When you take a test, you are demonstrating your ability to understand course material or perform certain tasks

. Successful test taking avoids carelessness. Examples of objective tests are true-false, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank. Examples of subjective texts are short answer, essay, or oral exams NB: If you have any doubts about the fairness of tests, or of the ability of tests to measure your performance, please see your academic counseling service. These suggestions may help you avoid careless errors! Prepare: * Analyze how you did on a similar test in the past Review your previous tests, and sample tests, especially when studying for the final exam. Each test prepares you for the next: the more tests you take, the better you will develop your test taking strategies. * Arrive early for tests Before a test, list everything you will need for it that is allowed. (pencils/pens, calculator, dictionary, watch, etc.) Good preparation helps you focus on the task at hand * Be comfortable but alert Choose a good spot in the room and make sure you have enough space to work, maintain comfortable posture in your seat, but don't "slouch" * Stay relaxed and confident Keep a good attitude. Remind yourself that you are well-prepared and are going to do well. If you find yourself anxious, take several slow, deep breaths to relax Don't talk about the test to other students just before entering the room: their anxiety can be contagious Test Taking: * Read the directions carefully This may be obvious, but it will help you avoid careless errors * If there is time, quickly look through the test for an overview Note key terms, jot down brief notes If you can, mark the test or answer sheet with comments that come to mind. Ask if that is permitted! * Answer questions in a strategic order: 1. Answer easy questions first to build confidence, score points, and mentally orient yourself to vocabulary, concepts, and your studies. It may also help you make associations with more difficult questions. 2. Then difficult questions or those with the most point value With objective tests, first eliminate those answers you know to be wrong, or are likely to be wrong, don't seem to fit, or where two options are so similar as to be both incorrect. With essay questions, broadly outline your answer and sequence the order of your points. * Review: Resist the urge to leave as soon as you have completed all the items Review your test to make sure that you o have answered all questions

o did not mis-mark answers o did not make simple mistakes Proofread spelling, grammar, punctuation, decimal points, etc. Change answers to questions if you made a mistake, or misread the question or if you find information elsewhere in the test that indicates that your first choice is incorrect Decide on and adopt study strategies that work best for you Review your test preparation and identify those habits that worked well and replace those that don't! To do well on tests you must first learn the material, and then review it before the test. These are techniques to better understand your material: Learning * Take good notes in your class lectures and textbooks See the Guides on Taking notes in Lectures (and Taking notes from a textbook!) * * Review your notes soon after class/lecture Review notes briefly before the next class * Schedule some time at the end of the week for a longer review Reviewing * Take good notes about as your teacher tells you what will be on the test Organize your notes, texts, and assignments according to what will be on the test Estimate the hours you'll need to review materials * Draw up a schedule that blocks units of time and material * * Test yourself on the material

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Finish your studying the day before the exam

Multiple choice questions usually include a phrase or stem followed by three to five options: Test strategies: * Read the directions carefully Know if each question has one or more correct option Know if you are penalized for guessing Know how much time is allowed (this governs your strategy) * Preview the test Read through the test quickly and answer the easiest questions first Mark those you think you know in some way that is appropriate * Read through the test a second time and answer more difficult questions You may pick up cues for answers from the first reading, or become more comfortable in the testing situation * If time allows, review both questions and answers It is possible you mis-read questions the first time Answering options Improve your odds, think critically: Cover the options, read the stem, and try to answer Select the option that most closely matches your answer Read the stem with each option Treat each option as a true-false question, and choose the "most true" Strategies to answer difficult questions: * Eliminate options you know to be incorrect If allowed, mark words or alternatives in questions that eliminate the option * Give each option of a question the "true-false test:" This may reduce your selection to the best answer * Question options that grammatically don't fit with the stem * Question options that are totally unfamiliar to you * Question options that contain negative or absolute words. Try substituting a qualified term for the absolute one, like frequently for always; or typical for every to see if you can eliminate it * "All of the above:" If you know two of three options seem correct, "all of the above" is a strong possibility * Number answers: toss out the high and low and consider the middle range numbers * "Look alike options" probably one is correct; choose the best but eliminate choices that mean basically the same thing, and thus cancel each other out * Double negatives: Create the equivalent positive statement and consider * Echo options: If two options are opposite each other, chances are one of them is correct * Favor options that contain qualifiers The result is longer, more inclusive items that better fill the role of the

answer * If two alternatives seem correct, compare them for differences, then refer to the stem to find your best answer Guessing: * Always guess when there is no penalty for guessing or you can eliminate options * Don't guess if you are penalized for guessing and if you have no basis for your choice * Use hints from questions you know to answer questions you do not. * Change your first answers when you are sure of the correction, or other cues in the test cue you to change. Remember that you are looking for the best answer, not only a correct one, and not one which must be true all of the time, in all cases, and without exception. Forming Study habits: 10 Ways to Simplify Your Nursing School Life 1. Stick to the plan. Track all projects, deadlines, exams and other activities relating to work and/or school in a personal planner or a pocketbook calendar. 2. Take notes. Place notes in outline format with headers, subheads and bullet points. Add items your lecturer refers to in the book. 3. Create flashcards. A quick and easy way to quiz yourself right up until test day. Use flashcards for making a file of diseases/conditions and their treatments, listing signs and symptoms, diagnostic tests and interventions. 4. Tape record. This is especially handy on "test review" days when instructors share what material is likely to appear on the exam. Remember to check with your instructor first! 5. Compare notes. It's possible that your classmates have information you didn't catch and vice-versa. 6. Use the textbook to your advantage. Outline each chapter, write down questions about concepts you don't understand and refer to other resources for extra help (i.e. the Internet, nursing journals, NCLEX review materials, etc.). 7. Stay informed. Attending class is important. You never know if a question asked by a fellow classmate or a piece of information not found in the book might be found on the next exam. 8. Ask questions. Get answers to questions raised in your book, ideas you're unclear on from lectures or clarify your notes. 9. Stay in touch with your instructor. Visit during office hours, send an email, talk by phone and sit in the front row during class whenever possible. 10. Be exam prepared. Find out what the exam will cover and the exam format. Review points emphasized in class, questions in your study guides, past quizzes and end of chapter review sections.

Study Tips From Former Nursing Students � GET THE MOST OUT OF CLASSES During even the most boring lecture, look interested. The secret of a good image is striving to be that which you wish to appear. Remember, some teachers are just jerks. Deal with it. Learning how to deal with

jerks is a good skill to cultivate in any discipline. Introduce yourself to your instructors. You don't want to just be a "face in the crowd. GET THE MOST FROM YOUR BOOKS Take your materials out of your house to study. Get away from distractions, undone dishes, radio and TV. The doughnut shop or all night cafe will offer quiet and ample amounts of coffee. Read nursing journals and magazines. Often current articles will compliment your text and make the information more easily understood. Use individual sheets of paper or large index cards to make a file of disease/conditions and their treatments. List etiology, signs and symptoms, diagnostic tests, interventions, etc. and keep them in a binder for future reference as well as present study. Take notes from your notes! After taking notes in class or from the book, put away the book and tape player and outline the notes. Use NCLEX review materials as your study guide. Sort questions by topic as you go through school and study those questions pertaining to your current lesson. It will help you learn and give you a head start when it's time to schedule your NCLEX . Turn course objectives (as found in the beginning of each chapter or from the course syllabus) into questions - instant study guide! THRIVE IN CLINICALS Whether you don't know how to make a bed or have been an EMT for years, remember everyone begins clinicals as different levels of experience. Focus on where you are going, what you will learn - not on how much (or little) you know now. If you have trouble remembering protocols, lab values or even your patient's name :) write them down on index cards and keep them in your pocket. The more you use them the more you study them. In Psych rotation, take a moment to center yourself before working with patients. Most respond best to a calm focused approach. Study your instructors. The more you know them the more likely you are to understand them and what they are expecting from you. If you don't know how to do a procedure, look it up, check the protocols, ask for help. Instructors would rather be "bothered" walking you through the procedure than fixing the mess or hearing the complaints if you do something wrong. Be helpful to the nurse you are assigned to for clinical. Take all the vitals, never contradict publicly, don't ask constant questions (that's what you have instructors for) In general, kiss-up! The nurse will be glad of the help and be more likely to help you. Don't make your supervising nurse hold your hand. Even if you're scared and have never done something before, jump in and do anything suggested. Volunteer information! Instructors like to be informed about your patients. If they can trust you to keep them informed, you are likely to be trusted to work independently. Explore volunteer opportunities in your area. It ain't just for candy stripers any more. Many clinics and outreach organizations are completely run by volunteers. The experience can help you shine on the floor. ACE THE TEST Take your tests in comfort and style Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing on test day. Loose fitting does not mean sloppy. Do your confidence level a favor and dress for success. Cardigan sweaters, full skirts and stretch pants are comfortable without compromising your professional style and attitude. If you need to take issue with the instructor over a point on a test, do it privately. To dispute a mark in public will embarrass them and make them want to be proved right. And bring it up in the context that you need the correct information, not that you�re going for that one little point. When the instructor and the text conflict, offer both answers on the test when

possible. If not (as in multiple choice), most instructors will allow you to approach them quietly during the test. You can display your knowledge and ask which answer is being requested. Ask former students about an instructor�s testing style before taking that first exam. ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE Buy a good personal planner and note all projects, deadlines and tests in it. Plan a realistic schedule and follow it. Just take one day at a time, confident that every day tasks bring you closer to your goal Being a nursing student is harder than being a nurse in many ways. Just relax, don�t sweat the small stuff, and be receptive to patient and staff needs. Replace your fear, anxiety, and worry with joy. Have fun with what you know. Have fun learning neat new stuff. You can�t stop bad things from happening but you can learn from it. You can enjoy your new role. Don�t give up. Failure is not an option! Graduation is not a goal. It is simply the natural consequence of your actions! Set the tone of the clinical day right. Press uniform, lay out clothes and shoes, get essential items together (always in the same place) and pack your bag the night before. You'll feel "with it" and together the next day. It�s a great confidence builder. FORMING AND USING A STUDY GROUP FORM A STUDY GROUP! Especially one you can stick with through graduation. Develop an invested interest in each other and divide and conquer the huge amount of info Nursing students are expected to learn. Go through your notes together. Sometimes someone else puts information down in an especially memorable way. Sometimes someone else catches something you missed. Sit in the front row! Most study groups form from those you associate with during classes. So select your lab partner with care and sit in the front row with the students who are (or want to be) brilliant. Divide and conquer! Assign a portion of each chapter or assignment to each member of your group. Each person is to make up study questions for their portion and distribute copies to the others. Presto! Your own practice exam! Network with students ahead of you for information on courses and instructors. A little foreknowledge can go a long way. Make quizzes and ask each other questions about your subject. Reward yourself for the hard work and studying you have done along with a successful test - we all know they are not at all easy!!!!!!! Join our student nurse forums and share questions, tips and experiences with other students as well as experienced nurses USE TECH KNOWLEDGE Tape the lectures on audiocassette. Then listen to the lecture again while you rewrite your notes. You'd be surprised what you missed the first time. Read your clinical notes into a tape recorder by topic in a concise, repeatable form. ASK QUESTIONS on tape that you can answer when you listen to it. Listen to tapes on your way to clinicals in your car or on a headset walking to class. You can even save them to be used for NCLEX review. Search out and use web resources in your research papers. Also get the free learning software available from FTP sites on the net. Use your e-mail account to communicate with instructors. You are likely to get a well crafted, concise answer to your concerns if they must be put in writing. It also eliminates phone tag and restrictions to office hours. Some software and database programs allow you to create a template to your specifications. You can make forms for care plans, assessments, process recordings, any standard paperwork. Then all you need to do is fill in the blanks and print it up.

WHEN YOU ALSO HAVE A FAMILY Lower your standard of housekeeping. You don�t need to make the beds every day as long as your sheets are clean. You want the place clean enough to stay healthy and organized enough to find your shoes in the morning. Every thing else is just petty pride. Care and upkeep of a significant other is important. Tell your SO how much you appreciate them and count on them. When they do something you find helpful - THANK THEM. Remember, you�re in this together. If you have all day care (not hourly) use it! Drop the kids off when the doors open and STUDY. It helps the kids and you if you have a regular time you reliably pick them up though. Shop around for reliable daycare. Most facilities will send a child home "sick" with a touch of diarrhea or have an arbitrary degree temp as the "sick" point. Have a back up plan if your child is "under the weather" Look around your community for activities you kids can enjoy while you are in class or studying. Little league, after school programs and community events are all good possibilities. Set aside family time and protect it - even when you have a paper due the next day. Set aside study time and protect it - even if it means hiring a babysitter or trading babysitting duty with a friend. Enforce a "family homework time" let everyone study together at the table. You will set a good example of study habits and have some extra family time together. From Jill Gosselin: Trying to attend nursing school and raise 4 kids really is a challenge. People always ask me how I do it. Well, you have to be organized and have lots of patience. I never study when my kids are awake. My kids need me to be mom, not student during the day. I do have schedules for them and 8:00 p.m. is bedtime. I do my studying from about 8:30 to 12:30 each night. I have no distractions then and I retain what I am studying. This really has been the key for me and I am proud to say I have one semester of school left. Stay focused and organized! Thanks, Jill, for this great tip!

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