Everyone wants to know my secret to passing my exams...

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    Several of my classmates all semester long have come to me and all asked me the same exact question: "What is your secret to passing these tests?!" So, I will share my secret with you all as well, although it's not some miraculous magic and the biggest part is that you can still be successful with a marriage, a family, children, and a job despite what everyone seems to want to tell you.

    Everyone wants to know my secret to passing my exams...

    My program is a "concept-based curriculum," which means that the lectures for class are pre-recorded. You are expected to watch them prior to attending lecture and that time is used to reinforce the concepts with activities that you should basically already know. In a way, I have felt like this semester has been more of a "learn on your own and show what you know" type of program. This can be ultimately defeating if you haven't figured out a way to study that works for you.

    Here is what works for me:

    I read the chapters and other assigned readings prior to reviewing the powerpoints or listening to lectures. While doing this initial reading, I highlight what I think would be critical or important in YELLOW.

    Then I listen to the lectures and follow along in the textbook at the same time. Usually, my teacher will read certain points from the book. I highlight that material in ORANGE. If it is something I have already highlighted in yellow, I mark OVER IT in orange.

    After those, I review the powerpoints. If there is something that was touched on in the powerpoint but not so much in the lecture or my own personal reading, I will mark it in GREEN - but this is extremely rare. I don't really care for powerpoints to be honest.

    Finally, I review and skim over the highlighted portions and sum up concepts on post it notes that are left in my book and use these as an outline to study. It has proven to be very successful for me.

    However, with that being said IT IS VERY TIME CONSUMING. If you're willing to put in the work you may find it useful. I manage to find time to do it while taking care of my family and also working 36 hours a week. My secret to finding that time is to go to school early (around 8 am most days) and find a quiet study room to read. I will often stay late after class. My daughter doesn't have to be picked up from daycare until 6pm.

    So, that is my big secret and nobody ever likes to hear it. More times than not I am told, "Oh, you must have a lot of time on your hands." Not really; but I can confidently say that my current grade accurately reflects my time spent and my post-it notes have made studying for the comprehensive final simple.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 14, '18
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    25 Comments

  3. by   Workitinurfava
    Sounds like you catch on well, and not everyone can.
  4. by   mckamke
    This is such a great idea! I will most definitely be giving this a try. Thank you!
  5. by   ChryssyD
    I'll pass along a little study aid I learned as a tutor. Teach someone the material. Even if it's only an imaginary person. Get the information in front of you, forget how it might look to those around you, and teach it. Teaching another person, or even just speaking it aloud to a mirror worked really well for me, and I know it has worked well for others. There is something about verbalizing information that helps it stick in your head. Teaching a real person is even better, because that person may ask questions that challenge the teacher.

    Study groups in which students can pool their knowledge, ask questions, and get information from other people that may not have been clear to them are also enormously helpful. Best of luck in all you do!
  6. by   shlbtlr
    No worries! It really helps me out.
  7. by   Jen51685
    This is a really great idea if you have a physical textbook. I sort of had the same highlighting concept putting my notes in one color and lecture notes in another.

    All my books are ebooks now though and I really don't like it. It's not the same as having a physical book in front of me. We can highlight in there in different colors and make notes on our highlights but I'm still getting used to it.

    Nursing school is so much different than any other area of study! I'm the type that remembers things by writing them and making organized lists.

    Any ideas on studying from an ebook?
  8. by   shlbtlr
    I have both the ebooks and physical textbooks. I bought the package and paid more to have physical textbooks for this very reason. I have noticed while the content is exactly the same, the physical book tables and charts are set up a little differently to where they stand out more on the page than the ebooks.

    However, I study the same way with the ebooks. I have the option to highlight in different colors with those although I never use them in class. I literally only utilize our ebooks if for some r a son were using a book I didn't have on me or if I'm at work and pulled to sit and the patient is sleeping with the lights off and I can't see my physical book. It's just a little more annoying with the ebook.
  9. by   ctdfmags
    This is good advice for some, but my best learning style is to write the things down. Highlighting does NOTHING for me lol (*cries*)

    Sometimes I feel awful about leaving my daughter at daycare so I can study extra, BUT it's better than half studying at home and not being able to give her my full attention anyway until even later.
  10. by   shlbtlr
    Quote from ctdfmags
    This is good advice for some, but my best learning style is to write the things down. Highlighting does NOTHING for me lol (*cries*)

    Sometimes I feel awful about leaving my daughter at daycare so I can study extra, BUT it's better than half studying at home and not being able to give her my full attention anyway until even later.
    I use the highlighting to pick out what important things I need to make a study outline. This usually ends up with me making several different colored post it notes and then eventually transposing those into an outline. If I didn't highlight this first while reading it, I would think everything was important. Lol.

    Do NOT feel guilty about leaving your daughter at daycare!! I do that very frequently and if it weren't for that time I would not be able to study. She is two, and it would constantly be "Mama! Mama!" while at home. I know you don't like to miss out on time and yes it can have it's ways of making you feel guilty but just remind yourself THIS IS TEMPORARY and in the end it is going to benefit your family as a whole.

    I work night shift and I go to school, so I have to go three days without seeing my daughter because of my work schedule. I may see her for a few minutes between but that is about it. I remember one night when I was home, she did this really strange thing in her sleep and my husband just looked at me and said, "Baby, she does this all the time. It's not new." I felt so guilty that I didn't even know my child's habits because I had been gone so long (this was when I worked 7s - but still). I started crying and my husband told me that very same thing -"We don't get to see you as often as we would like, but it is only temporary and it will benefit us all in the end! Besides, she's too young to remember much of these hard times anyway." It gave me some relief but not much. I just have to remind myself of that, usually daily.

    Good luck, from one mama to another!
  11. by   Beanca
    Thanks for the post. It seems reasonable. I can do this!
  12. by   EdVedder
    Mommy guilt is the worst, but do not let it stop you. When your kids are 18 and you are an accomplished nurse that is what they will remember
  13. by   Eve8337
    That's is so true. I started doing the same thing after I had to repeat Patho/ Pharm I and it truly does work! I plan on keeping this method throughout the course of the program. I wake up at 3 am to study when the house is quiet and before work, or school. Even on the weekends I a
  14. by   JaszB
    Thank you for this tip. I will most definitely be using your advice for classes.

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