student against each other and continuously show a cold detachment and apathy towards the student body. all of these things occur in a program that charges nearly $8k per semester excluding the costs of such incidentals as books, rent, equipment, food, life.

the cumulative affects of staff attitudes and practices does nothing to encourage more to enter this trouble field. in fact, it provides insight into why the field of nursing is in crisis and suffers from a general lack of legitimacy. it starts right in nursing school. such attitudes and behaviors only serve to confirm some of the most commonly held stereotypes held against nurses. we see the same type of mean, cold attitudes in school that we have encountered in countless hospitals during clinical or career assignments.

for me, the only solution is to maintain my grades and get out because the best revenge against the grossly unfair system in my school is success

:). like so many others, my school does what it does b/c it can, always has and has no one to stop them. whew!

one thing is certain; i will not look back on nursing school when i graduate

:angryfire. they better not come looking my way for mentoring, contributions or anything else. i may not even go to graduation.

on the responses - i have a book called nclex review made incredibly easy. it is far superior to any book i paid a mint for in nursing school. i recommend it.

Go to school in California. My current problem is writing a Nanda and then supporting it, what the patient will do and the result. It is very difficult for me to get that mind set. I too take notes, only with a pda and keyboard. I type 74 wpm. Use to be higher. Yes, I have people asking for notes. Do you still have your notes?

Hi, Sylviamon--thanks for the thanks. I am only giving back what people on this board have so freely given to me. It delights me to be able to share and encourage.

You sound like you are going to my old (traditional) school--you aren't in north Texas, are you? :uhoh21:

In my class, I was the note taker. I didn't run for the office, I wasn't paid, nobody asked me to help. But I had my laptop (bought out of desperation when my hands gave out trying to keep up with the notes in Micro, A&P I and A&P II, all taken in the same two month summer semester), and I had been a secretary in one of my several previous lives. Let's just say, I type fast and very well.

At the end of a class, I had all the notes, and I mean all of them, verbatim. What did it take to polish them up and mail them out? Nothing, really, and I had a couple of people ask me for my notes. I'm not the sort to say, do your own, I mean it really didn't cost me anything except the time to organize us into a yahoo group (my email server would not let me send them out to 70 different addresses).

You would not believe how fast I became "persona non grata." I could not get help, I was the last to hear about last minute info. I was given misinformation a time or two.

But I wasn't the only one--some students, especially foreign nationals for whom English was not a first language, asked me for help, and there were enough that frankly, I couldn't handle them all. So I asked on their behalf, people I knew who weren't having to work so hard to get their A's.

You guessed it. "They aren't smart enough to study with me." I could not freaking believe it!

As for the instructor's shenanigans, yeah, I saw a little of that too. By the second year, I transferred to a school with more sanity, so I only heard about it from my classmates who remained.

As for the students, I think some of those "behavioral" questions they ask new employees now ("what would you do if you saw a problem, but fixing it wasn't your job?") in the pre-admission interview would help sort out the non-helping sorts. (What do they think they'll be doing in nursing, anyway? LOL)

As for the instructors? I think their damage is done. We can only hope the new crop of instructors (our "generation") is an improvement.

Take care--I'll be looking to hear from you from time to time!

i thought it was just me! ha ha! i have the nclex book too. i like it very much. are you using ati? just came to our school this year.

i have reviewed all of the comments. while i remain delighted that you have even taken the time to respond, i am troubled by all of the disturbing comments which so define my own nsg school experiences.

students in my program are also exposed to strict, draconian staff attitudes - with a multitude of ways to fail if you don't consistently meet their ever-changing "standards." like so many programs described on this board, our program also has this one mistake rule where there is only one way to pass but countless ways to fail - this one mistake standard exists despite the countless errors made by two faced-staff ranging from confusing mistakes during class sessions :uhoh3:, incorrect test questions, conflicting appointment dates, time or places, inadequate materials and under prepared teachers, faulty equipment and aborted lessons, etc. i can go on. it is a shame that we cannot hold staff to the same one mistake rule that they hold us to.

from day one, staff began pitting student against each other and continuously show a cold detachment and apathy towards the student body. all of these things occur in a program that charges nearly $8k per semester excluding the costs of such incidentals as books, rent, equipment, food, life.

the cumulative affects of staff attitudes and practices does nothing to encourage more to enter this trouble field. in fact, it provides insight into why the field of nursing is in crisis and suffers from a general lack of legitimacy. it starts right in nursing school. such attitudes and behaviors only serve to confirm some of the most commonly held stereotypes held against nurses. we see the same type of mean, cold attitudes in school that we have encountered in countless hospitals during clinical or career assignments.

for me, the only solution is to maintain my grades and get out because the best revenge against the grossly unfair system in my school is success

:). like so many others, my school does what it does b/c it can, always has and has no one to stop them. whew!

one thing is certain; i will not look back on nursing school when i graduate

:angryfire. they better not come looking my way for mentoring, contributions or anything else. i may not even go to graduation.

on the responses - i have a book called nclex review made incredibly easy. it is far superior to any book i paid a mint for in nursing school. i recommend it.

chris_at_lucas_RN, RN

Has 7 years experience.

Go to school in California. My current problem is writing a Nanda and then supporting it, what the patient will do and the result. It is very difficult for me to get that mind set. I too take notes, only with a pda and keyboard. I type 74 wpm. Use to be higher. Yes, I have people asking for notes. Do you still have your notes?
I have my notes but I just keep them because I don't seem to ever get rid of anything.

About writing nursing diagnoses, interventions and expected outcomes, what I used to do was think of what I would do for my patient, and relate that to the diagnosis. The objectives just have to be something the patient can safely do (no matter how simple, really), and which you can see, count, hear, etc.

I never had a problem writing care plans (which is what this is, really), but it got a lot easier (and maybe a little less fun) once I figured out that I knew what I was going to do, I just had to justify it.

Just a few thoughts...

Just because someone is an instructor...it doesn't mean they know how to teach. Because of the shortage of nursing instructors, people w/ degrees and no other qualifications are filling in.

From the profs perspective... some students screw around during lecture, come in late, don't take notes...then ask for the information, wasting valuable time of the class and profs. Now, given this, why would the prof want to help??

As a student, I find this type of student annoying, to say the least.

As a student, if I have an apathetic, not-very-good teacher, I still attend lectures, take notes, and if the teacher can not answer the questions, I look to other sources, ie text books, on-line, other profs.

My dh is an adjunct at a local college in physiology -- gets many pre-med, pre-nursing students in his classes. He is popular w/ students that want to learn, not w/ those just looking for a grade...

One student tried to file a complaint re the "f" she got... only attended one lecture, scored below 50 on all exams, did NO extra credit... and she thought she was entitled to a passing grade?? Obviously, nothing happened w/ the complaint...

ok, done rambling.

Well, just one more thing...And, for those of us w/ so many complaints about nursing school and the profs...are we willing to get additional education to make some changes for those that come after us...by becoming educators?? I am...

SJ

Pammie

Specializes in Med-Surg.

I am not sure what the problem with your particular friend is, but I will explain why I have the same problem as your friend. I have 77 semester hours with a 3.9. I REALLY wanted some of the students who were a sememster ahead to help us. I began to realize how difficult it is for them to find time, but it is so needful. I had some other students in my Fundamentals/Pharm class ask to study with me. Here is the problem I ran into. It may be a study session for them, but, for me, it turned into a tutoring session. I was so busy helping them to understand the material that it prevented me from really studying. What I think I will do this next semester is find a student (I have one in mind; the daughter of a close friend.) and mentor her. I will make a time to help her and any of her friends; however, I will not make the mistake of trying to study WITH a group of students again.

Perfect answer. That is helpful... Also, on the students helping? forget it! I had one girl staying with me as she lived too far away and now that she isn't she can't be bothered to study together as she is too smart. She just makes up excuses and rationalizes I 'm not ready to study with them

what can i say about nursing exam? off the topic but we all know sometimes we don't even have to study enough to do well if you get what i mean. i had one classmate that doesn't put any studying time only study with us during the study group however she does well! B's considering the lack of studying hours. there would be people like that makes you jealous. but as i learn during my 3rd semester in nursing school just get over with it. i had done my best! sometimes i would feel low but i try to think i really want to become a nurse - reason because i want to help people. simple as that. and, if i can't make it then that's not fair. so push i push myself to work harder and just do whatever i can.

in the end, i just graduated from this past semester! LOL.

so miracle's do happen!

i suggest: studying by yourself and then maybe a couple of days before exams do a study group. no more than 4people at least. make sure they are the people/person that study like you, same pace and etc. you don't want to tutor and waste time like that. that's how my classmate do her studying!!!

:balloons:

Pammie

Specializes in Med-Surg.

That's what I did. I studied on my own and only with a group the night or day before and small groups do work better.

I have made really good grades (3.9), but I am one of those people who have to puts HOURS of study in to get it. My whole life, with the exception of church activities (I teach a Bible club for kids-AWANA's-on Wednesday and teach Sunday School.) and school club activities, all I do is study.

what can i say about nursing exam? off the topic but we all know sometimes we don't even have to study enough to do well if you get what i mean. i had one classmate that doesn't put any studying time only study with us during the study group however she does well! B's considering the lack of studying hours. there would be people like that makes you jealous. but as i learn during my 3rd semester in nursing school just get over with it. i had done my best! sometimes i would feel low but i try to think i really want to become a nurse - reason because i want to help people. simple as that. and, if i can't make it then that's not fair. so push i push myself to work harder and just do whatever i can.

in the end, i just graduated from this past semester! LOL.

so miracle's do happen!

i suggest: studying by yourself and then maybe a couple of days before exams do a study group. no more than 4people at least. make sure they are the people/person that study like you, same pace and etc. you don't want to tutor and waste time like that. that's how my classmate do her studying!!!

:balloons:

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