Second time through Nursing School... hate those tests!

  1. I'm about to try NUR101 for the second time. The first time I withdrew because of how low my test grades were. I studied the material pretty thoroughly, and I have taken 24 credits of academic classes with a 4.0 average. I loved the class; hated the tests. My tests were usually 65-73% with a few over 80%. I'm shooting for all tests over 80%; the average needs to be over 75% to pass.

    Does anyone have any suggestions how I can be successful this time around? After I withdrew, I took a CNA course and am now a state certified aide at a rehabilitation hospital, which I think will help with my clinical experiences (which I actually exceled at).

    If I withdraw or fail this time, I won't have another shot. Any and all suggestions are welcome.
  2. Visit laxxrickLPN profile page

    About laxxrickLPN

    Joined: Jul '08; Posts: 37; Likes: 12
    Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN); from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in Rehabilitation

    9 Comments

  3. by   llg
    What resources does your school have to offer? Investigate that thoroughly. Some schools offer tutoring services ... courses on how to be a successful student ... courses on how to be successful in taking tests ... diagnostic tests to see if you have any learning disabilities that make it difficult for you to figure out test questions, etc. Talk to your academic advisor, research whatever "Student Services Dept." your school has, etc. Get all the help you can "up front," before you get deep in the course.

    If those types of services are not readily available ... at least get some practice tests and practice answering tests questions. There are books that provide sample questions and then explain why one answer is correct and the other answers are not. Those books often have sections that give tips on general test-taking strategies that might add a few points to your average.

    Good luck to you!
  4. by   Daytonite
    read the information and go to the weblinks listed on this thread: https://allnurses.com/general-nursin...ng-224581.html - looking for test taking strategies

    many times the multiple choice questions on tests are what are called application type questions which involve pulling knowledge of a number of different subjects into answering correctly. what makes this complicated is that you are not told what subjects to consider in answering. in general, consider: [font=arial unicode ms]
    • the medical disease involved, it's normal pathophysiological progression and the signs and symptoms associated with the pathophysiological changes. learn the progression of symptoms as they go from mild to serious to fatal. this helps you determine priorities of care.
    • priorities of care are also determined by maslow's hierarch of needs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs
    • know the medical tests and treatments that the doctor is going to order. know which tests and treatments fit which each sign and symptom (again this helps determine priority if you get asked which to get done first). some of these tests and treatment will impact the nursing care you will give. you can use my critical thinking flow sheet for nursing students to help you organize your study of diseases and their treatment.
    • know the steps of the nursing process. there are five of them. know which order they come in and what goes on in each step: assessment, determining problems, planning care, implementation and evaluation. each step of the nursing process is a link in a chain; ask yourself if the question is placing you in one of the link of events on the chain of the steps of the nursing process and what would be logically happening on that step.
    • there are many kinds of principles behind nursing actions (i.e., principles of asepsis, principles of osmosis, infection process, etc) that you need to know and sometimes pull into determining the answer to a question. this is where you sometimes cannot discount the science or math you learned before. something as simple as heat coagulates protein helps you to know that it is the underlying principle of steam sterilization in the killing of bacteria.
    • read the root or stem of a multiple choice question very carefully. i've read some of the instructors manuals on how to write these questions. they deliberately give you answer choices designed to distract you from what was originally asked because it naturally draws your attention to it. a mediocre student or a student who isn't thinking will opt for these distractive answer choices. if you've done your reading and studying you should be putting two and two together. nursing involves a process of logical thinking, not guesswork. if you are narrowed down to two possible answers, try to figure out from the stem of the question if pulling in knowledge of the nursing process or the disease process is going to help you make your final decision.
    • think about previous test questions you missed and why you missed them. teachers use the same techniques that "gotcha" to answer incorrectly before over and over again which is why you should always review your tests when you get them back and correct your reasoning for picking wrong answer choices.
    • bottom line. . .you always have to be thinking "why". why would this situation a question poses be happening to the patient? why would the doctor order some particular treatment? why would a nurse do what a question is asking? why? why? why? answer that, and you are closer to answering the question correctly.
    if something puzzles you--ask. ask your instructors or ask here on allnurses. there are specific subjects that routinely stump nursing students. i have been answering student questions on allnurses since 2005 and i can tell you that certain questions come up time and time again because the material is just complex and difficult to understand at first. some of the stuff we have to learn is difficult and there is a short time before tests to figure it out. perhaps some of us have figured an easier way to explain some of the concepts that might turn a light bulb or two on for you. can't hurt to ask.

    some instructors suggest that students purchase and use a nclex review book. most of these books give the answering strategy in just a few pages and overall it says what i just posted above. the instructions from kaplan (they hold seminars on how to take and pass the nclex) are weblinked on the looking for test taking strategies thread. these 3 websites post a free nclex style test question weekly to help nursing students hone their test taking skills and you need to return to their sites each week to get the new question and answer. if you copy each question and answer you can build yourself a notebook of test question strategy examples:

    from time to time a student will post a test question and ask for the allnurses community to discuss it. i keep a file of the threads with these questions. you might be interested in reviewing them:

    good luck in your new semester.
  5. by   dmfisher86
    I know the textbooks are expensive enough, but you should try some of those study guides. The Reviews and Rationales and Incredibly Easy! series are really good. They help to explain things more clearly, and they provide practice test in NCLEX form to test your knowledge. Even if you just go to the bookstore and use them there, it can be of good help. I work at a Borders, and we have a pretty good selection depending on the number of programs in the area.

    Good luck!
  6. by   JerseyN
    Hi,
    I am a new nursing student also. I have found this widget that sends new questions daily. Practice, practice !
    http://passnclex.drexel.edu/widget.aspx
  7. by   ZanatuBelmont
    Quote from laxrick
    I'm about to try NUR101 for the second time. The first time I withdrew because of how low my test grades were. I studied the material pretty thoroughly, and I have taken 24 credits of academic classes with a 4.0 average. I loved the class; hated the tests. My tests were usually 65-73% with a few over 80%. I'm shooting for all tests over 80%; the average needs to be over 75% to pass.

    Does anyone have any suggestions how I can be successful this time around? After I withdrew, I took a CNA course and am now a state certified aide at a rehabilitation hospital, which I think will help with my clinical experiences (which I actually exceled at).

    If I withdraw or fail this time, I won't have another shot. Any and all suggestions are welcome.
    Visualize yourself in your mind performing all the basic functions of a nurse. Follow every step to the book in your head. Remember, "seeing is believing."

    Purchase a Saunders NCLEX review guide and study from there. It is very to the point. I have somewhat replaced my textbook with Saunders and my grades have improved by 10 points (average). I made a 100 on my GU test, something I have never accomplished in Med/Surg. My grades generally ranged between 86-92 before I used Saunders. Now it's more like 90-100. :P
  8. by   laxxrickLPN
    Thanks for the ideas! All are appreciated!
  9. by   trying2banrn
    Is Nurs101 Nursing Theory? When I was in the program last year I came close to passing, but due to situations in my life it was the only class I did not pass. It was best to follow the notes we were given into the book. What part are you having trouble with or is it the whole thing?
  10. by   SolaireSolstice
    My main recommendations to anyone:
    -Show up to every class, every clinical, every lab. This is only as important as YOU feel it is, and if your outside life is more important, then maybe THIS isn't important enough to complete. I took a semester off when my husband became ill and I knew I wouldn't be able to put the time it took to do the work. But once he got better, I took time off from my life again to do this nursing school thing, because it's that important to me, and to my family. Yes life happens, but you have to prioritize. If you have a family, enlist the help of every able bodied person to help you get this done. I always say it's not just me going to nusing school, it's my whole damn family.
    -Take notes. Write it all down. Write things you need clarification on and ask questions AFTER lecture. Even if they have power points available online. TAKE NOTES. Don't tape the lecture and not take notes. You'll miss things on even the best recordings, empasis placed by the instructors on items by stopping and making diagrams for instance. Especially don't tape the lectures intending to later make notes and then never bother. Did I mention taking notes?
    -Read everything they assign. Then read it again. Do the questions in the back of the chapters. Take the quizzes that accompany every article. Keep doing it until you know the answers without looking it up.
    - If you don't know what something means (a word, a phrase, an abbreviation) LOOK IT UP or ask someone else. Don't just "wing it".
    - Pick the hardest patients with the most complicated diagnosis and look up the pathophysiology. Then apply the patho to your careplan and make your interventions make sense to what you can actually do for your patient. We cannot cure, we CARE for our patients. Curing is the doctor's responsibility. The medical diagnosis only guides us in what to expect as far as symptoms we can make nursing diagnosises for and use interventions on. Don't just buy a careplan book and expect to understand how congestive heart failure or COPD works and be able to apply it to the lecture test. Try to pick patients that week that will apply to the next test so you are doing your studying when doing your careplan. Look up every drug that patient is taking and figure out why they are taking it. What will the medication do to help the reason they take it?
    -Never believe that because you have some knowledge in whatever is being taught that you know enough and expect an A. I've been working in healthcare for 15 years before starting nursing school. I set aside any knowledge I think I have and I'm learning this from the bottom up. Yes I may know terminology a bit better than the average student. I may know how to find what I need in a patient's chart. But I suspend any thoughts about disease process and patient care when it comes to nursing school. I need to know this stuff to pass NClex, and I certainly don't know enough to pass it without nursing school.
    -Nursing school often teaches the perfect patient. "this is the way a patient will react when exposed to this disease, syndrome, medication.." you get the idea. Even if you know someone who reacts differently, when it comes to the TEST, you are taught how this perfect patient will react when exposed to this disease, syndrome, medication...Don't think outside that perfect patient. Just answer that question. Don't read anything else into it.
    -Don't believe you know everything about some particular disease even if you yourself has the disease. Especially don't think you know about a disease if someone you know has the disease.
  11. by   butrfli
    I have bookmarked this page bc I will need reinforcement on this subject throughout my semesters of testing. I'm one who overthinks questions too and I can't seem to stop doing it. I'm a analytical thinker and many times my mind carries me further than it should. Thanks for the all the posts here!

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