Were you one of the many nursing students who failed a class last semester? It sucks. It’s way more than just a bad grade. It also hits you emotionally and financially in addition to academically. And if you intend to continue in nursing school and try again, then it’s going to be essential for you to address all three of these areas.
Unfortunately, most nursing students are at a loss as to what to do first. And so they end up doing the worst thing possible: they “hope” that they’ll do better the next time they take the class. What kind of plan is that? No wonder students retaking a class have exponentially higher anxiety levels…that plan is terrible! If you want to get different results next time, you need to do something differently next time. So here’s how you can create a plan that will actually work.
Emotionally: Put things in perspective and get your anxiety under control
You’re human, and you failed a class. That’s it. It doesn’t mean the world is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean your friends hate you, it doesn’t mean that your family will disown you, and it doesn’t mean that you’ll never be a nurse. When we’re disappointed and uncertain about the future, we have the tendency to assume the worst. And that often leaves us pessimistic and anxious; not a good combination.
Give yourself a bit of grace. Failing a class should not define who you are as a person. Instead, spend time focusing on other areas of your life that make you feel good about yourself and get you refocused on positive things.
It will also be imperative for you to come up with a strategy to manage your anxiety, especially any test anxiety that will definitely be popping up next semester. I teach an easy technique to conquer test anxiety, and you can learn it for free as part of the Free Membership with Your Nursing Tutor.
Financially: Spend a little money now…or lot of money later
I occasionally hear from students who think that tutoring costs too much, or say the PASS Program is expensive, or that they can’t afford to purchase a review book. But if the information and guidance you get from any of those resources helps you be successful in nursing school, isn’t it worth the money? The alternative is to pay another round of tuition to retake a class, plus fees, plus the lost income you would have made by graduating on time and getting your first nursing job.
The resources available can vary greatly in cost depending on a lot of factors, and your budget will definitely influence what your options are, too. But taking advantage of your professor’s office hours is free. Checking an NCLEX review book out of the library is free, too. Buying used review books can be cheap. Prioritizing your money so that you can afford to pay for a tutor to review with you before each exam might be worth it. Signing up for the PASS Program so that you can learn how to study more efficiently and effectively might turn out to be a pretty good deal.
Academically: Do something differently next time
Wishing and hoping to pass your class is not going to get you to graduation. If you’re the same student, studying the same way, and doing the same things next time you take your class, then you can expect the same result. Failure. It is simply not realistic to continue repeating the same behaviors but expect a different outcome.
If you think you failed because of a “bad” professor, or unfair test questions, it doesn’t matter because those are things you can’t control in your nursing program. All you can control is yourself, so you need to focus on doing things that will make your more likely to succeed next time around. Join (or create) a good study group, review your A&P, improve your test-taking strategy, or change the way you study. These are all good examples of how to start setting yourself up for success next time around.
Failing a class does not have to mean failing to reach your dream of becoming a nurse. There are people out there that want to help you, including me! But you’re responsible for changing your nursing school strategy so that you don’t have to go through the terrible experience of failing a class ever again.
If you found these ideas helpful, please leave a comment below to let other nursing students know!