Done with midterms. 93.3, 92, 88, 90. So A, A-, B+, A-. For Adult, Community, Peds, Pharm. I should have done better in Peds but the test only had 50 questions so that means I could only miss 5 to get an A. Only missing 5 is super hard. So how do I prepare for these insane scantron tests that if I miss one to many Drexel will say FUCK YOU and thank you for $38K  with nothing to show. Seriously–some people who failed failed because they missed one question on one quiz resulting in a 76.4, instead of a 76.5, which wouldn’t round to a 77% (passing). One person even got a question right but the professor was a bitch and would not mark it correct so she failed out because of it.

Anyway, how do I prepare for midterms.? I attend class, print all power points, but don’t really read. We have E-books and they SUCK and our profs are way more thorough in their powerpoints.  The most important thing I do is make charts. I love charts and mine all look the same so I can transfer between my Mac desktop and PC netbook. They look like this (I like how I misspelled gentamycin):

I do either this or rewrite my powerpoints if its just simple definitions (Community Nursing). I LABOR over pharm by doing the above chart for 100-200 drugs. Then I print 2 copies: one with extra notes, and one I cut up and put on notecards. I am fucking ANAL about it. A long time ago my A&P teacher said retyping notes was the best way to learn, I agree (at least for science)–especially if you reorganize it. I  think a lot of people failed first quarter because of study groups and reading the book.

The other super important thing I do is questions. I have 5-10 review books by subject and I also use our online book quizzes and our study book questions. You can know everything there is to know about nursing and still fail the test because you don’t know how they ask the questions.

Usually nursing questions include 5 levels of thinking: what do the symptoms mean, what is the question asking (the way ask a question could completely change your answer), are there any other factors that influence the disease process (COPD or Diabetes Mellietus almost always do–except with Peptic Ulcer Disease, they love throwing that in there to trip you up), which answers are right (there is always more than one and sometimes all of them are right), and finally what answer is MOST right for this patient at this time. O! and is it select all that apply? The questions are like this (actually all the answers are correct for this question):

A 66-year old hospitalized patient has MRSA in a cellulitis of the lower extremity and is on gentamycin IV.  What should the nurse monitor in this patient? (Select all that apply)
A.  Renal function- genamycin, a aminoglycoside, is EXTREMLY nephrotoxic (if you get it in the hospital you will be geting a lot of fluids with it–its for MRSA)
B.  Hearing- (its EXTREMELY Ototoxic–cranial nerve VIII, hearing)
C.  Balance- (again, cranial nerve VIII, middle ear)
D.  Trough levels- (aminoglycosides have a very narrow theraputic range–like they have very little space between not working and toxic levels so patients will get a lot of blood draws)
E.  IV site- (both aminoglycosides and IV antibiotics burn and can cause tissue damage/necrosis at the IV site so its pretty important to always assess the IV site–with any IV anyway–you would never not assess an IV site on a patient). 

So that is a pretty easy question–aminoglycosides have some pretty obvious side effects. Its remembering which antibiotic you can take with food and which you can’t that is hard and we literally had 5 questions asking about that on the midterm. Or which are nephrotoxic and which are hepatotoxic–all of them are toxic in some form. Every drug is. Seriously–if you are on drugs you can google it but I have a nifty-super extensive drug guide on my itouch that will tell you all the ways a drug will hurt you in addition to helping. You know whats funny for heart meds–all drugs that treat arrhythmias can cause them too–super funny. Maybe not funny.

And last– I am an OCD test taker: I fill out ALL of my information on the scantron (we only need to put our name), I always have 3-4 pencils and a sharpener, I only use non-mechanical pencils, I sit mid row or toward the wall), I never leave a page without answering ALL the questions, I bubble in at the end of each finished page (super satisfying to bubble in 5-10 questions at a time), I do 2-3 pages at the front then when I reach a questions I don’t like I flip to the back and finish back to front, I never reread a question after its answered (statisically you should NEVER change an answer especially if you are a woman), I recheck my bubbles to make sure I didn’t get off anywhere.

Despite being OCD I almost always finish first. In a room full of 200 people it sucks to be the first one getting up–I feel like I am missing something. But I have learned to deal with it–I am just a stellar reader right!??!

Anway- that is the 50-80 question hell I go through everyday of midterms and 2xday during finals (we take 2 exams for each class during finals). Our Pharm final is going to be especially awesome because we are going to be tested on last quarter drugs too meaning I will be redoing (so I know I learn it) those charts for 200-300 drugs. Awesome–but this is what you need to do to be a safe nurse.


One thought on “woooo!….

  1. Wow… great post on how to take tests; and laying out that test taking is not a natural, instinctual, winging-it kind of deal. Congratulations for yet one more mid term week under your belt. Not sure if I would have passed that borderline nursing student along either; probably hard being a nursing prof, too.

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