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Why haven't I picked up on nursing tests yet!???!!!

Before going into nursing I graduated with a business degree. After a couple of years in the real world and not being able to find a job I decided to give nursing a try. I found out i loved nursing and I knew instantly this is what i wanted to do. With no knowledge of nursing, A&P or any dosage calculations I hit school full steam ahead breezing through A&P and Nursing Math with A's. Now in my first semester of fundamentals of nursing and Pharm I i have hit a brick wall. My study habits and discipline are still intact and im making B's and C's. I feel like im under a microscope because I did so well in A&P and all my other classes my fellow students thought i was genius (I know thats not the case :rolleyes: ). Now everytime after a test I get bombarded by people asking me what i made on the test and everytime sure enough im so pissed off because I do worse than the people that made F's in A&P. How can i get a grip on these nursing tests! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I know what you mean, there are many students in my class feeling the same way. When you get your test back, look at the answers that you got wrong and see how you can improve for the next test. You can also schedule and appointment with your instructor and go over the answers that you got wrong. By doing that, you learn the strategies of the exams. My first test, I got and 84, not great because I only pass by 5 points. The questions I got wrong was from reading too much into the questions and not paying attention to the steps of the nursing process. I only got one question from not prioritizing.

Since I took the last exam, I have been practicing questions from Saunders to learn the strategies. You have to assess your situation, and come up with a diagnosis, make a plan and see how you improve on the next test. Good luck to you.

Thanks for the reply at least i dont feel alone in this situation! I have been in to see her once and she says there are alot of people that would love to be in my position and be up points but im not satisfied. If i wanna go on to get my masters my grades have to be there so i will just keep trying!

Daytonite, BSN, RN

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

you are being asked to use critical thinking, something that is often very new and different to most people. critical thinking is nothing more than making judgments based on facts rather than making random guesses based on nothing. to do this you are being taught to use principles of nursing and the nursing process. the nursing process is actually an adaptation of the scientific process. it is reasoned, logical thinking where each step of the process has rationale supporting it.

you should always review the questions that you missed on a test with an instructor to find out where you failed in your logic in answering. this will help you in correcting your critical thinking skills. many students also recommend using nclex review books as a way to become accustomed to the type of application questions that are asked on these exams as well as the questions that will be asked on the nclex licensing exam.

you should check to see if there is a companion website for your nursing textbook(s). many publishers have them now. within these websites are often nclex style questions and other activities to help with learning the material in the books. to access these site you usually need a pin number or special access code that your school gets when it buys the textbook from the supplier. your instructors or the bookstore manager will have these access codes. access to these websites is part of the price you paid for the textbooks, so use these resources if they are available to you.

here are a couple of websites that you may find helpful as well:

http://go.dbcc.edu/hhps/nursing/study_skills.html - study skills for the nursing student from daytona beach community college nursing department with some good advice.

http://go.dbcc.edu/hhps/nursing/test_taking_skills.html - test taking skills also from daytona beach community college nursing department. a couple of sample questions and how to chose the correct answer for these application type questions.

http://www.efn.org/~nurses/ - this is a website maintained by the nursing students at lane community college in eugene, oregon. for study and learning tips specific to nursing students click on "tips for learning" at the left side of this home page.

http://www.learningext.com/students/qofweek.asp - question of the week. every monday a question from the online nclex-rn examination course from ncsbn and it's answer is posted here on this page.

http://www3.us.elsevierhealth.com/cgi-bin/mosby/cdonline/saxton/question - mosby's question of the week from mosby's comprehensive review of nursing.

also, you should be posting in the student nurses area of allnurses. you will get more responses from student nurses, particularly about this subject.

https://allnurses.com/forums/f205/ - nursing student assistance forums

https://allnurses.com/forums/f50/ - the general nursing student discussion forum

I'm sure many nursing test questions do in fact draw on critical thinking skills but I think it's wrong to imply that the reason someone finds nursing tests harder to ace than tests in another field is because they haven't learned critical thinking skills in general. It's commonly understood that many nursing test questions have several answers that could reasonably be chosen (versus randomly choosing one with no reason) and the trick is to choose the best of the choices or the one you'd do first.

Having to translate questions (this kind of question REALLY means what would the nurse do FIRST, and this kind of question REALLY means what's the BETTER action not the BEST, etc) is NOT critical thinking. In fact, for some nursing test questions, the problem is OVERTHINKING the question, pondering over the various choices and scouring the details to figure why each may or may not be the right answer, when the point of the question is incredibly basic.

The best thing I can say about nursing test questions is that they better reflect the real world in terms of there not always being a clear answer and having to work in less than ideal situations. They reflect the real world in that your performance may not be adequately or fairly evaluated and rewarded and you can't expect the school or workplace to validate your accomplishments. They reflect the real world in terms of contradictory expectations. In school they teach one thing (lists of symptoms, all kinds of pathophys, all manner of treatments, detailed nursing care plans) and test another (what would a nurse do next in this situation where you only have one or two specifics to work with?). In the work world, management tells you quality and safety are most important but continue to ask you do more with less. Well, the last is a vent there. Just some thoughts!

amy0123, BSN, RN

Has 11 years experience. Specializes in MedSurg Tele.

I relate! I was there. I could not figure out the exams. What helped me was practicing questions on the topics that I new I was going to get tested on. I would use different NCLEX books from the school library and the library's at the hospitals that I did clinicals in (I saved money by borrowing). I read over the test taking tips in the NCLEX books and reviewed questions that I would always get wrong by going back into my textbook, (or sometimes I would use more than one text to analyze) and it helped. A textbook that I do recommed is Bruner's MedSurg - it was a big green text. For fundamentals - I used Potter & Perry, but I also used my big blue Saunder's comprehensive NCLEX text. Hope this helps


Specializes in ICU.

As we progress in the program we went from agonizing over the A to being happy to pass. Take the practice tests, attend the lectures, and do your best. Get to the point where you don't beat yourself up anymore. Good luck!


Has 4 years experience. Specializes in Med-Surg, Cardiac.

I feel like im under a microscope because I did so well in A&P and all my other classes my fellow students thought i was genius (I know thats not the case :rolleyes: ). Now everytime after a test I get bombarded by people asking me what i made on the test

That's why I make it a point to carefully avoid letting anyone know my grade and I never ever ask anyone what they're grade is. If you do well you feel like you have a reputation to keep up and it can cause envy with the classmates. If you don't do as well as someone else you feel badly, even if the grade was a perfectly respectable B or C. People stopped asking me my grades very quickly but I don't think it's hurt any relationships with my classmates.

I really wished I would have looked at some NCLEX review books toward the beginning of nursing school. It woulda helped tons just knowing how to find out what the question is really asking!

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