The semester is almost over so students in almost all courses, especially nursing students, are preparing for the dreaded final exams.
For some, there is nothing worse than studying for and taking tests. It can seem overwhelming, but if you start preparing yourself now, you’ll feel a lot better about getting everything accomplished.
5 Exam Preparation Tips for Nursing Students
1. Identify what you know and what you don’t know
Remember that you were given a whole semester to learn the concepts that are to come out on the final exams, however, not everything that has been taught will be retained. To avoid wasting precious study time reading a whole textbook or studying something that you already know, try to recount what you remember on a certain concept and just browse a bit on that part. Use your in class tests and quizzes as a guide on the topics you know best and worst. Take special note, also, of any class topics and lectures you may have missed during the semester.
What I did was take each chapter in the text and jump to the practice tests at the end and answer the questions to assess how much I know. After answering the practice test, I took the questions that I got wrong or those that I was unsure of and those were the sections on which I spent the most time.
2. Study groups vs Studying solo
If you’re the kind of person who learns more through interaction, then join or form a study group. You should have an arbiter or someone who will make sure that the group stays on track and not end up talking about other things unrelated to studying for the finals. Here is an article on 6 tips to forming your nursing school study group.
If you’re planning to study solo, make sure to pick a place where there are no distractions and keep away from things that can disrupt your study time.
3. Set a realistic study plan
Make a commitment to put in at least an hour a day to study. It’s a lot easier to study an hour everyday than to hold off until the weekend and plan to study the whole day. Don’t stress yourself about the upcoming exams. Mild anxiety is good and widens your perceptual field but more than that leads to mental block. Plan several study sessions. Cramming an entire semester into one study session does not work.
4. Select a study method that fits you best
Each student has a different learning style. If you’re a visual learner, go for flashcards and images. If you’re more on the auditory type, search for resources that provide short but loaded information, like podcasts or recorded lectures. You’ll find all of the Nursing Show episodes listed here.
5. Take Breaks
While studying, don’t forget to take occasional breaks. Most experts agree that we learn best in shorter bursts. Aim for studying for 40 – 50 minutes and then take a break for 10 to 15 minutes. Get up and walk around, get something to drink or a snack, check out or update your Facebook status, text a friend to see how their studying is going.
Use a timer with an audible alarm tone to keep you on schedule for both breaks and study sessions. You will find that you are learning more and also feeling more rested.
Bonus Tip – #6
Be well rested for the exam day
Getting enough rest by adequate sleep and maintaining a balanced diet keeps your mind sharp and alert. Nothing beats being physically ready for an exam. Like I’ve said earlier, cramming doesn’t work and studying and staying up all night before the exams will do more harm than good.
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