Adding Practice Tests to the Study Regimen
Earlier this year, I posted about study buddies
, and how I had come around to the idea of them after years of preferring isolated study. Since that time, group studying has continued to help me maintain a hold on the plethora of information I've been exposed to in all various classes.
However, I've come to realize that, in order to be the best student I can be, I need to continue to evolve my study habits. Solo outlining is great, and group studying is a nice supplement, but at this point in my nursing journey, with the NCLEX a little over a year away, I've begun to incorporate practice tests.
My reason for this is simple: these NCLEX style questions are often difficult and incredibly tricky. I've come to realize that it isn't just about the amount of book knowledge you have, but the practical application of that knowledge. Clinicals can only go so far in teaching such things, but these tests provide a lot of value in helping to focus and apply the knowledge in the right way.
Obviously, this isn't some earth shattering revelation. Schools have been encouraging practice tests for years and there is a whole industry out there dedicated to selling books and educational programs featuring practice tests.
However, I know from experience that many students do not invest time in taking these tests, especially part-time students, many of whom have full-time jobs and families to worry about. Just reading the chapters and studying class notes is already a big commitment for some people, so adding on hours of practice tests can seem silly, excessive, and/or expensive.
However, I've found that the time investment can be worth it. In particular, I've grown fond of the tests available on the Evolve Web site. In addition to tests related to your individual class text books (most of which are available on the site), there are Hesii practice tests available, as well as a slew of other text books (equipped with their own variety of quizzes) that you can add to your resource section. Best of all, the site saves your test results so that you can go back and check your answers, and read the rationales any time you desire.
It's possible many of you are already employing these resources, but if not, I suggest checking out the tests on Evolve. It's a free, intuitive resource for learning that can really help add shape to the knowledge you acquire in class and at your clinical settings.