Nursing school finals frustration

Image: Corbis Photography | Veer

In less than 4 days I will be taking my one and only final of the quarter and FINALLY starting my 3 week summer vacation. That cloud 9 is still lingering and floating around, but the haze of it is wearing off and the panic is starting to set in. I feel like every quarter, my study habits change, I do something differently and it changes the way I have to approach studying. This quarter, we had an instructor who recorded lectures for us, so I can re-listen to anything I didn’t catch. I wrote out my class notes in a notebook, I have a text-book outline of the chapters, the PowerPoint slides from class, and then the text book.  It’s all spread out here in front of me and despite all the quarter’s I’ve studied successfully, and despite all my advice on note-taking and study prep… it’s all gone out the window and I am staring blankly at this growing list of ways I could  be studying that I’m thinking through in my mind.

Do I listen to the lecture by itself? Or with the class notes? What about that week I couldn’t make it to class because of mandatory work training? Should I go over what’s in the book again? Or just the outlines? My notes? Maybe I should take new notes? My brain is going through a whirl of questions. Ok- Deep breath. Let’s take this one chapter at a time. Where’s that confidence I was talking about keeping up at the beginning of the quarter?

It’s like this every 10 weeks. Just like week 7’s rut, and week 9’s cloud of ‘almost-vacation’ loveliness, week 10 finishes and in the days leading  up to finals, the panic ensures and us students are left frazzled, sitting on top of a pile of papers, textbook open with all words highlighted, and a growing tab at Starbucks as the coffees keep coming. This has now become a part of our lives, quarter after quarter. But despite all the frustration, the late nights and early mornings (or the 24 hour die-hard study sessions), it’s totally worth it for that breath of fresh air when you step out of the final, finally done, and knowing you’re that much closer to those two little letters behind your name.

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Ani Burr, RN

I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.

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7 Responses to Nursing school finals frustration

  1. Cindy

    I love this article! I just started in a BSN program last week and I am terrified of finals and I still have around 4 – 5 months before they are here!

  2. Marci

    Dont sweat it, If you learned it you’ll remember it. If you didn’t, you’ll have to take your time and eliminate silly answers. Relax and it will be fine!

  3. Jane Pierce

    Listen the best thing you can do is RELAX! Take a day for yourself away from the books, then, get back at it you will find you are able to concentrate better.

  4. Im a nursing student as well and I read for 45 minutes take a break and do something else for an hour then come back again. I even take a day to what I want on the weekend. It refreshes me to come back to my studies full force ahead. Good luck honey! See ya on the licensed nurse side!

  5. Irene

    I so remember going through the fears of passing. I found the one, easy way to test take and I still recommend it over everything. Everyone I have shared it with has really done well. First of all, I made the time to search out the best students and then copy or share their notes (if they are nice, they will). The books were too overwhelming and alot of what was in them wasn’t even covered on the tests. Second and most important, always cover the answers before reading the question. No cheating, don’t peek. Deep breath…Think….you usually do know the answer. Now…expose one potential answer at a time. example: A) no way, B) hmmmm, maybe, C) that sounds even better, D) no way. Never, never look at the answers until you read the question and come up w a REASONABLE answer. (I always used a paper to expose one answer at a time, slowly, reason out each answer. 9 times out of 10, you already have a good idea. It always worked for me, and took away alot of the panic. Good luck and when you graduate, Take AT LEAST one review class, you’ll be so glad you did…..It is so worth it because they teach to the test, (the boards). You’ll make it because you got this far and you want it, right? :)

  6. Connie Deedrick

    After I graduated from school, I went to Hawaii on vacation instead of studying for state boards. Figured if I didn’t know the answers by now, I wasn’t going to know them by cramming. I passed with enough points to work in any state. Go with your first instinct when answering!

  7. Angela

    The best thing you can do is to give yourself plenty of time and dont schedule your test immediately after graduating. Take a couple weeks to relax cause hey… after all those years and all those tests and clinicals, you need a bit of downtime. Try not to think about it… then take a prep course and study at your own pace. Dont rush it and definitely DO NOT fry your brain by cramming or spending most of your day on it.