Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why One Test Leads to Another (It’s All About the Boards)

Graduating from associate’s degree nursing programs, bachelor’s degree nursing programs and master’s degree nursing programs all have one thing in common: taking and passing exit exams. In order to  graduate from a nursing program, most schools require students to pass a comprehensive exam prior to getting your degree. This is a practice boards exam that shows whether you have learned the basic necessities from your program. It is an overall summary of all of the nursing courses you have taken during your education.

What is the point?

The comprehensive exam is good for both you and your school. It is good for you because it helps to narrow down where your weak points are so that you can study them for your boards exam. Most schools have a “review” process where an instructor will help you with a study plan after you take the comprehensive exam. It is good for your school because many schools are rated on how many students pass boards. If a number of students are failing the comprehensive exam, faculty can tailor the overall school program to help focus their teaching on some of these weak points so that students do better on boards exams.

It’s a win–win.

The comprehensive exam is a normal part of nursing school. It is required for graduation and is important to help prepare you for your nursing boards. Many comprehensive exams are even given at testing sites in your community to help prepare you for what it will be like to take boards. They are often 3-6 hours long. In order to get as much out of this process as possible, consider it as a “practice” boards and walk through the door as you would on the day you take your nursing boards.

For those of you who have already participated, what was your experience taking the comprehensive exams? Do you think they helped you pass boards? Do you think they should be mandatory in order to graduate? Please share your thoughts!

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