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  • 12 November 2018
  • 10 min read

Exam and assignment tips from a student nurse

  • Lottie Pearson
    Student Nurse

Student nurse, Lottie, gives advice on how to prepare for exams and assignments when studying nursing at university. 

Play video: Lottie offers valuable exam and assignments advice to help you at uni

Hi everyone and welcome back to another video. Today I'm gonna be filming a tips and tricks for exams and assignments at university for nursing students, so without further ado let's just get straight on into the video.

Start assignments as soon as you get them

A tip for when you are at nursing school is to start your assignments early.

Now, I know it's really easy to say and it's a lot harder to do but it really helps.

I know a lot of people that start their assignments way too late and they end up asking me if I've done mine and I've usually done mine by the time we are actually submitting it.

Actually I’ve submitted an assignment today and I think I've had like two friends that in the past few days that have said to me that they've only just done it or are doing it at the last minute and usually people do get lower marks and they could do if they do it at the very last minute.

Also it's great when you finish before and everyone's still stressing about it and you're just so free!

Modules are really really close together especially in nursing school. I know that I have a poster presentation to do in a few weeks time and then an exam in December so just to get like the assignment out of the way earlier in the year is just so much better so then I could focus on the upcoming things.

Look for inspiration from others

Another tip is to if you can ask someone if you can see their assignment, that is say in the year above you or the cohort above you - not for you to copy just for you to understand the structure more.

I feel like there's only a couple of hours in the lecture that you can listen to on how to structure and everything but unless you actually see it in an assignment you can't really get that good of an idea.

One of my friends sent me her assignment and she said someone sent her their assignment throughout the whole of second year and she it was just so much of a help to her so she sent me hers and she said that she wants to do the same someone else and honestly this assignment has taught me so much more in less of a time if that makes sense.

It took me about four weeks to do this assignment compared to normally about two months.

Revise the actual exam

A tip for an exam is to actually revise the exam itself and time yourself.

This is something I made the mistake of last year - I practiced the exam for so many hours every single day coming up to the exam I learnt so much, and because it was a scene exam I spent the two weeks writing out the question that I want to actually write on the day and I learned it off by heart and when I got into the exam I realised that I wrote way too much and I couldn't fit in all of that in the exam.

I'd never actually sat down and timed myself and also like I'm sure it's been proven that like if you actually practice doing the exam then that's the best way to prepare for an exam other than learning loads and loads of information and keep learning and learning.

There's only so much you can know but unless you know how to do the exam you're not really gonna get very far. So this year when I'm in for this exam this December I'm going to practice this, doing the exam over and over again to make sure that I have enough time this time.

Stay hydrated

When you're in an exam I really do recommend bringing water and basically just sipping it every so often because there is scientific and research to say that when you sit and when you sit water every so often in an exam that it does improve your mark.

Revise little and often

Another thing that's proven is that revising in small blocks every day is a lot better than cramming in a lot of information into a single day and doing that every so often.

At night time when you sleep your mind goes over the stuff that you've learnt and your experiences in the day and it just kind of like memorises it at night.

Go to sleep, do it again do some other stuff instead of cramming it all into one day - you're less likely to like remember it all.

Don’t cram last minute!

Another thing that was proven is that cramming in last-minute revision - I'm talking like hours before - isn’t useful as you don't actually remember it so don't cram it in the last minute.

Perfect your referencing

In nursing school they are so hot on your references. For me they use the Harvard referencing system, I don't know if it's the same in any other degrees and everything but learn the referencing system off by heart because in the first year that is how a lot of people, including me, lost that a lot of marks because we were focusing on the referencing was focusing more on the exam and that's what they picked up on the most.

In second year there's no excuse for referencing mistakes and they will just fail you, it's not good enough so basically learn the referencing list at the very beginning of the course so maybe in like first year and know it off by heart by second year and you won't lose marks anymore.

I also recommend using refworks - I have access to it through my University's website and they've got a link to it on the library links and everything so if you can also sign them if your institution is on refworks and that is really good it actually generates the reference for you so you just put in all the details and it generates the links for you and then you can actually create a bibliography or reference list or whatever on the website and copy and paste it into word that's really good.

If you don't have access to that you can use Neil's toolbox that is a very good referencing site as well.

Learn your modules at the beginning

When you are at nursing school another thing is to remember is at the beginning of the year is to learn your modules.

I personally have I think four or five modules a year one of the modules is an exam module, one of them is an assignment module, I think another one is an assignment module, one of them for me is a poster and then one of them is just like a random module that you have to do and it's got like other bits of working it out and I find that learning what module is when and what it's for/ what you need to learn for it is so much better because when you go to that lecture you know what you're being taught and why you're being taught it.

So now when I go to an exam module lecture it will say the exam, it will say that module and I'll think wow I need to write this down because if this comes up on the exam I'm gonna be stuffed because I didn't listen in the lecture, and I'm only gonna be sat there later on in the year looking at this lecture wishing that I had paid attention.

Make note of all your exam dates

Another tip is at the beginning of the year again to write down all of the times and the dates for exams and assignments so just know even like the rough time that they're going to be coming out so say like June or whatever.

I knew my exam was in December, I didn't know the date until recently and and that is to basically know how to manage your year, knowing you're going to be receiving lectures for exams and lectures for assignments because there's nothing worse than getting a lecture and then you realised later on in the week that it was actually a lecture for an assignment and you didn't really listen to it and then you've got to revisit the lecture because you didn't know what the lecture was for.

Exam lectures

In nursing school I have one exam every year and I don't know if that's the same for the other unis but I have one exam every year and currently I'm being taught a lot of lectures related to the exam so I'll have like an exam on like cardiac failure and then I'll have an exam on like catheterisation all that stuff so I would highly recommend going home and revisiting those later on that day or even the next.

I definitely would recommend going over at least once because then when you come closer the exam you're gonna plant it in the lecture you're also gonna be gonna have learnt at home a little bit as well even if it's just like 30 minutes to an hour which is what I did today and I found a lot more information on YouTube as well as the lectures.

So I've got the lecture information and the YouTube information which makes a whole lot more info and I just really recommend that because you'll be so much more grateful when you actually come to the exam.

Plan assignments before doing them

When you're doing an assignment plan them before you do it.

Back in first year I usually would sit there and start writing the introduction even when I didn't really have like a whole idea of what I would be writing.

Write the introduction last because then you know exactly what is in the assignment you've just wrote.

So we do these introduction to conclusion, conclusion first, plan it out so you know when you're doing what section, what section requires what, what's gonna take the longest, what's gonna take the shortest because when you've planned it you feel so much more organised it's gonna flow more it's gonna make sense more you're less likely to repeat yourself.

So that is it for today's video, I hope you all enjoyed it! Leave a comment and like if you thought that it was a good video and I'll see you in my next video! Bye!