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Test Taking Tips

Students   (2,409 Views | 15 Replies)

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Do you have any tied and true tips for taking tests?

What do you do when you can't recall the correct answer? (Assume this is a multiple choice test)

List it all ... from what you do the night before ... to the day of ... to during the test itself.

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mitchsmom specializes in OB, lactation.

1,907 Posts; 7,992 Profile Views

I take notes and record the lectures, then relisten in the car on the way home (very long commute). I think it really helps retention from the get-go. When test time comes I type up a quiz sheet (columns usually, so I can fold it over to reveal the answer). I also make a quiz on the tape recorder to listen to in general if I do it far enough in advance, and especially to listern to on the way to the exam (remember, long commute, almost 2 hours).

I am also a big flashcard person, so it's either the quiz sheet or flashcards (sort of the same thing in a different format). I think the process of *making* them is half the learning benefit right there. If I can't explain the stuff to another person then I don't consider myself knowing it well enough. Sometimes you think you do and then you speak to explain it and it doesn't come out.

What do you do when you can't recall the correct answer? (Assume this is a multiple choice test)

Process of elimination! There are usually at least a couple that are obviously wrong, then you just decide between the two that are left. I am not so good at it though, I tend to read WAY too much into test questions!!

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931 Posts; 5,055 Profile Views

To answer your question:

1. Analyze your instructors. As you get to know them, you can tell what they feel is important by the way they lecture. ie.. My Peds instructor would repeat something more than once and not in a real obviouse way. You had to really be paying attention in lecture to catch that she said something twice. When she said something twice, I would highlight it and write test question beside it in my notes. Then when it came time for the test I knew that she might have 17 out of 50 questions on an exam and at times I would have about 12 things highlighted and therefore have 12 of the test questions. We also had another instructor who was diabetic and had a Chinese sister-in-law, so if she taught anything about culture or diabetes we knew thats where we had to focus our attention on studying. Getting to know your instructors and whats important to them is a huge help when studying. Also watch and listen for clues in lecture and highlight things that each instructor stresses. Take good notes and ask questions.

2. Be familiar with your notes read them at least several times a day. Don't waste time by reading the whole 850 assigned pages in the book. Only read what you don't understand.

3. Two weeks before the test get into hardcore studying. Study Study Study your notes. Read in the text only to clarify what you don't understand. Go to each individual instructors with specific questions that you may have. Start doing practice questions from a good NCLEX book on the material that you are going to be tested on.

4. One week before the test get with 2 or 3 other good students and brainstorm in a study group. Anymore than a few people turns into a party. The goal to working with a study group is that everyone must have studied the material on their own first and then you can all quiz each other and help out each others weaker topics.

5. The day before the test only briefly look over the material because you already know it. Only focus on something that you are having difficulty with. Eat 3 well balanced meals this day no junk or soda (the caffine will keep you up). In the evening take a nice long relaxing bath and get to bed early. I have to admit I sometimes take Benadryl in order to fall asleep because for me thats the hardest part is getting to bed the night before. Say a prayer at bedtime.

6. The morning of the test wear your most comfortable clothes and I usually met with my study group at a Eat n Park and we'd have a good breakfast. Breakfast is so important.

7. Don't get to the test early. There will be people freaking out even crying sometimes, so wait in the car if you have to until a few minutes before the test is to begin. Others anxiety may rub off on you.

8. Get to your seat and have 2 pencils with you. Close your eyes take deep breaths and tell yourself "I know this" over and over again. When you get the test and you don't know an answer to one of the questions skip it and move on. I only do the questions that I am 100% positive of at first and then I use my time on the difficult choices. If I don't know the answer I may look at one of the instructors and visualize her lecturing to see if it comes to me. Always cross out the answers you know are incorrect this will narrow your options and when you are left with two think ABC's, Maslow, common sense and what will cause the least trauma to the patient. If you find yourself getting flustered close you eyes again take a deep breath and tell yourself "I know this" and it will calm you again. Ear plugs also help if your distracted by sounds.

9. After the test go complain to everyone else that the instructors are all on drugs and you have no idea where they found those questions from (this has happened after every test I've ever taken in nursing school). Don't listen to everyone elses rationale and why they picked this answer and so on. Don't go asking everyone what did you get for this and why would you have picked that. This gets to be so old and people will argue and actually get into heated arguements. The truth is no one will really know what the right answer was until the tests are handed back so don't get caught up in it.

10. When you get your exam back if you did great thats wonderful, but don't broadcast your grade and don't ask everyone else what their grade was. Just smile and say you did fine. If you did poorly you have to forget about it. Everyone has a bad test in nursing school. You cannot dwell on it. Then analyze you study routine and make changes. I honestly have had to change the way I studied 3 times since I started nursing school. I have found what I listed above works best for me but that may not be the case for you. You'll know after you get your grade if your study habits are working and if not change them quickly.

Well you said you wanted to know everything. I realize I just wrote a novel, but I hope it helps. It has helped me out. I am entering my final year of nursing school this fall and it's taken me quite awile to perfect my method. Best of luck to you. Let us know how it goes.

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249 Posts; 4,495 Profile Views

when I was in nursing school, I studied from the NCLEX books. Anything that is important and you need to know about a procedure, or disease or side effect of a med will be in there in a list. I also used the CE on the internet and in nursing magazines. It has all the important facts that you need to know. study in chunks.Janice

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mariedoreen has 3 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg.

819 Posts; 4,252 Profile Views

Jen2: Awesome post, thanks for all the info. Was a wonderful novel and I'm glad I read it! My fav tho:

9. After the test go complain to everyone else that the instructors are all on drugs and you have no idea where they found those questions from.

:roll

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truern specializes in Telemetry & Obs.

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jen2 gave you some really great advice....all i can add is if you're going to have a final in a class, make sure to highlight test questions in a different color in your notes immediately after the test so when it's time for the final you can remember what was on previous tests.

and she's right on the money about repeating info more than once....it's almost a given that it's test material :)

or sometimes the instructor will say something like "you'd want to be really really sure to do "this" in that situation"...anything they emphasize is sure to be seen again.

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michelle95 specializes in Geriatrics, DD, Peri-op.

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I try to study some in the classroom that I have a test in. For some reason, this helps a little...and research has shown it.

Oh, and add that caffeine makes you more alert and helps your remember, or so I've heard.

I'm down with all the novelist wrote. :chuckle

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931 Posts; 5,055 Profile Views

make sure to highlight test questions in a different color in your notes immediately after the test so when it's time for the final you can remember what was on previous tests.

This is some awesome advice. I'm going to have to add this one to my novel. I never thought of this one before. I will start doing this this upcomming fall semester. I love this thread. Keep em comming.

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33 Posts; 1,357 Profile Views

WOW! Great advice ... loved the novel!

I thought I knew all the tricks, but this proves that there's a lot of different tips and tricks out there. I have an anatomy midterm in 7 days (and counting!). Let's see ... study ... sleep ... eat ... bath ... relax ... earplugs ... oh yah and remember everything!

I love it! Keep those ideas coming.

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178 Posts; 3,113 Profile Views

wonderful post!!! i'm so glad to had read it since it's my final semester as well. def, good to have some pointers...

i had to change a lot of my studying habits from time to time. let me add that my instructor told us to "know this and know that" and sadly she was turning out brains around. nothing was on the exam when she said know this and that! so luckily i made it through last semester. she was driving me insane. however, thats just one case but im planning to do it this coming fall. i tried studying drugs on paper but it didn't work! so i used index cards and made sure i knew 27 drugs on the final for sure! just keep testing and making silly sentences to remember them! try to look for something unqiue about this disease or anything. assessment for signs and symptoms on illness. look and compare all the illness what will trigger a nurse to think this pt has this i think?

chew gum on test days. fresh breath and a lot more o2 to the brain.

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33 Posts; 1,357 Profile Views

chew gum on test days. fresh breath and a lot more o2 to the brain.

I can see the fresh breath thing, but are you serious about the O2?:)

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931 Posts; 5,055 Profile Views

I heard that eating something salty like pretzels before a test helps with the electrical impulses in the brain. Not sure if it's true or not but worth trying.

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