Test taking tips

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  • Tests questions are designed to assess your knowledge in 2 ways Recall (memory) Comprehension (application based) Since nursing is a practice-based discipline application is essential to safe, competent pracitce. Application implies analysis of information.
  • Stem of the question will usually request either a positive response or a negative response Positive – answer that is true, appropriate or accurate. Negative – requests answer that is false or inaccurate or inappropriate Negative response stems often contain words like – except, not, least, false.
  • Back to Nursing 101! Prioritization of response – which is the best, most or first therapeutic response in this situation Communication theory emphasizes that it is a PRIORITY to address the client’s feelings first and should always be done before clarifying or presenting information. Ask yourself – is there a need to address feelings? If so – it’s priority. Empathy, restating, reflection, silence as well as remaining with the client are all nursing strategies that potentially validate client’s feelings. The only exception – would be the presence or a pressing or interfering physical problem.
  • Maslow’s Physiological needs always come first Remember – ABC of CPR? A way of prioritizing treatment Good to remember if presented with a sudden emergency situation or any one that is potentially life-threatening for the client IF basic physiological needs are met – safety is next followed by psychosocial neds. Teaching and learning theory reminds us that unless the client is motivate to learn – client teaching will not be successful. IF the client is not motivated – this issue should be addressed first.
  • Restate Eliminate options that require you to make assumptions about information that was not presented in the scenario YOUR First most straightforward response is usually your best bet for answering the test correctly.
  • Remember this is a national exam with testing content based on national standards of practice.
  • Start by taking a sample test exam to get an idea of your baseline knowledge and how intensive your study plan needs to be. Research has shown that 2/3 of your study time should be spend taking sample tests – while 1/3 of your time should be spent reviewing content. Study guide books
  • Most of us are capable of learning thru all pathways – most have a preferred way. When studying for a certification exam – time is usually at a premium – so rely on your preferred method to help you study most efficiently.
  • There’s no way to avoid it. Set aside adequate time and plan around it.
  • Test taking tips

    1. 1. Test Taking Tips
    2. 2. Test Taking Skills <ul><li>Strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Know yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Study Plan </li></ul>
    3. 3. Strategies <ul><li>Anatomy of a question </li></ul><ul><li>Critical elements </li></ul><ul><li>Therapeutic communications </li></ul><ul><li>Focus of the question </li></ul><ul><li>Best response </li></ul><ul><li>Avoiding pitfalls </li></ul><ul><li>When you just don’t know </li></ul>
    4. 4. Anatomy of a question <ul><li>What the question tells you </li></ul><ul><li>What the question is asking </li></ul><ul><li>Option that best answers the question </li></ul><ul><li>Distractors </li></ul>
    5. 5. Critical Elements <ul><li>Focuses your attention on what is being asked </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical elements – usually appear in the stem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Key words – appear in the introductory statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Primary, most, first response, earliest, priority, on the first visit, on a subsequent visit, common, best, least, except, not, immediately, initial </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Issue – what the question is asking about </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Screening, drugs, diagnostics, labs, procedures, behaviors, disease process </li></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Therapeutic Communications <ul><li>Cornerstone </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid communication blocks </li></ul><ul><li>Always therapeutic </li></ul><ul><li>Not an authority figure </li></ul><ul><li>PRIORITY - Acknowledgement / validation of client’s feelings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>VALIDATE, VALIDATE, VALIDATE! </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Who is the focus of the question <ul><li>Client? </li></ul><ul><li>Family member? </li></ul><ul><li>Friend? </li></ul><ul><li>Member of health care team? </li></ul>
    8. 8. Best Response <ul><li>May be more than one option that is ‘correct’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But which is: best, first, most therapeutically sound? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Based on prioritization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment before diagnosis & treatment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Key word Initial implies need to assess </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Address client’s feelings first in communication type questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching & learning situations – learning is usually contingent upon motivation </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Avoiding Pitfalls <ul><li>What is this question really asking? </li></ul><ul><li>Look for key words . </li></ul><ul><li>Restate question in your own words. </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Options that require you to make assumptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Options that include information not included in the scenario </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t read into the question. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t overanalyze the question. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Pitfalls contd. <ul><li>READ STEM COMPLETELY! </li></ul><ul><li>Then look at options… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make decision about each option as you read it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t go back to that option once you have eliminated it. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t overcomplicate the scenario </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t rely on ANECDOTAL data from your own practice </li></ul>
    11. 11. When you just don’t know… <ul><li>Read the question carefully </li></ul><ul><li>Separate what it tells you from what it is asking </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate incorrect options </li></ul><ul><li>Answer all questions as if the situations were ideal </li></ul>
    12. 12. Don’t know contd… <ul><li>Identify all false-response stems </li></ul><ul><li>Select the most global response option </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate similar options or options that are incorrect </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate those that contain words like ‘always’ or ‘never’ </li></ul><ul><li>Look for similar words or phrases in the introductory statement or stem </li></ul><ul><li>Be alert to relevant information from earlier questions </li></ul>
    13. 13. Don’t know contd. <ul><li>Watch for grammatical inconsistencies between the stem and option </li></ul><ul><li>If three of the four options sound similar, the odd one should win out! </li></ul><ul><li>Look for the longest option </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s often the correct response </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Know Yourself
    15. 15. Test Taking Type! <ul><li>Tortoise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obsessive, focuses on details, misses the big picture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hare </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Crams, feels anxious during study sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Peacock </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Procrastinates, puts off studying, doesn’t think there is a need to study </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pig </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Diligent, smart, good study habits, lacks self confidence </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Tortoise <ul><li>Often last to finish </li></ul><ul><li>Spends too much time examining details and rereading questions & answers </li></ul><ul><li>May have to rush at end to complete exam in allotted time </li></ul>
    17. 17. Hare <ul><li>Often first to finish </li></ul><ul><li>Does not read questions (and answers) thoroughly </li></ul><ul><li>Makes quick guesses </li></ul><ul><li>Feels anxious when the answer is not readily apparent </li></ul>
    18. 18. Peacock <ul><li>Reads own ideas into questions </li></ul><ul><li>Changes initial responses often because expected answer is not present </li></ul><ul><li>Selects answer based on own anecdotal experience </li></ul>
    19. 19. Pig <ul><li>Questions own knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Changes initial response </li></ul><ul><li>Feels anxious when faced with information that is presented differently than expected </li></ul><ul><li>Voices self-doubt when testing </li></ul>
    20. 20. Test Taking Strategies
    21. 21. Tortoise <ul><li>Concepts not details </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing testing speed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time yourself in practice test </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Approx 45 to 60 seconds per question </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t linger too long on one question </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep a watch in front of you while taking tests </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine your half-way mark </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. Hare <ul><li>Develop & stick to study plan </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid last minute cramming </li></ul><ul><li>Decreasing test taking speed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Read questions thoroughly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Read all options </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Time yourself in practice tests </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow yourself no less than 1 minute per question </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Peacock <ul><li>Develop and stick to a study plan </li></ul><ul><li>Practice with sample tests </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain objectivity </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid adding own interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid changing answers </li></ul>
    24. 24. Pig <ul><li>Continue usual study habits </li></ul><ul><li>Work on self-confidence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop a self-confidence mantra to recite if you find yourself doubting your knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use practice tests to increase confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid changing answers </li></ul>
    25. 25. Your study plan <ul><li>Assess yourself… </li></ul><ul><li>Diagnose your weaknesses and strengths… </li></ul><ul><li>Plan your plan… </li></ul><ul><li>Implement your plan… </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate yourself… </li></ul><ul><li>And start over…. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Learning styles <ul><li>Pathways through which you prefer to absorb information </li></ul><ul><li>Visual </li></ul><ul><li>Auditory </li></ul><ul><li>Kinesthetic </li></ul>
    27. 27. Talks about content with study partner Rewrites or re-types notes Listens to back-ground music or other noise Uses highlighters or colored paper to take notes Listens to tapes of material while walking or biking Makes up songs; singing about the content Uses concept maps, flashcards or charts of material Reads while exercising on a stationary bike! Listens to audiotapes of material Watch appropriate videos Moving around while studying Reads text aloud Read in quiet setting Kinesthetic Auditory Visual
    28. 28. Getting Started… <ul><li>If you haven’t already done so… </li></ul><ul><li>One basic concept about studying… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any worthwhile studying…. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TAKES TIME! </li></ul></ul></ul>
    29. 29. Tips <ul><li>Pleasant personal environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember – to also leave it ready for your next study session. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Plan activities in advance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>List your tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set specific targets </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 ½ hour blocks are realistic with a 10 minute break every 45 minutes </li></ul></ul>
    30. 30. Tips <ul><li>Reward yourself! </li></ul><ul><li>Make use of your best time of day </li></ul><ul><li>Think in terms of bite-sized pieces </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you eat an elephant???? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Variety </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Study alone vs study with groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Test question review vs content review </li></ul></ul>
    31. 31. More Tips <ul><li>Keep focused on your goal - Certification! </li></ul><ul><li>Visualize how you’ll feel when you receive your certificate! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Picture it framed and hanging… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remind yourself of what you will gain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A raise? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A new job? </li></ul></ul></ul>
    32. 32. Final Thoughts <ul><li>Good night’s sleep! </li></ul><ul><li>Try relaxation techniques that work for you </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t cram the night before </li></ul><ul><li>Do something relaxing & enjoyable </li></ul><ul><li>If you are taking the exam in a town / place unfamiliar to you – find the exam center before the day of the test! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know where to park and how long it will take to get there! </li></ul></ul>
    33. 33. Morning of… <ul><li>A few exercises – gets the blood pumping to the brain! </li></ul><ul><li>Eat lightly – DO EAT…. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid stimulants / depressants </li></ul><ul><li>Go easy on the caffeine </li></ul><ul><li>Find the rest rooms! (use it before testing begins!) </li></ul><ul><li>Dress in layers </li></ul>
    34. 34. What to take… <ul><li>Identification / Registration papers </li></ul><ul><li>Pencils (if paper/pencil exam) </li></ul><ul><li>A watch! </li></ul>
    35. 35. What to do…. <ul><li>Listen carefully to instructions </li></ul><ul><li>Deep breathing / relaxation exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Stay focused </li></ul><ul><li>Pace yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t spend too long on any one question </li></ul><ul><li>Co with your first choice…move on </li></ul><ul><li>Try to avoid changing answers* </li></ul>
    36. 36. A little more… <ul><li>Identify distractions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Backache, neck ache, reading the same question over and over and over… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thinking of a vacation… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If this occurs – STOP, take a few minutes to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Breathe deep, refocus and get back on track! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t panic when someone finishes before you….you are not in a race with them… </li></ul>

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