How to Prepare For Nursing Exams

Nursing exams can be the most challenging event to prepare for in nursing school. There is always such a broad content matter that you are expected to understand for each exam. As a nursing student, you're not only building a strong foundation for your future career but also navigating a sea of information that can be difficult to decipher what will be on your exam. To excel, it's crucial to adopt effective study habits that go beyond memorization. Here are three invaluable practices that can help you prepare for nursing school exams and emerge as a knowledgeable, confident, and competent nurse.

Study Content BEFORE the Lectures

Lecture slides provided by your instructors are your gateway to the upcoming topics. If you take notes and study the material BEFORE the lectures that go over the content matter, you are allowing yourself the opportunity to review your studying materials and avoid being introduced to the study material. What does this do? Well, during your lecture you can now study what the instructor is doing rather than trying to stay caught up by taking notes in class. If you observe what and how the instructor is going over the material, you will be able to not only get a deeper understanding of the notes you already took, but also you will be able to condense your notes down to what was covered during the lecture.  

Lastly, this proactive approach allows you to grasp the key concepts and major points in advance. As you peruse the slides, jot down preliminary notes, questions, and any areas you find challenging. This preparation not only makes the lecture more engaging but also helps you to participate actively, ask relevant questions, and solidify your understanding. This simple habit will make a significant difference in your ability to grasp difficult material and help you focus on what matters coming up on your exam.

Concept Mapping: Understanding the Why

The vast array of diseases, treatments, and interventions in nursing can be overwhelming. Enter concept mapping, a powerful technique that helps you connect the dots and organize complex information. Create visual representations of different diseases, their symptoms, risk factors, and related nursing interventions by using a standardized template. This technique enhances your ability to see the big picture, enabling you to comprehend the interplay between various elements. By mastering the art of concept mapping, you'll gain a holistic understanding of healthcare scenarios, making you better equipped to answer the style of questions presented in your nursing exams.

Download our free Patho Concept Map Template Here

Practice Questions: Understanding Nursing Scenario Questions

Understanding the theoretical aspects of nursing is essential, but the true test lies in your ability to apply that knowledge in real-world scenarios. Incorporate practice questions into your study routine to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Seek out nursing exam question banks, textbooks, or online resources that offer a variety of questions related to different disease scenarios. These practice questions not only help you reinforce your memory but also train your mind to critically analyze situations and select the most appropriate answer to each question. As you might know, nursing exams are rarely going to give you a straightforward question. Most of the time, the questions will challenge your ability to connect the dots from the knowledge you learned in lecture by giving you scenarios. To get better at reading through scenarios and finding the correct answer, it is best practice to do as many practice questions as possible. Additionally, reading the rationales to the answers to get good at understanding the why to the answers is essential to your success in nursing school. Answering nursing exam questions is a skill beyond what you know or understand from lectures. You might know everything about the content matter, but if you are not good at applying the knowledge from nursing scenario questions, you will not perform well on your exams. Doing NCLEX style practice questions specific to what each exam covers while you are in school is vital to your success to pass nursing exams.  

In conclusion, excelling in nursing school exams requires more than just memorization. By adopting these three essential habits—pre-lecture preparation, concept mapping, and practice questions—you'll elevate your learning experience and become successful with your nursing exams.

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Written By: 

Will Kirkpatrick, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, CCRN, CSCS 

Founder of Tactile VR

William has worked in many different positions such as an ICU RN, Nursing Supervisor, and Nursing Educator. With his experience, he was able to view healthcare in many different aspects and identify education opportunities towards improving the desperate need of more healthcare workers and education solutions. He is experienced in software development applications that allow VR application creation such as Courseta VR 





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