Hello, we are back to give you the simplest, most uncomplicated way possible to get you through your exams, whether it’s the HESI or ATI or even your NCLEX.
Comprehensive exams are something that student look forward to but wish would never happen. It’s probably one of the most stressful times in a nursing student’s life. And more often than not, they make it difficult for everyone. And for that reason, we at SimpleNursing.com will provide what you need to do and what you should not do when taking your exams.
Doomsday is right around the corner and you feel like there’s still so much to comprehend, memorize, and remember. Universities or colleges usually allow students to prepare for at least seven to 14 days. HESI or ATI week is one of the most stressful periods of students’ lives that they even experience physical manifestations like ulcer, anxiety, panic attack, and insomnia.
Preparation for comprehensive exams feels like dumping a lot of information in your brain all at once and remembering nothing at all. But fear not, Mike is here to help make things simpler and far less complicated. This game plan in facing your exams has been proven effective by over 40,000 students and counting.
Step 1: Focus on the top three most difficult subjects of the semester.
Passing nursing exams is not rocket science. You need to create a plan that works for you which is effective enough to get you from point A to point B. Studying all the materials given at school is not enough. Initially, you need to create a strategic plan to conquer the most frustrating parts of studying.
So, the basic goal here is to select which subjects are giving you the hardest time and underneath that, prioritize the topics that you find most difficult to comprehend. Know where to focus your time and effort. Instead of focusing on what you have already mastered by heart, concentrate on the areas that are crippling your mind.
To give you a solid example:
Your HESI or ATI is coming up, and you’ve realized that on all the areas that are covered by the exams, the subjects that are giving you a hard time, namely:
Note: Usually, community health questions do not show up on the exams or have a significant effect on the test questions.
So, among the provided list of subjects, which of the three are giving you a hard time? As for Mike, his Waterloos are medical-surgical, OB, and psychiatric nursing. So, the next thing that you should do is to identify which top three topics about medical-surgical, OB, and psychiatric nursing stress you the most. Mike has identified his topics like this:
- Medical-surgical – Heart, Lungs, Brain
- OB – Labor, Mom assessment, Prenatal
- Psychiatric – Pharmacology, Two (2) types of personality disorders
That’s basically the top three hardest topics of your top three hardest subjects which you should be focusing on. But that’s not all. You should also identify underneath the top three topics, the sub-topics that you struggle with the most. For example, what lessons about the heart do you find most difficult? Write it down.
Now, because there usually are more than three areas that we struggle with for our sub-topics, that’s the time that we head on out to our step two.
Step 2: Create a plan.
Now that you know where your focus should be, the next thing that you should do is to make the plan and implement it in an organized manner. In creating the plan, you have to do a couple of things:
- Print out a calendar. Take note that HESI or ATI exams give at least two weeks of preparation. However, if you are in an accelerated program, you probably just have seven days to take it all in. That’s not sufficient at all. Now, to give you a better picture, if you are given two weeks to study, you will do so in four to six days in a week which means, in 14 days, you will have 8 to 12 rigorous study periods.
- Pinpoint important dates. In order to implement the study days, you should point out the date when you would start studying, as well as the date of the exam.
- Cross out your calendar. Get a red pen or marker then diagonally cross each day out. The diagonal line is the division between your morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) study sessions. The division of AM and PM is to save your brain from fatigue. Rigorous study hours, usually consisting of up to eight hours in a day is not helpful at all. This is because the exhausted brain will normally zone out what you’ve studied in between and just remember what you’ve learned at the beginning and the end.
- Break up the days. It is advisable that there should only be three hours of studying done in the morning. As for the PM study session, that will be tackled on step 3.
Now, you’re wondering, “Why is it just 3 hours in the morning? And why does it have to be in the morning?” Mornings are the best time of the day to be active and productive. The brain has replenished itself from a well-rested sleep, making it fruitful that it can accommodate complex questions.
Furthermore, the reason why you should only study for three hours in the morning is because in a span of three hours, you’ll be able to answer and rationalize 60 of the most difficult questions about the complicated sub-topics that you have previously identified. Here’s how:
- Break down your three hours.
- For every hour, you have 20 minutes to answer 20 questions, then 40 minutes to rationalize. You will also be doing this in your second and third hour.
This technique works effectively for anyone especially for those slow, anxious test-takers. For those who have text anxiety, Mike suggests the following effective methods:
- Stress yourself out within the 20 minutes of taking the 20 questions.
- Listen to loud, distracting music that you hate.
- Hope on one foot.
Distraction within those 20 minutes is recommended because it will take you out of your comfort zone and make you immune to other forms of distraction during the test day. You might think that’s nonsense but it actually works for most people because it lessens the anxiety and increases focus.
What to do in the remaining 40 minutes? Aside from rationalizing, you should note down the topics that you’ve missed. These are the topics that you’ve missed within those 20 minutes.
Not only have you accomplished 60 test questions in three hours, you’ve also accumulated and outlined 60 specific topics you are having problems with. This technique saves you a lot of time than scouring through all your nursing books and jotting down the topics that you don’t know.
Step 3: Summarize and memorize content efficiently.
Now, we go to your PM study session. Study time here should not be more than four hours. Come to think about it, AM and PM sessions combined, you have a total of seven hours study time. Not bad.
By now, your anxiety must be getting the best of you. Don’t worry, you have we have a plan. And this plan is going to take you from A to B. One of the main reasons why students fail, aside from not studying efficiently, is because they did not stick with their plans. Whether it’s a HESI, or an ATI, or NCLEX, for as long as you have a plan and don’t divert from it, you’ll be okay.
So, step 3 is about condensing information you absolutely have no idea whatsoever. There are a couple of options that you can do to review these certain topics – go back to the same boring nursing books and climb that steep hill all by yourself or get condensed videos of those topics. You’ve probably seen some of these videos containing summarized topics like the Liver Song and ABGs. There are about 900 videos available at SimpleNursing.com that you can rely on to carry you through these tough 14 days of your life.
Even better if you avail of one our membership plans. Mike has managed to condense three comprehensive NCLEX study guides and other nursing materials. With SimpleNursing.com, you don’t have to figure out which topics you need to focus on because Mike’s done that for you. Aside from that, Mike has arranged keywords and acronyms inside those videos to make it easier for you to understand.
During your PM study session, use the list of topics you’ve gathered in the morning from the test questions then search the website database for keywords. There are about 300 videos available in YouTube for free! But that’s just the tip of the iceberg or 30% of the overall topics that we can provide; 70% of those videos are locked in our membership vault.
So here’s what you have to do with the list of questions you’ve missed in your AM session:
- Match the questions or topics to the video content available on YouTube or in our membership plan vault.
- Using a regular computer paper, make a four-square outline.
- In each of the box, write down the topics that you’re having difficulties with like for example:
- First box – Heart
- Second box – Lungs
- Third box – Brain
- Fourth box – Other
- These boxes are useful when watching our videos by getting the key information that you might be struggling with and writing it down the specific box.
If you are taking Neurology exam and you are struggling with multiple sclerosis, or Guillain-Barre Syndrome, or ALS, in Mike’s videos, there are a few key things that he touches on wherein he strongly points out that it is significant to know those points because they usually come out in the tests.
- Write those key points, the only need-to-know information, inside the boxes which you can think of as a filing cabinet.
Track your progress
So imagine that it’s been seven days. In a span of seven days, what have you accomplished?
- 240 to 360 questions. Inefficient instructors will tell you that you should finish test questions of not less than 400. This is not beneficial to you in any way. Your mind will reach its limit even before you get to the 100th Mike’s words: 60 questions per day and that’s it.
- Up to 360 topics are uncovered and understood with qualifying keywords on your piece of paper.
- That piece of paper can be brought anywhere and everywhere. Do not be chained to your books.
Don’t miss out on the good stuff
This three-step technique is really everything you need to make it through whatever exams you have. If you’re wondering if this applies for your finals, there is actually an entire course on that at SimpleNursing.com which will absolutely blow your mind. The success stories that we have will inspire you. If they can do it, so can you.
We highly recommend that you become a member especially for those who are struggling with HESI, ATI or NCLEX. All you need to do is drop by SimpleNursing.com and ace that test!