It could be argued that the first year of nursing school is the hardest. Most classes are rigorous and demand complete focus from the first day to the last. Many find the transition tough. Getting through the first year can be overwhelming.
One class, in particular, that terrifies most nursing school students is medical surgery. Medical-surgical, also known as MedSurg, is a specialized area of nursing that breaks down the human body into systems, such as gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and so on, and analyzes various health conditions and disorder processes. In addition to covering the pathophysiology of various conditions, the course gets into diagnostic testing, and nursing interventions and treatments as well.
There is a lot of information covered by MedSurg, and it could be hard for students to navigate it properly. Most of them fail to understand that MedSurg isn’t about memorizing details and numbers, but about understanding how the human body works. You need good studying skills to put all the pieces together and go through the course efficiently without wasting too much time on each chapter.
There is both art and science involved in passing MedSurg, so how about some inside information to help you understand how to study for the exam? Here are six tips that will help you survive one of the most difficult classes in nursing school.
- Get Organized
Nursing students who take Medical-Surgical classes soon find out that most of the chapters need to be covered in a short period. Students are usually tested on up to 10 chapters at a time. It will be difficult to cover that much information without excellent time and organizational skills.
Create a to-do-list of the chapters you need to learn today or by the end of the week. Think of what problems you will possibly get in the test, write them down and solve them. Remember that cramming all that information one day before the test is not going to work, so spread out your studying routine over a few days.
- Take Notes from Each Chapter
A lot of MedSurg Nursing students waste a lot of time because they focus on memorizing everything they read. It’s a common mistake students make because they get overwhelmed by the colossal amount of information they need to learn in such a short time. However, rather than memorizing, it’s more effective to read the courses several times and highlight important information. After highlighting the information, you should take notes from each chapter. By writing it down, you will retain more material easily. Not to mention that you will be able to carry your notebook around and read your notes on your commute or during breaks.
- Get a MedSurg Nursing Review Guide
Review guides are an excellent way to prepare for the MedSurg Nursing exam. These books are packed with additional information that students can use to understand concepts better and to enhance their learning experience. More than that, review guides usually provide a solid foundation that helps students understand what they need to learn and how to do it.
- Compare Notes with Others
100 nursing students can sit in the same Medical-Surging class and take away different things at the end of it. That is why it’s important to compare your notes with other reliable students. Maybe you’ve missed something that was extremely important or maybe a colleague can help you understand a piece of information better. By comparing notes not only that you can learn new information, but you can also help others survive their MedSurg exam.
- Test Your Knowledge by Teaching the Material in a Study Group
The best way to test if you’ve really understood a concept is to be able to explain it to others, easily. Teaching the MedSurg course to others can help nursing students become more confident in their knowledge and help others at the same time. Find a study group where students take turns in teaching the course until every member feels confident in their skills and knowledge.
- Take Time to Review
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when learning for MedSurg (or any other nursing class for that matter) is trying to cram everything into your head one day before the exam. A different and better approach would be to take 30 minutes or one hour after every class to review the information that was discussed. That way, it will be easier to retain information when you need to study for the exam.
Medical-surging nursing is the basis of all nursing practice. It prepares nursing students to diagnose and treat a broad array of medical conditions. Simply put, it’s what makes you a nurse. But memorizing entire chapters in a short period can be overwhelming. It’d help to have a plan. Whether you’ve just begun nursing school, or you’re halfway through the class, follow these six tips to help you survive MedSurg exam.
Best of luck, nursing students!