P.O.P. Your Way to Nursing School Exam Success!

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We’re all familiar with the stress that can come before a big test. While tests present a challenge, lots of options are available to help you enter an exam with confidence. Ready to ace your nursing school tests? Let’s go!

P.O.P. your way to success! P.O.P. stands for prepare, organize, practice. This acronym can help you remember the key components of successful test-taking, so let’s dive in.

Prepare. Empty your brain of any mental distractions, allowing yourself to focus and maximize study time. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the test format. By knowing the number of questions, types of questions, and test objectives, you will feel more relaxed. 

Organize. Planning study time, discovering ways to reduce stress, and finding an appropriate study environment are great ways to become organized in nursing school.

  1. Plan study time
    1. Start a calendar with scheduled study times. It is more productive to study in short 50-minute bursts than many hours at a time.
    2. Recopy notes taken from lectures at the end of the day to solidify material in your memory.
    3. Meet with a study group after lectures to discuss the 3 most important takeaways (those top ideas you should “take away” from the lesson).
  2. Find an appropriate environment – Establish a time and place that works for you to study and concentrate. Put distractions away to maximize time. Inform others about your study environment so that they can respect your boundaries.
  3. Alleviate stress – Use essential oils for quick stress relief. They are a scientifically proven way to reduce stress and anxiety, helping students perform better on test day. Lavender essential oil reduces cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Bergamot essential oil enhances mood and alleviates stress. Lemon essential oil relieves stress and amplifies brain energy.


Another crucial consideration as your prepare for nursing school exams is to practice, practice, practice. Ways to practice what you’ve learned include:

  • Taking advantage of access to old practice tests and other exams you’ve taken in the past.
  • Leverage additional practice opportunities through ATI including practice assessments and using the ATI Learning System 3.0. These are great tools to help you gain confidence in answering exam questions.
  • Think about time management. Most nursing exams are timed. To practice, take 1.5 to 2 minutes per question and avoid getting caught up in 1 question for too long.

Test day

When test day comes, remember to breathe and remind yourself that you are prepared. You’ll know you’ve done everything you can to get ready. Positive self-talk goes a long way, so enter the test with confidence!

Review these strategies and others with our “Test-taking strategies” presentation.

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