Getting Super Nervous In Practical Exam Already
Practical exams drove me up the wall with anxiety. For me, it all came down to practicing the skills, the sequence, and what to say. I’ve included some suggestions for practicing and getting really comfortable with the skills to hopefully help assuage your anxiety about practical exams!
- Video tape yourself doing the skills as though it were a test situation, and watch them with the testing rubric or your notes in front of you. Take account of where you make mistakes and practice those areas.
- If you don’t have the means to video tape yourself, audio record yourself talking through the skills step by step as though you were explaining to the patient what you’re doing, and review the recording with the rubric or notes. Practice introducing yourself to the patient, explaining what the physical exam will contain, and why you’re doing each step.
- If you’re allowed to, video or audiotape your professor, TA, or another student as they complete an assessment or history.
- Practice and quiz yourself on the sequence if you’re doing head to toe exams, or the content areas if you’re taking a history. EX: If you’ve asked about the quality of the patient’s sleep, what comes next? If they mention a family history of heart disease, what else do you have to ask about?
- Have a friend (one who will keep you honest) watch you and correct you, either by stopping you during demonstrating the procedure or explaining what you missed afterwards (as though you were competing a real exam).
- If you’ve got that friend handy, ask if you can explain the procedure to them as though you were teaching it. If you know why you’re doing each step cold, and could teach it to someone else, it might help you feeling more confident that you do know it for the test. EX: Why do you do the hand rub? Why do you ausculate before palpating the abdomen?
- If your professors or clinical instructors host office hours, attend them and work through your problem areas with your instructors. Your professors want you to learn the skills right, and it might help you get over the anxiety of performing the skill with a professor in the room.
- Watch videos online of technical skills you have trouble with (EX: abdominal palpation, visual or hearing tests, etc). Always defer to your professor’s specific instructions on how to complete a certain skill, but it could be helpful for you to see another person do it.
- Ask an older student or a graduate TA to help you.
source by Reddit