Dear Nurse Beth,
I graduated high school in June of 2016. I started college at a local community college right after starting in August. Ever since August of 2016, I've been working on prerequisites for different nursing programs in the area. I have applied to two schools so far. I have straight A's and even completed my co-reqs (which of course we don't even have to complete until after we have been accepted).
The reason I am so down is because I've been denied from the first place I applied to - my dream program. On our entrance test (the TEAS) I scored an 84, and they only took people with an 85 and up. I am a HORRIBLE test taker, I feel like a lot of people say that but seriously I panic when I take huge tests and I go BLANK and get extremely nauseous. Knowing this, I figured getting straight A's would help me in the selection process but I guess not...
Now I am about to apply o my second-choice program which requires the HESI to get in. I feel hopeless, I'm a great student and I want this more than I've ever wanted anything in my entire life and I fear my HESI score won't be satisfactory, holding me back from getting into a nursing program.
I cannot help but look at my friend who attends a four-year university in the northern part of my state. She wants to be a pharmacist and got into pharm school recently with a 2.7. At her school as long as you keep a certain GPA like a 2.5 and complete your prerequisites you can get into many of their programs (including nursing). I'm not spiteful of my friend, I'm very happy for her but I can't help but think is that the luxury of being able to go to a 4 year university? Not taking a huge test and scooting by with a low GPA into the program of your choice? I would go up there and join her but I absolutely could not afford tuition.
I know comparing myself to others won't make me feel better but I'm just down. Maybe I'm too anxious about taking my HESI but I mean come on. Imagine working so hard for a 4.0 and getting denied because you received an 84 and not an 85 on your test? I'm sorry I know I sound like a huge complainer...I guess I'm just looking for hope or words of encouragement. These tests are a huge factor on getting into programs in my area...and I know an 84 doesn't sound bad but everyone I know with a 3.8-4.0 at least scored a 92 or above so I truly feel my testing anxiety may be holding me back here.
Like I said I know this isn't really a question I guess I'm just looking for encouragement or advice
Dear Horrible Test Taker,
Different schools put different weights on the assessment exams, and with your grades, your outlook is good. Working on your test anxiety is important because there will be tests in school.
Recently I was working with an RN who had to take her annual Arrhythmia competency. During class, she could speak confidently to all the answers and I thought she'd pass, no problem. She failed the test. She had erased several answers, second guessed herself, and just plain choked. Keep in mind passing this test is required to keep her job, and she had only only one attempt left.
I encouraged her to focus on what she knew, not to panic study, and not to change her first answers. She definitely knew enough to get 85% (passing grade) and she just needed to remain calm.
Two days later, she repeated the test. I was hesitant to grade it, expecting disappointment. She got 95%. She said she didn't allow herself to get anxious.
I wish I had some magic formula for you, but you are obviously smart and I believe you will succeed.
Best luck to you, future nurse.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!