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Secrets to Studying For Nursing State Board Exams

The last few months of nursing school can sometimes be the most stressful. You are studying constantly, preparing care plans for your clinicals, as well as caring for more complicated patients. You may be job hunting, interviewing and updating (or developing) your resume. With everything coming at you at once, the last thing you may be thinking about is your nursing state boards. But the truth is…you better be thinking about them since they are just around the corner!

There are formal review classes for the boards as well as online classes offered, not to mention your own study group if you happen to belong to one. There are your old notes to review and books to help you prepare. But what is the best way to study for boards? I have a method that worked for me and I know it will work for you! You will enter into the testing arena with the confidence that you are ready to take the most important exam of your life! And you will excel!

Toward the end of my Sr. year, I purchased a large silver book for my own personal review choice. At the risk of sounding like a commercial I will tell you it was Mosby’s Comprehensive Review of Nursing…… and it was one of the wisest purchases of my life!

As I paged through the huge book (and I mean huge) I became overwhelmed. It was more than I could handle. I quickly set it aside for another day.

Eventually I had to face the reality that graduation was only a few months away and I had to get busy. Procrastination was not an option. I opened the monster sized book to become familiar with it. I discovered it was divided into sections labeled “Med/Surg” (which was by far the largest), Psych, Pediatrics, OB, etc. I bought colored paperclips and clipped off each section with a different color (just for fun, really).

The next thing I did was to give myself a time limit. EX: Med Surg would take me 2-3 weeks to review, Peds, about 5 days, OB about 1 -2 weeks, etc. I decided to bite off one piece at a time and I chose to start with Med/Surg.

I opened Mosby’s to that giant section and found that it was set up as multiple choice questions (just as I was used to from class) and that the answers were all in the back. Now I had to decide if I would try to do the self testing or not. No, that would put incorrect answers in my mind and I only wanted to see correct answers. I was already too stressed. I went through the whole section and circled the correct answers. I didn’t want to waste time. I then studied the section over and over to look at the questions with the circled answers.

I’m so glad I reviewed with “the big silver book,” because I will tell you an amazing story…when I finally found myself face to face with the state board exams, some of the exact same questions from Mosby’s were on the test! The wording of some of the questions was taken directly from the book I had spent weeks studying from! It was a miracle! I almost felt as though I had cheated, though I had not.

Needless to say, the hard work during nursing school and my beloved instructors had a lot to do with my success. I had worked hard and studied hard. It was no breeze and I cannot say the experience was easy by any means, but I can promise one thing…studying for the state board exams was vital to passing and becoming a registered nurse. It was hard, but worth it! And thank you, again, to Mosby’s Comprehensive Review of Nursing!