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Problem with HESI (Paramedic to RN Mobility Program)

mbward mbward (New) New

I am a student in a Paramedic to RN Mobility Program. For those of you who don't know, this program allows Paramedics to bridge into nursing (similar to LPN to RN programs). Next semester we will join the 4th semester nursing students and graduate with them in December. This semester we have a 12 semester hour mobility course that combines all the content from the first 3 semesters of nursing school into 1 semester. Last year when they did this class there was at least 11 tests that consisted to HESI exams and Instructor exams. For some reason they decided to change the class and only have HESI exams. We are the first class to experience this. We have a total of 6 HESI exams, and it is the only grade we get. HESI's are by far the hardest exams I have ever taken. There seems to always be more than one right answer. When I look over that rationale after taking my test, none of the ones I get wrong and completely wrong. It will say things like, "while that is a priority, it's not the most immediate concern," etc...

The problem I am having (over half the class), is I am failing! It's so frustrating because I don't know how to study! I have the Saunders NCLEX book that I got about two weeks ago. I have been studying that and taking NCLEX questions. I'm doing really well with the NCLEX questions. We had a OB/PEDS test today that I was scoring high 80's, low 90's on when I would take a NCLEX exam through the program that came with the book. I felt pretty good about the test. I failed it! Again, we have 15 people in our class and I know of 9 that failed it. At this point I feel like it has more to do with test taking skills than knowledge. Our final is in one week, and I have to score an 80 to pass the class. This may not seem to bad, but my highest HESI grade is an 81, so I'm worried. If you have been through a similar situation I would love to hear from you. I need advice, because what I'm doing to prepare is obviously NOT working! HELP!

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 9 years experience.

Your experience is not unique. Lots of nursing schools use standardized tests as their passing criteria. Adjusting to the style of standardized tests can be difficult. NCLEX is similar to HESI, but there are some differences. You might want to look into getting some study resources specific to the HESI exam.

However, doing well on these tests isn't just a matter of answering lots of practice questions. It's about adjusting your thinking. It's no longer right/wrong answers and rote knowledge that you can memorize. Critical thinking is vital in order to correctly answer test questions. You first need to be able to read the question and discern what it's asking. Then you need to choose the answer based on critical thinking- ABC's, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, prioritization, etc.

Try reading some test taking strategies from Kaplan. That may help you approach the questions in a better fashion.

I totally agree with you.

I don't think these tests are a reflection of what I learned. I wish they took a different approach of taking the NCLEX, like spending an hour after class drilling NCLEX style questions on us rather than making it 25% of your grade. There are many good nurses out there who can't make it out because of these so called tests.

I had a hard time at first with these, but since I encountered them on my first semester all the way through the program I adapted over time. You are not alone in thinking that they are very hard. How I learned to beat them was by going to test taking skills offered by our school that broke down the questions and helped me learn to prioritize the nursing way. If your school offers something like this I highly recommend it. As you said there is more than one right answer. It sucks, but it's your job to pick the "most right" answer. In your Saunders book it has a chapter on test taking at the beginning. After you do that use the online NCLEX questions. Some hints: Prioritize ABC, then Mazlow. Another priority is safety.

If you are looking for another resource try ATI modules, I have found them to be very helpful.