Spring has sprung on the Regis Campus. I don’t know if I have ever been so excited about the prospect of visiting an arboretum at least twice a week.
This week I have taken time to stop and do just what the age old proverb suggests: take time to stop and smell the roses. Okay, so…I have yet to find any roses on the Regis campus, but have been able to delight in the beauty of the Magnolia and Cherry blossoms.
School has been rough. Let me rephrase that…managing to keep up with school, work and life has been rough. Two weeks ago I was plagued by what can only be called exam fatigue. Three tests and a medication calculation quiz in three weeks was more than enough for me. Add in the fact that prior to test number 3 I only got four hours of sleep [yes it is my fault for not having better time management] I couldn’t help but have a mini mental breakdown after we went over the exam in class.
I will explain. We have been taking tests the old fashioned way this semester [read: scantron, paper and pencil]. I have mixed feelings about this. First it seems a bit deceiving to me as the N-CLEX is not presented in the same fashion- Shouldn’t we get used to taking tests on the computer if that’s how the nursing boards are presented? On the other hand after the disastrous experience we had first semester with computer proctored tests I am more than happy to sharpen my pencils [or double click the mechanical] and fill in bubbles. The one thing that I really liked about taking the computer proctored tests is that after hitting submit there is no waiting time. Take it or leave it, there is your score. In order to accommodate our anxiety that comes with waiting for test scores, our instructors have gotten into the habit of going over the tests with us. I am sure that they do this more for themselves than for us-seems as trying to get 24 adults to concentrate on a 2 ½ hour lecture [when preoccupied by the questions: did I get that right? What was the right answer?] is impossible.
Long story short [too late, I know] I was more than a little upset with my performance on test three. As far as I was concerned it was my fault that I had not gotten all the answers right. As soon as I turned the exam in I sat at my desk, knowing what questions I had gotten wrong.
Studying nursing isn’t like math, or science. There is not one equation to follow that will always yield the correct answer.
The fact is there usually is more than one correct answer. What I am trying to say is: reading and understanding the material sometimes isn’t enough. You can visualize the place in your notes where both answers were scribbled.
Now, the hard part…Which answer is more correct? Yes. The teachers know that there is more than one right answer. So how do you pick the right answer?
I think that this must be one of the hardest parts of nursing school. Learning how to take a whole new kind of test. While I have yet to master the test questions [work in progress] I have managed to learn a few things about myself that I hope will aid me as I continue in the numerous exams that are sure to come.
- Don’t read more into the question than you are supposed to.
- Don’t add in extra factors just because you think they are relevant.
- Trust your instinct. If something in your gut tells you what the answer is, believe it. Unless you have a really good reason why…don’t change that answer [ Thanks to Lisa Zenoni for that gem]
- Double check that your scantron bubble answers line up to the answers you circled on the paper test.
- Give yourself a break. Getting a 100 on a test will not guarantee you will be a good nurse, or that you will pass the NCLEX.
I was reminded this past week, that sometimes life happens. The CHOICE program is unique in that it allows students to continue working their jobs, and takes into consideration the fact that sometimes ‘life happens’. With that said, being a part of the CHOICE cohort does not mean that things are made easy. While there is an understanding that we [students] are responsible for other things outside of school, Regis expects that we will make our studies a priority.