What's the magic formula?

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Racking My Brains: How do you prepare for exams?

I came in to nursing school wanting to apply years of hands on experience, public health experience, and research. I made all A's up to this point in prerequisites. I scored in the hugh 88 on the TEAS. I also have several degrees before coming into this program. I am in my first semester and I have found I am experiencing a road block. The more I study from the lectures, practice questions from the instructors, ATI online, ATI books, the textbook and online resources from the textbook the worse I do on the actual exams. Sure I get more than a majority of these correct, I read through the rationales and take notes.  If I do not study, I feel like I am not prepared and I am anxious when coming into the exam. I have also approached my instructors and I have received mixed messages from "you'll be fine" to "well obviously you don't know the material". I have also been ignored when approaching instructors in this topic.

So here is my question to you all, what is going on!? Is there a magic formula? I have also used Kaplan review books, YouTube, Made Incredibly Easy books, Saunders, and Davis to study.

Specializes in ED RN, Firefighter/Paramedic.
On 11/23/2022 at 8:24 AM, Julia C. Greer said:

I came in to nursing school wanting to apply years of hands on experience, public health experience, and research. I made all A's up to this point in prerequisites. I scored in the hugh 88 on the TEAS. I also have several degrees before coming into this program. I am in my first semester and I have found I am experiencing a road block. The more I study from the lectures, practice questions from the instructors, ATI online, ATI books, the textbook and online resources from the textbook the worse I do on the actual exams. Sure I get more than a majority of these correct, I read through the rationales and take notes.  If I do not study, I feel like I am not prepared and I am anxious when coming into the exam. I have also approached my instructors and I have received mixed messages from "you'll be fine" to "well obviously you don't know the material". I have also been ignored when approaching instructors in this topic.

So here is my question to you all, what is going on!? Is there a magic formula? I have also used Kaplan review books, YouTube, Made Incredibly Easy books, Saunders, and Davis to study.

The secret is to stop caring about your grades, as long as you're passing.  I entered RN school with 20 years of healthcare experience and a bachelors degree with honors and I was a very "grades matter" kinda guy. 

I struggled hard in RN school.  I was studying longer and harder than I ever had and was getting Cs and Bs on my exams.  This stressed me out greatly in the beginning, but I learned to move past it.

It will get easier to learn the flow of your programs exam questions and what they're looking for.  You'll get the hang of what info in each chapter to pay attention to, and you'll find which study guides help.  Until that point, just pass - no one cares what your GPA was in RN school.

londonflo

2,342 Posts

Specializes in oncology. Has 46 years experience.
On 11/23/2022 at 7:24 AM, Julia C. Greer said:

years of hands on experience, public health experience, and research. I made all A's up to this point in prerequisites. I scored in the hugh 88 on the TEAS.

You do realize, I hope, that you are in a classroom of many others who have achievements similar to  yours. Nursing education is very competitive. The person on either side of you during tests has also competed for their seats. 

On 11/23/2022 at 7:11 PM, FiremedicMike said:

The secret is to stop caring about your grades, as long as you're passing.

Keep caring but realize who are in the population you are with. Since I have found all RN students enter nursing education wanting to become NPs in the future, (and I doubt you are the exception,) achieve grades keeping with that aspiration. But the most important part is your application of the concepts, attitude and skills to a nursing situation. Best wishes to your future. If you were admitted, the college has determined you are able to meet the goals of becoming a registered nurse.

Specializes in CNA, Nursing Student. Has 2 years experience.

Learning how to eliminate answers is what has seemed to help me the most. Usually, one is blatantly wrong. Then, there is another you can eliminate and the 3rd will be similar to that (for instance, both involve perfusion), leaving only one choice (if it is a multiple choice). For SATA, you have to look at each answer as either right OR wrong and eliminate them accordingly. Any answer involving nontherapeutic communication is WRONG and easy to eliminate. Definitely know therapeutic vs nontherapeutic. For scope of practice, remember that CNA's cannot delegate, assess, or teach so eliminate anything involving those choices. For prioritization questions (which patient to see first), remember to figure out which one is happening NOW aka this is acute and needs to be addressed first. Hope this helps, sorry if ya already know this stuff! I'm just a student so still learning how to succeed myself.

NICU Guy, BSN, RN

4,083 Posts

Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience.
On 11/23/2022 at 8:24 AM, Julia C. Greer said:

I came in to nursing school wanting to apply years of hands on experience, public health experience, and research.

Do you think that this might be the issue. You may be applying your previous knowledge to test questions. There is a saying in Nursing "NCLEX is not real life". Tests are based on information in lectures and textbooks. If you are using past experiences and knowledge to answer test questions, that may be your problem.

aok7, NP

117 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

practice answering test questions