Are you ready?
Of course, you are ready!
Final exam time?
Preparing for the exam:
- You cannot memorize everything. Scan notes and texts for relevant information from exams, class, and clinical practicums.
- For any topic, focus on nursing care and use your imagination: What would this person look like? What resources are available What does the nurse do?
- Study material from the beginning of the semester first. This gives you more time to study what you do not remember from weeks ago and, if you really run out of time, the most recent lectures are still pretty fresh in your mind.
- When overwhelmed, we tend to focus on what we know best because it helps our confidence. Be brave, admit what you don’t know, and then break it down to teach it. Teach your weak areas to your cat, dog, baby niece, or other living being that will pay attention to you, but not confuse you.
- Studying 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there is much more effective than a string of all-nighters. Think of your brain as if it were soil — A little rain at a time absorbs well into the soil and makes the flowers bloom, a lot of rain washes away the flowers, roads, and bridges. Study a little at a time.
The day of the exam:
- Keep your stomach from growling and your brain fueled up with just the right amount of glucose. Eat a small, protein and fiber rich meal before the exam.
- Drink the same amount of caffeine as normal – more will make you jittery, less might make you foggy.
3. Avoid stressed-out friends on the morning of the exam. Introducing negativity or anxiety just before an exam must be avoided. Keep calm, and pass the exam. Really!
4. If you are prone to test anxiety, a quick morning workout or jog around the campus might be just the thing to decrease stress hormones and increase natural mood elevating endorphins.
5. Sleep the night before the exam. At least 5 hours is needed just to get through about three proper sleep cycles. You can’t make 50-100 critical nursing decisions in one or two hours with an exhausted brain.
Taking the exam:
- Rephrase the question in your mind, on provided scratch paper, or on the side of the text, if needed, but do not add or assume anything. Read the question as it is written.
- Eliminate distractions. Is something listed that the nurse can’t do or wouldn’t do? Is there a choice that has nothing to do with the question? An irrelevant age in the question stem? Get rid of those mentally or by drawing a line through them.
- Pay attention to details like “next,” “most,” “needs teaching,” and “first.” These indicate everything that follows is important and will happen, but you have to figure out which is the most correct answer.
4. Use good thinking!
- Maslow’s will get you pretty far, starting with the client’s airway.
- Expected side effects shouldn’t get your attention, but unexpected responses usually require action.
- Use the nurse’s scope of practice. The nurse delegates when applicable and calls for a team member as needed.
- The nursing process applies to everything in life. Assess if indicated, use data from the assessment and elsewhere to determine the issue, act when needed, evaluate your actions.
From NCLEX Mastery to YOU!