By Nancy l Kimmel RN Phd CHMM, CNA

The Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE) is focused on improving the education of students whose ability to reach their potential is challenged by language or cultural barriers, race, geographic location, or poverty. CREDE promotes research by university faculty and graduate students and provides educators with a range of tools to help them implement best practices in the classroom. A 1993 investigation revealed that 40 to 44 million Americans had only the most basic reading and writing skills (Kirsch, Jungeblut, Jenkins, & Kolstad, 1993). Another 50 million Americans not only lacked the skills to function successfully in a literate society, but also were not aware of their inadequacies.

These statistics make it obvious that we have to look for new approaches to prepare students, especially in light of current job market trends.

The job market now demands a workforce that is more highly educated than ever. For example, assembly line workers must interpret manuals in addition to operating machinery. These workers must be able to read, write, analyze, interpret, and synthesize information (Hay & Roberts, 1989).

In summary, people just aren’t reading as much anymore and yet the need for reading, comprehension, and communication skills (verbal and written) has increased. The need is great for strengthening the following skills:

Your ability to read a variety of materials (e.g. textbooks, novels, newspapers, magazines, instructional manuals)
Your ability to understand and remember what you read.
Your ability to effectively communicate what you’ve learned from your reading.

To sufficiently prepare for the type of questions that are asked one must practice reading passages and answering questions in a similar format. The software, The Nursing Entrance Test Study Guide, has successfully prepared many nursing school students to pass the Nursing Entrance Test with higher than the national average score. This is due to the fact that the author, Dr. Nancy Lydia Kimmel, a professor of Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry and Math, author of several books on education took the Nursing Entrance Test, has tutored many students on and scored in the top five percent in the nation herself.

Upon taking the test, Dr. Kimmel conceived and wrote the software entitled, The Nursing Entrance Test Study Guide. Dr. Kimmel, designed the reading comprehension section in the same format as the Nursing Entrance Test and provided the student with complete explanations and methods for answering the questions. The essays included in The Nursing Entrance Test Study Guide are of equal if not longer in length from those on the Nursing Entrance Test and the computerized format is the same. This gives the student the advantage of practicing in a similar situation, thereby eliminating the initial shock and adjustment time needed when actually taking the exam.

The student can scroll back and forth at their leisure or use the timed method. Each of the essays deal with the subject matter that requires the student to carefully read and comprehend. Similar in format to the actual test, The Nursing Entrance Test Study Guide is an asset to anyone that is preparing to take the Nursing Entrance Test. All of the students who have used Dr. Kimmel’s software have passed the reading comprehension section on the Nursing Entrance Test.

One of the pitfalls that students find when taking the reading comprehension, is that they have a hard time assimilating new knowledge and answering questions that have a high level of difficulty associated with them. Dr. Kimmel’s software that also includes math preparation covers the important principals and assists the student in mastering key words when reading.

Certain key words are typically used over and over again in reading comprehension questions. Words, and statements such as, the author assumed, inferred or the paragraph stated are key to understanding and grasping the questioning methodology.

When answering questions, it is sometimes hard to relate concepts that seem totally unrelated. This type of questioning requires abstract thinking. The questions are designed to test the reader’s analytical reasoning while at the same time test their vocabulary. It is always advisable when reading to have a dictionary at hand. Other examples of similar reading comprehension tests can be found in graduate entrance exam practice books. Entering into the nursing field will indeed require unique analysis skills in many different forms.

It is therefore beneficial to the student to seek preparation for the exam in order to assure that he or she will receive a passing score.  Let’s take a look at this in more depth. Relax. There is a way that you can be sure to pass the reading comprehension on the NET. The first thing to do is to have a mind set on what you are really going to be doing. As with any reading that have done in your life, for either school or leisure, you have mastered the tools to critically think. Think back to when a telemarketer has called your home. At first you may be unaware of the nature of the call, but soon you realize that they are trying to sell you something. This may be a simple example, but you used critical thinking. You knew where the caller was coming from. Basically, their goal was to convince you to buy a product. Well, it really isn’t much different when it come to answering questions about passages on the NET. Just try to think what the author is trying to sell you.
Every passage that you will read is full of facts and, what seems to be unimportant material. However, there is still an angle, from which the author is coming from. Your goal is to find that angle. The questions that you will be asked after the eight to ten paragraphs will test you critical thinking ability. Pay particular close attention to the words used in the questions. There is a fine difference in some of the words that are used, so you must be aware of their meaning.
Taking the NET Reading Comprehension Test on a computer is not as easy as having the material in paper format. In paper format you can easily go back to a paragraph to review information. With a computerized test, you can get easily caught up searching for a small bit of information and lose precious time. Therefore pay careful attention to key words, such as actual, impression, ascertains, verify, proved, disproved, shows and assumes. Although these words may seem similar, they hold a lot of weight. For instance, the author may give details of the results of an experiment.
It is your job to determine if these results either prove or disprove the theory stated, and determine whether or not the author agrees. A question may ask you the following: “According to the results of the experiment, the author was able to prove his original theory.” This requires that you remember what the original theory stated. Now, remember that time is of the essence for this exam, so take notes while you are reading. This way you will be better prepared to answer the questions and will save time and chance or error. The questions that you should ask yourself as you are reading are the following; What is the main subject? Many times the actual subject may not show up until the second or third paragraph., What is the author trying to say? Many students think that there is only information given without a viewpoint. There is always a viewpoint., Does the author present enough information on the topic to prove or disprove the theory or view. A big pitfall for many is that they use previous information from their own life and studies to answer questions. Do not do this, even if you know that the information is wrong or you strongly disagree with what is being presented. Everything that you need to answer the questions will come directly from the reading.

If you would like to read more please go to; www.mynursingedu.com/net-tutorials/