Test Strategies for Nursing Students

After a nursing student has managed to complete all their coursework and pass all their training seminars, the big qualifying tests loom ahead. So many years are spent attending lectures, taking practical training, and working to support the goal of the future, that the nursing exam can become almost larger than life. Then suddenly it’s next month. That faraway goal is now a reality.

After preparing for the big exam forvso long, the first test for proper formal nursing exams can be a shock to the system. Perhaps a nursing student that did so well on their nursing section tests got comfortable with their study habits and just soldiered on. They thought the final exam and State Board nursing exam would be the same. Yet all too often, even these test takers are jerked back to reality with a non-passing result.  There is little room for error on the state qualifying nursing exams.

Many of the nursing students being proctored for exams are top-notch nurses wirh fine minds. Yet the competition for placement on occupational qualifier tests is more fierce for nursing than  in almost every industry, from aviation to veterinary practice. The bar set by current occupational nursing test programs are very high. The cutting edges dividing qualified nurses (who pass the RN test), and successful nursing students (who don’t), are very sharp. The cracks through which the nursing exam lets its student fall are getting more and more rare and much more fine every day.

Nurses getting ready to take their NCLEX or other qualifying nursing exams need to optimise every minute spent before the test. The tests have grown in sophistication and complexity over the past few decades. Nurses looking to see the highest and best score possible  should use some strategies to ensure the best payoff for all their hard work.

Nursing exam applicants and nursing students should tailor their test taking strategies to what works for them. Nursing exams measure three things: memorized medical knowledge, ability to incorporate that knowledge into medical nursing scenarios, and ability to perform virtual nursing duties in a number of imagined scenarios. The test crams the demand for problem solving and quick thinking into every question.

1. Set a game plan based on past test results.

Nurses must be honest about where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Look at what your study habits were when you attained your best grades.  If you have trouble focusing on test preparation,  consider hiring a coach. If you have trouble absorbing new material, think about getting a tutor while there still time left. Getting coached on how to study ranges or develop symptoms into therapies can boost your confidence on test day.

This is why flash cards and mere rote memorization of lecture notes don’t work. The retention from cramming  is too low to matter.  Many nursing students become insulated by good test score experiences and relax their discipline towards the last and most important nursing exams there are. Often the test results can be disappointing for the top graders or ‘teacher’s pets’ in  each individual school’s class or lecture section. The formal test for certification is much more tough even than your nursing final for your entire degree program.

Nursing students generally depend on their notes and test review sections to prepare for their tests. But test finals and professional level final nursing exams do not match this format. These tests are conceived as a competitive challenge.  Commercial test prep materials suggest a more credulous practice format and compatible test example for preparation strategy.

Teachers and lecturers are required to assign and cover scheduled amounts of topics and book material over calendrical points of time. But the commitment to master the material must come from the nursing student themselves. Just re-reading the book a hundred times isn’t test preparation anymore. By the time the final sessions of test preparation occur, nursing students must have absorbed the knowledge and moved on to applying it to likely problems or scenarios. Test questions will likely ask which of two of the most likely nursing  interventions are best.  At that time, it is the comparative knowledge of both quantitative and qualitative factors that are required. In addition to general practice knowledge. Nurses struggling to remember primary themes will be left far behind on the scoring curve. Make a folder for every area of knowledge in which you need a soup-to-nuts indoctrination. Fill this folder with research and case studies that emphasize key concepts.

2. Plot your time use strategically.

About a month up to the final scheduled test date, plot allyour time on a master calendar. Break down your study time into hours. If you have a job, consider freeing up enough time at work to achieve test prep goals. Working while distracted can throw you off your game at work. That’s when mistakes happen.

And a major incident at work can distract you from using your personal time for best test preparation. Because now your work rhythms are thrown off. Some time planning issues will have come to the fore. Time maximization is crucial at this time.

Review of study materials is essential. Nursing students should consider if the quality of their textbook is everything they need. Observe the results discussed by nurses attending other schools. Is there a book that explains things better? Often a coursebook can be the particular choice of the instructor, and not the most beneficial for nursing. Or nursing exam preparation.

When preparing for tests, the World Wide Web can be your friend. Join chat boards online and learn what other nursing students are saying about the quality of their own preparedness. Do students evaluate themselves as ready for some topics more than others?  Then identify which part of your nursing academic material needs a reboot.

3. Evaluate the best use of your time.

If you needed four weeks of additional chapter study and two weeks of terms memorization, as well as performing several weeks of part-time work, commuting, and/or childcare. three and a half weeks until test time isn’t going to work. Time management is key. Splurge for baby sitting and/or put yourself somewhere you can achieve a silo of concentration. Plan on less driving and unnecessary physical activity.

Many nurses try to take their current schedules into the test taking season. But the competition isn’t doing that. By ignoring time management challenges you let the competition get ahead.

Many nursing students respond to the freedom from lecture schedules as if they are on vacation. Suspend the party time until after the test. The need for constructive time management is too important. You can’t clone yourself and the pace of trying to do too much will wear you out just in time for the testing sessions.

4. Get enough sleep.

Nurses know from their studies thay shortages of sleep negatively affect diet,  sleep, temperament, concentration, and mood. Loss of sleep can affect short term memory and change in sleep patterns can erase the very mental sharpness nursing students need most for their tests.

Trying to stay up and force your brain to mentally absorb and retain quickly scanned information is impossible. Studies have shown that the human brain cannot accommodate these needs. Setting up the human body to fail during test time due to exhaustion. stress, or worry over preparedness is very common. Plot adequate meals, rest, exercise and sleep. Avoid crutches like caffeine, smoking, energy bars and junk food. These can alter your body chemistry and fool you into thinking yourself prepared by playing with your blood sugar. Make sure that sleep quality is a constant during your test prep phase.

5. Find A Study Buddy

A study partner can assist any nursing student to extend their study time and grow results. Students can put up notes at their school before lectures end or network during the session to get phone numbers of likely partners. Persons who have always depended on themselves for study results should not discount the benefits of active verbal  discussion of terms, examples and case studies. The active discussion can enable  positive  reinforcement of many important concepts and better enhance a student’s understanding of nursing course material. This leaves the test of their time free to focus on uniquely targeted “cribbing” information sets.

The grind of testing preparation can wear anybody down. This is not the time to get sidetracked! Both parties win by reinforcing proper use and discussion of topical nursing test subjects. The verbal intercourse with another nursing student is an efficient way for test prep to focus disciplined energy towards testing success.