One of the biggest challenges nursing students face is the new style of testing. This is often the first time they face tests that consist of more than just recall, comprehension and fact retrieval. Exams now consist of higher level thinking to assess the assimilation of knowledge. In other words – you learned a bunch of stuff, now how would you apply it? Ultimately, this is what you will do as a nurse – applying all that knowledge in the hopes of helping patients. And lets cut to the chase, you need to pass the NCLEX exam to even get to that point. The purpose of the NCLEX exam is to ensure you have the basic knowledge to be a competent nurse who is safe to take care of the public.
Each group of students I have the honor to work with, I ALWAYS advise them to get some test taking book to assist them in developing strategies to tackle their exams and especially the NCLEX exam. When I was studying for my boards years ago, I collected test books as I was advised that practice makes perfect. Sure, I read a lot of questions, but I did not have a good strategy in how to approach the questions. A few weeks before taking my board exam, a colleague lent me a test strategy book. It was revolutionary!! It gave clear instructions on how to analyze the questions and answers. I just kept thinking, ‘I wish I had these through nursing school!’ So, as I mentioned, I try to help my students out with that advice.
This past week I had the opportunity to do the renal lectures for our Med/Surg 1 students. They had just reviewed their first med/surg exam and lets say….happiness and joy was not abounding! So, I gave them my advise on finding a good test taking strategy book. And being the smart group of students they are, they wanted some titles. So, as promised, I told them I would put together a list of my suggestions – here you go!!