Dear Aspiring NP:
It was early December 2012 and I felt completely defeated, I had come out of the testing center where I had gone to take my school’s Comprehensive Examination Test (Comp test) and I had failed it. I couldn’t believe it! Without this test I couldn’t graduate, and they only gave two chances for you to pass. What would I do? It had been a tough year, I had lost two of my aunts who I was close to in tragic events, I had finished hundreds of clinical hours, moved 5 times in less than a year and even lost a semester due to difficulty finding clinical preceptors. However, after it was all said and done, I had come to this point, where everything depended on one test.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever felt like that, but I literally felt like I had been kicked in the guts. My mother had flown down to Florida and had driven me to the testing center, she knew how disappointed I was, my diploma, nurse practitioner career and what seemed like my whole life was at the other end of that test.
As I sat in the car contemplating my options it became clear that I had two to choose from:
- I could either wallow in my despair and crumble to pieces,
- or I could develop a plan and kick some testing butt.
I chose the latter.
The days seemed to go by fast since my parents were in town helping me pack and move back to Massachusetts, so it became increasingly hard to concentrate with all the things going on in the apartment, but I had a plan, I got in touch with other students studying for the same test and divided the guide they had given us so we could each fill a portion of it out, that way we had it completed in a couple days. I took sample test after sample test and simulated the testing center’s experience as much as I could. I didn’t have a Christmas, but I was determined to graduate by the end of that year. And so it was, that on December 27th, 2012 I took that test and PASSED it.
So why am I telling you this story? Well, I actually hadn’t really failed any major exams like the HESIS or NCLEX-RN before this experience, but like everything else, it served to humble me and convince me (yet a again) that I really, really wanted to become a Nurse Practitioner, and to stay focus on the larger goal.
Sometimes it feels like we are stuck for this really long and crazy ride that seems to have no end in sight, but much like a hurdle race, each obstacle prepares you to jump the next one and so on.
So today, I want to talk to you about the importance of developing a game plan before you take any major test, like your boards or comp exam. At the end of the day it has little to do with the knowledge that you have and a lot to do with your ability to perform and assimilate questions in high stress and timed situations. Let’s take the NP boards as an example, most people prepare for it by reading a review book and completing questions in those topics after each session. This is a valuable way to test your knowledge on different topics for this exam, however I have learned that best results are achieved when you simulate your testing environment as much as possible and took full length tests instead of a few questions here and there.
What does this mean for you? Well, think about, it, when you are taking a test at a testing center you:
- Don’t have electronics near you,
- Are often sitting in an uncomfortable chair
- Are in a dimly lit room (very much conducive to dozing off)
- Don’t have water or snacks available
- Don’t get up frequently to use the restroom
- If you need to get up you need to ask for permission first
- Can’t whisper to yourself or talk out loud
- Are dressed up to go outside (not wearing your bathroom robe)
- Know that your every move is being watched
It is certainly much harder to concentrate or stay awake when all those things are taking place. So for a lot of student NPs, they are totally out of the comfort zone and off their game when faced with these types of testing environment. But what would happen if you were to simulate the testing environment at home?
Here is my (not so) radical idea:
What if instead of taking the 150-200 question sample test “in the comfort of your home” you took it following the rigors of a testing center?
And what if you practiced doing this every day for a week until it no longer felt foreign to you?
What if you had a test guide to help prepare you to simulate the testing environment in the best way possible?
Enter “The Gomez study method and guide” , finally a study method that you can apply regardless of which review book/course you have taken (and no, it doesn’t involve flashcards). It really is divided into 2 categories:
The intense knowledge review
The intense testing simulation
I am proposing that you take at least 3 weeks off to study before sitting down to take one of these board tests (AANP or ANCC). Want to know exactly what you should do during these 3 weeks? Check out this Free downloadable guide that will walk step by step
This study method helped me pass my NCLEX-RN, 2nd Comp exam and ANCC exam. Not only did it help me but it also helped my father pass his NCLEX-RN and Mental Health ANCC test, and it also helped my sister pass her NCLEX-RN, all of us passed the first time around once we practiced and studied using this method. If we can do it, so do you. Are you ready to try it? Don’t forget to download your free downloadable guide here!
And join our facebook group to let us know how it’s going! Can’t wait to hear how you are simulating the testing center at home! ‘Till next time!
Liliet Gomez, FNP-BC
Founder of Aspiring NP
The Place find support in your NP journey
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