Jump to content

Need Help with Critical Thinking!

Posted
by Texas13 Texas13 (New) New

Help! I am taking a couse called concepts and Application and I can't seem to get higher than a C on every test. The questions seem simple but the answer that seems logical to me is wrong. I've tried everything from note cards to studying my N-Clex book, reading the chapters over and over with the notes, but still I do worse than before. My instructor says that I'm not grasping the critical thinking part. Anyone have some suggestions or refrences that may help me out?

june2009

Specializes in long-term-care, LTAC, PCU. Has 13 years experience.

Have you tried the Kapplan nclex book. Most of it tells you how to take nursing exams and after reading the book and taking some notes, I have been able to figure out answers to some questions I didn't know baSED ON THE STRATEGIESin this book.

I also have purchased a book called "Test success: test-taking techniques for beginning nursing students." I havn't read it yet but You might try that. I got it off amazon for a few dollars. ISBN# 0-8036-1162-5.

If you previously haven't had trouble with academics and test-taking, then I'd suspect that your critical thinking skills are just fine. However, the way some people write test questions means that thinking too much can give you troubles.

When you've gone over previous tests, have you understood the rational for the answers and agreed with them? Have you agreed that your wrong answers were in fact wrong? Or have you had other interpretations of the questions and answers and wanted to contest your scores? If the latter is the case, you don't need to study more. Instead you need to revise your test-taking strategy.

For example, I saw a question that asked what you'd do before giving a certain post-seizure med to a patient with a seizure... I'm thinking about the drug, how it's administered, potential drug interactions... but upon seeing the answer choices, I could see my line of thinking was way off. I don't remember exactly what the choices were but it was things like keep the patient safe from injury, check for breathing... well, duh!... like I'd be worrying about giving a patient their post-seizure med if they were still seizing or if I hadn't checked for breathing & injuries immediately post-ictal... those answer choices are too... simple? basic?... aren't they? Depends on your instructor.

So you while the instructor may be saying you need to choose the "best" answer, I do better thinking "what's the 'test' answer"? Think about ABCs being priority, as well as identifying independent nursing actions. Has your instructor consistently focused on certain concepts on previous tests - such as the instructor repeating "the reason answer A is right is because XXXX - period!" even though there are clearly other reasons why B or C could theoretically be correct? If so, take that under consideration as you evaluate your choices. Whatever answer jumps out at you based on that, go with it and don't look back. If you start thinking too deeply, you might second guess the reason, change the answer and get it 'wrong'.

This is a strategy I had to adopt and it worked (annoying as it was!). It may or may be applicable to your situation.

Good luck! I hope you find a strategy that works!!

PS DEFINITELY check out the test taking strategies in a good NCLEX prep book. Being familiar with different ways questions are worded and set up can help to figure out what the instructor is getting at with their question.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

this is what you have been taught the nursing process for. the nursing process is a problem solving method and it works in all kinds of situations as long as you understand how it works. it will help you determine levels of priority as well as give you direction in your thinking process.

the most frequent kind of questions you are asked on tests are called application questions. this means that you must apply knowledge you previously learned in order to answer the question correctly. this previous knowledge may be from anatomy and physiology, chemistry, the pathophysiology of a specific disease or nursing principles. that requires thinking and processing the correct answer.

the beginning of saunders comprehensive review for the nclex-rn examination, 3rd edition, by linda anne silvestri has several pages where they give the strategy for answering application type questions, the kind of questions on the nclex. if you can't afford to buy the book, at least borrow a copy from a library and xerox those few pages for reference. there is also information on this sticky thread

Help! I am taking a couse called concepts and Application and I can't seem to get higher than a C on every test. The questions seem simple but the answer that seems logical to me is wrong. I've tried everything from note cards to studying my N-Clex book, reading the chapters over and over with the notes, but still I do worse than before. My instructor says that I'm not grasping the critical thinking part. Anyone have some suggestions or refrences that may help me out?

Ohhhh critical thinking.. gotta love it!:banghead: we always joke that whatever one seems the most wrong.. it must be the answer!!

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.