Friday, October 30, 2015

Study plan, selling your books for more than you paid for them!!

After passing, you should plan to sell your review material on eBay or Amazon, and you should make back a considerable portion of the cost! 

Interested?  Just leave a comment below about whether or not you used this study plan, if it worked for you, and a request for re-sale information.  I will send it out as soon as I can!

Note: The links in this post are affiliate links and I get a small commission if you make a purchase. 
Copyrighted 2015, N. Sturgill, FNP 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Study plan, intensive study of the CDs.

13.  After graduation, dedicate 3-4 days to go through the CDs of the review course while taking notes in a notebook or in the manual.  The CDs are recorded from a 8 hour a day, 3 day seminar, so it will take you at least 3-4 days to complete them.  These days do not have to be consecutive, maybe 2 days one week and 2 days the next week, or one day a week for 4 weeks. 

 Pretend that you are going to the seminar, take notes, study straight through, and take breaks every 50 minutes or so. This is dedicated listening, not like the listening you have been doing all along. Put in your earbuds at the Starbucks (you can get free refills on coffee if you use their app) and focus on listening, on taking notes, getting a drink, peeing, and then starting over.  Study for at least a three hour session each time, but never more than 6 hours total.  Continue to review your flashcards at least 15 minutes a day. 

14.  You should have graduated by now.  You need to continue to review the flashcards every day for at least 15 minutes and in addition one day a week dedicated to answering the questions for the fourth time. Do 100 questions on those days until you have completed both books for the fourth time.  Look at your scores.  If you are in the mid to high 90% you are probably ready for boards.  Schedule your test and pass! 

If you are not ready, continue with the flashcards and retake the questions a fifth time, or a sixth time.  What ever it takes for you to get a mastery level of the information in the questions.  Remember you are not memorizing the answers, you are seeking to understand the rationale behind the question.  I did not have one single exam question on my boards that was like or almost like a practice question.  But I was prepared for the exam and passed the first time with this process. 

Next post, how to sell your material for more than what you paid for them! 

BTW, if you do decide to attend a live seminar, consider taking notes in a notebook or on large post-it-notes.  Why? You'll get more money for the manual if it is unmarked (I did make a correction or two) when you sell it. Also consider purchasing the CDs for the extra $100 or so - you can resell them with your manual for even more money.  The bundle will sell (current year) for anywhere from $200 to $300, depending on the time of the year.

Next step: selling your review materials.

Note: The links in this post are affiliate links and I get a small commission of you use them. 

Copyrighted 2015, N. Sturgill, FNP 

Study plan, reviewing your weaknesses

12. Honestly, this is probably the most crucial part of the plan, reviewing your progress and identifying areas of weakness.  

Ok, so you should have been through all questions at least two times (maybe three) before this step.  And you have probably graduated by now - congratulations!

You should have some free time now, no need for clinical studies, no need to study for school exams.  Now you will go back and review the questions, I did maybe 50 at a time and made flashcards of any that I had circled for 2 or 3 times (either a wrong answer or a guess).  

Include the Hollier practice exams in these flashcards.  Your study time may be longer now due to researching these questions.  I did this after graduation and I used the free Brainscape app on the iPad to make flashcards.  Make your own questions, and ask about what you need to learn based on what you got wrong.  If it is memorization just ask the question as in the book.  If it is theory, research the subject and make up a question that probes for an understanding of the subject.  Spend 15 minutes a day on flashcards.  Go through these flashcards every few days (you should have probably 30-70 per book, maybe more) to review until you feel that you have mastered them. 

Continue listening to the CDs, one for a week, and start over when you finish.  

Next step: intensive study of the CDs.

Note: The links in this post are affiliate links and I get a small commission of you use them. 

Copyrighted 2015, N. Sturgill, FNP 

Study plan...after completing both books once

9.  Start with the Liek book again, same process.  Then the Hollier book again. Take the second Hollier exam.  It takes some time to work through both books (maybe 2 months) which is why you want to start now.  You are going for a slow steady daily process that helps with slow steady persistent learning. 

10.  Compare your progress first time and second time.  You should see an improvement of maybe 5-10%.  It's cool, let it ride, you'll get even better the next time.

11. Third time, same thing, both books, all questions, including the third Hollier exam, and then compare progress. You should be getting better! 

Remember to continue to listen to one CD continuously each week and a new one every week, working you way through all of them.  

Next step: reviewing your weakness (the most important step).

Note: The links in this post are affiliate links and I get a small commission of you use them. 

Copyrighted 2015, N. Sturgill, FNP 

Don't buy the Codina Liek book without reading this post!

Why?  Because you may study it in depth and still fail!  Yup, even though I feel that the Codina Liek book is a good review book to help study for the exam, there are quite a few errors in it.  Some of the answers even contradict her material (which is usually accurate) so be careful!  There were enough that were "off" that they could make a difference in whether you pass or fail!

I also found an error in the Hollier book, but just one!  I emailed Dr. Hollier about it and she very graciously replied (within a few days) and commented on the response.  I really appreciate that kind of response and dedication to accuracy!  BTW, she has a web site where any identified errors are noted with the correction (most where just typos, like, "the rationale given is correct but the correct answer is b").

I also emailed Ms. Codina Liek, and she answered (after several weeks) and said that she was aware of errors and that she would correct them in the next edition!  Wow, the next edition still isn't out (as of October 2015 when I am writing this), so I guess she just expected me to fail the exam while waiting!  She also has a web site, where she talks about how good she is with helping people who have failed previously and it even has updates to JNC 8.  But she refuses to correct any errors in her book.  I consider this (IMHO) irresponsible.  Why would I want to study wrong answers or rationales!  I feel that I paid (by the purchase of the book) for good information and correct answers.  For her to just excuse herself and just say "buy the next edition" really angered me!  It speaks to how unconcerned she is about the accuracy of the information that she is providing. 

So in response to that, I have a list of at least thirty-eight questions, answers, or rationales that are incorrect in her book. Some are minor, some are obvious typos, and some are just plan incorrect!  I will send you a list of them and a little rationale if you would like, I just ask that you promise you are not associated with Ms. Codina Liek (why should I do the research for her new book for her when she is unconcerned about it and she is not compensating me?), and that you leave a comment on this blog after passing on whether or not the information in this blog was helpful for you while studying. (Note: I do not include any questions, just a comment on how it is incorrect or the rationale.  You have to have the book to understand this.  I am trying to be very careful about copyrights, so none of her questions are included.)

I've had several requests for the corrections, but the emails did not include your commitment.  I spent a lot of time on this and am asking for nothing other than this commitment!  Just cut and paste this:  "I will not share the information provided, I will send any one who asks for this information to this blog.  I am not related in any way with Ms Codina Leik and I will not share this information with her or her representatives."  Send this to me in an email to the address below.  I usually respond in 1-3 business days (I do work, so sometimes it takes a little longer). 

I just found that if you do not sign in appropriately I am unable to respond to comments you make below.  So if you would like the list of incorrect questions, just email me at fnptips at gmail dot com.  I usually respond within 24 hours. 

I did not purchase the app available, but I would use it with caution since the questions seem to be the same ones.  A friend of mine bought it; what I reviewed was identical to the questions in the book so I would assume that it has the same errors as well.  

I am open to suggestions as well!  Everybody studies and learns differently so if you have any suggestions or tips, I would be happy to feature a guest post from you after you pass. 

Next: After completing both books

Note: The links in this post are affiliate links and I get a small commission of you use them. 
Copyrighted 2015, N. Sturgill, FNP 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Study plan, Week 8 (starting the Hollier book)

8.  New week, new book.  This week start on the Hollier review book.  Her book is divided into sections, each with 24-27 questions each and three practice tests.  Use the same process except complete a section (at the most 27 questions) a day until you complete all the pertinent sections.  Remember to do the pediatrics and geriatrics sections in the back.  They will take more time since there are more questions.  Just divide them up into 25-30 questions a day until you complete the book. (NOTE: it looks like this book is no longer sold by Dr. Hollier.  It is an excellent book, so I would try to buy it used while you can.)

Once again, do a total and look at your scores.  Your scores will probably not be too good.  Don't worry too much, this will help to focus your study on what your weaknesses.  On some days if you have time to do 30-50 questions, that is fine,  just do not do more than 100 questions at a setting.  

After you complete all the sections in the Hollier book, take one day and set aside about 3 hours for one of the practice test.  How are you doing?  Hopefully your score is improving as you go along. My first time around I was in the 60-80 range - which some people say is good enough to pass.  But failure was not an option for me, so I continued to study. I did not feel "ready" until I was getting scores consistently in the 90s. 

Next: Don't buy the Codina Liek book without reading this post!

Note: The links in this post are affiliate links and I get a small commission of you use them. 

Copyrighted 2015, N. Sturgill, FNP 

Study plan, week 4 and finishing Codina-Liek......

Are you seeing a pattern here?  You should, because every week is similar to the previous week, only different questions.  Weeks 4-6 are similar to the weeks previous....

7. Continue through the book until you have answered and marked every question. If you want you can do a total for every 100 questions of what you got right (like a grade) to show how you a doing.  
On week 7, you only have about 40 questions, so use the remainder of the week to review all of the circled questions in the Liek book. 
Take a day to do some math on how you did; I got in the 60-80% the first time around, so not too good. Then grade yourself on all 600+ questions, for a grand grade. After that, set the Liek book aside for a while. 

Update: I forgot to mention the CDs.   Remeber to continue to listen to the CDs every chance that you get, and move to a new CD every week.  Remember this is to make the information second nature: listen, listen, listen.  Later on I have a scheduled intensive study from the CDs, but right now just listen every chance you get!  If you are lucky enough to have 2 sets from different lecturers (or a friend who will share with you), start the second when you finish the first.
Note: The links in this post are affiliate links and I get a small commission of you use them. 

Copyrighted 2015, N. Sturgill, FNP 

Study plan, week 3

Have you been studying regularly, or are you behind?  Getting behind is not too big of a deal as long as you get back on the wagon and start studying again. No need to double up unless you are on a strict time table.  Just start up from where you stopped and start answering questions again.

Week three is essentially the same as week one and two except that you are moving on to harder questions.  It seems like I missed more the farther on I went on Leik's book.

Day 1 through 5 : Answer 20 questions every day.  You should be working on 201-300 this week.

Day 6: Go back to all the questions from 201-300 that you circled and review these.

Day 7:  answer all the questions that were circled for questions 101-300.  No need to keep track of your progress, you are just cementing this information on your head.

Next: Study plan, week 4 and finishing Codina-Liek......

Note: The links in this post are affiliate links and I get a small commission of you use them. 
Copyrighted 2015, N. Sturgill, FNP 

Study Plan, week 2

Have you started with your daily question and answer sessions?  Don't worry the first time how you are doing, use your wrong responses to focus on your weak areas.  I found that I was missing more questions as I got farther along in the questions.  Don't worry, you will improve after studying!  Just keep plugging away at it, and answer questions every day. 

Every day: listen to the CD #2 this week, once you finish it, re-listen to it all week.  Are you getting sick of it yet?  Can you almost repeat it word for word?  Good! 

Day 1 - 5: In Leik, answer 20 questions every day, working on questions 101-200.  

Day 6: Review any circled/marked questions, research each one so that you know the rationale for the answer. 

Day 7:  review all circled/marked questions of the first 200 questions. No need to keep track but if you keep missing a question, pay attention to it and maybe research it a little. 

Congratulate yourself!  You have almost made studying a habit!  

Remember, if you need to take a break for a test or an emergency, it will delay you a few days to a week but not make this impossible.  Just jump right back to studying those 15 minutes as soon as possible!  How are you doing?  Have you been able to study consistently?  Share your thoughts below. 

Next: Study plan, week 3
Note: The links in this post are affiliate links and I get a small commission of you use them to make a purchase. 
Copyrighted 2015, N. Sturgill, FNP