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how do you study?


Has 8 years experience.

i need help, i need help BADLY!

2nd year of nursing school is whooping my behind. I never studied so much and i never did so bad in school as i am doing right now.

my problem is the test questions, thy do not just test the content, it's mainly critical thinking, and since they do not teach critical thinking, you're left to struggle on your own.

what are some strategies you can offer that help you do well on nursing exams?

what i do now ( and in the past) is just read the content and make index cards on the information, clearly this is not the way to go because it's barely keeping my head above water. it worked in 1st year, 2nd year is a totally different playing field.


Specializes in ED.

study from your lecture notes. if you are not sure of something go back and look it up in the book. keep making flash cards. they work !!. some people say that yes you are only studying facts but by next year it will all come together for you

Daytonite, BSN, RN

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

what? you've missed all the lectures on critical thinking? how did that happen? critical thinking involves putting all the knowledge you've had together and processing it. you really do know this. you just haven't put it all together yet. let me help you.

the basic strategy for answering critical thinking (application type) questions is as follows, you must:

  • know and consider the normal anatomy and physiology
  • know and consider abnormal anatomy for the disease in question
  • know and consider the resulting signs and symptoms when the disease occurs and how they proceed from mild to fatal - each sign and symptom can be related back to the pathophysiology of the disease
  • know and consider how the doctor diagnoses and treats the disease in question
  • know nursing interventions for the signs and symptoms you are being asked about
  • know the steps of the nursing process and what goes on in each of the steps and consider how they are affecting the question you are being asked
  • know and consider the principles behind the actions being done - there are many kinds of principles: principles of nursing, principles of biology, principles of chemistry, principles of physics, etc.
  • read the stem of the question carefully and answer that because the test makers try to trip you up by distracting you with conflicting information they give you in the answer choices that sounds good but has no relationship to what the question is asking for
  • ask yourself "why" a patient is experiencing some sign or symptoms to get at the underlying problem. nursing like other disciplines treats the problem/signs and symptoms.

you should review the information and links in this thread as well:

Yeah, we had a lecture on critical thinking, and it's a chapter in our Fundamentals book. Get an NCLEX book or a few and read the chapters on strategies - that helped me understand how to answer the questions.

There's a sticky on the other forum called "STUDY strategies"... I think it's on the Nursing Student Assistance Forum. HTH.

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