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Is it *that* hard for everyone??



I was a really good student in HS (albeit 10 years ago). Like the barely had to study because I retain most things really well type of student.

I started reviewing the PAX RN book and am still finding that things are coming and getting retained easily.

So my question is... are there any of you out there that pre-req's and nursing classes weren't the hardest thing in your life? I know that by no means is it easy but is it crazy to hope that it wont be the worst thing ever?

I think its like any thing....it's going to come easier to some people than other....the science prereqs weren't hard for me....classes are much easier for me when they are something I am interested in but I also have more motivation to study and work on them than the other classes. I am holding out hope that nursing school won't be as dreadful as I've heard....I am by no means expecting it to be easy

I am the same way. I have never studied for anything in my life and to date have a 3.9. However, that doesn't mean I'm not going to study for the entrance exam or think I won't have to study for the program. I get anxiety every time I hear people say "C's get degrees", because I certainly do not want to be a C student. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I know the program won't be easy, but it may not be as hard for people like us.

Edited by nlitened
spelling error


Specializes in PACU, pre/postoperative, ortho. Has 10 years experience.

Yep, at times it made me feel guilty how badly some students struggled to pass while I kind of breezed thru it. Others would be counting up the points they needed on the final to pass; I counted up the points I needed to keep my A. Not that I didn't stress over it, but I didn't spend endless hours studying either. I'm like you; I've always been able to retain info well (at least over the short term). I did most of my studying the evening before with a quick glance at notes right before class.

I also feel I had a bit of advantage though as well in that I had worked in a physician's office for many yrs & had pretty good working knowledge of a lot of terminology.


Specializes in NICU. Has 6 years experience.

The difficulty of nursing school will depend on your ability to understand critical thinking, delegation, prioritization. Nursing school is not about memorizing terms or concepts as you do in your pre-reqs., it is about application of that information and choosing the best answer (all answers could be right, but only one is the best). If that comes easy for you then nursing school tests will come easier for you. Everybody comes into nursing school with high GPA, so it is not that some people are slackers and have a difficult time with nursing school.

rob4546, ADN, BSN

Specializes in ICU. Has 7 years experience.

Yep, at times it made me feel guilty how badly some students struggled to pass while I kind of breezed thru it. Others would be counting up the points they needed on the final to pass; I counted up the points I needed to keep my A.

This was me, and I did feel guilty at times. To make up for it I was continually helping my friends and whoever asked for help understand the information. In turn I believe it made me understand the information better.

I cringe as well when I hear "C's get degrees'. It is okay if you do your best and get a 'C', but usually it is the person that doesn't put in the work or time and still passes with a 'C'. On the other hand a "C' in my program is an 85-78% so it isn't traditionally a 'C'. I just can't make a judgment about this, it isn't my place to do so anyway.

The worst thing ever? No, I don't think so. I can remember at one time I described it as the hardest thing I have ever done, but looking back I don't think I was correct. It is busy, it is always hectic but not the worst ever. Now that the stress is gone I look back and think it wasn't so bad. I would have liked to have less stress during school but I now recognize that I created the stress.

Even though I always had an 'A' I always studied. I think I spent 40 + hours each week studying because I was always afraid I might not get an 'A'. After every test I would always say I studied wayyyyyy too deep but I never made the change. I always studied. I should have relaxed a little and found a way to relieve the stress. I think I would have done even better if I could have relieved the stress.

So now looking back I believe I did it to myself so learn from me and figure out the best way for you to complete it.

akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 6 years experience.

For the most part, nursing school was not the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. That is because much of the content was essentially a rehash of things that I had already learned. This is not to say that I didn't learn new things, rather just that I only had to build on previous knowledge as opposed to creating an entirely new bank of knowledge. Hands-down the hardest thing (academically) I've ever done is go through a Sports Med program. After that, I barely had to crack open the book for my Paramedic program and only had to refer to the book for my RN program when needed for nursing-specific content.

I'm certainly not a genius and I don't have a phenomenal memory. I just made sure that I learned what I needed to learn and learned it well. My ADN is the 2nd degree I've ever earned. My Bachelors was my first. I had an extremely good GPA going into my RN program and I graduated with > 3.0 GPA. Yes, it's pretty much true that whatever your potential is going in, you'll get one GPA point lower exiting - "A" students become "B" students.

The NCLEX-RN was, however, the hardest exam I've ever taken. Was it bad? No. It was easier than I thought it would be. Was it hard? Absolutely.

Because people learn differently and may understand the material differently, there will always be people that seem to just "breeze through" pretty much any program you put them through. I'm sure some of my classmates thought I was among that crowd. I wasn't. There were others who seemed to know the material so much better and seemed to grasp it easier than I ever did.

I'm a HUGE proponent of "see it, do it, teach it." I'm also a firm believer in reading the material ahead of time (about a week or so), then re-reading the material just before seeing it in class, and then going over it again later. Then after you've seen the material and you've done something with it, teach it to someone else. This was you're engaging all the major ways people learn.

As often as I could, I took every opportunity to teach that came my way. I wasn't able to do study groups, but my clinical group was a good way to learn and teach. If you get the opportunity to teach, take it! I hope that you'll find yourself learning better and more concretely than before and you'll get decent grades, but most of all, you'll have such an understanding of things that the NCLEX won't be too much of a hurdle for you to get over!

Good luck!

NICU_Nightingale, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 7 years experience.

Nursing school is a whole new can of beans. I was top in my high school, wasn't challenged, duel enrolled and got my associates before my HS diploma, graduated with a 5.2 blah blah blah got into nursing school and am graduating in December and B's are as good as it gets for me (a few A's thank god) but the tests are different duh you've heard that probably a million times by they really are. I never studied before nursing school and I study pretty much every day now. My school has a 99% pass rate with NCLEX and good lord do they make you work for it. So in my opinion it varies by school- but it is more difficult. You have to not only learn it for the tests but for everyday afterwards (especially clinicals lol). Application and analyzing is key I think. Good luck with school :)

Thanks. I really like that teaching tid-bit, Ive always been good at tutoring and I think it will be the perfect way for me to better absorb the material. Im currently studying for the PAX RN and am waiting for them to let us know which books to buy for class. I will be getting my A&P book ASAP because I want to start reading it ASAP

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

I didn't think the prereqs were extremely hard. You just need to organize your time and study. It's not something you can get through without studying. But I didn't have any major problems. I think nursing school will be harder, but I think if you do what is required and do some studying it won't be too overwhelming.

I didn't find pre-reqs to be very difficult, but I say this as a 27-year-old with a previous BS. Had I been my immature 18-year-old self, as many students starting their pre-reqs are, I would have fallen flat on my face.

I think I'll be okay in NS but only time will tell. Thankfully my class load will be a little lighter since I've already taken most gen ed classes. I have always tested well. High school was a cakewalk. I flopped from time to time while working on my previous BS, but that had more to do with my maturity than the content. I have almost all As on my prereqs and didn't really study all that much, but it is all either stuff I retain easily (psych) or classes very similar to what I took for my previous degree (A&P... I took the animal version... same difference).


Specializes in Hospice. Has 3 years experience.

If it were easy, there wouldn't be such a dramatic fail rate. That's the thing I always think about when people ask, How hard is it? It's hard! It's a profession that the students are extremely passionate and excited to get into, so you know that the majority don't take it lightly, and are willing to work for it. Yet, there is still, in my opinion, an inordinately high number of people who wash out compared to other education programs. I read on here a few days ago where a fellow nursing student said it was a culture shock at first, yes, but it becomes your new normal. I totally agree with that. It's your new normal. So the key is adaptation.

I was a traditional college student. I not only enjoyed but excelled through pre-reqs. I ate up the hard sciences and found them fascinating.

OP, don't believe the "OMG, pre-reqs/nursing school is the HARDEST thing EVERRRRR!" crowd. Everyone is different. For some people, it will be the hardest thing. Others (such as myself) would go back and do it again in a heartbeat.