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Succeeding in Essays, Exams, and OSCEs

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Title: Succeeding in Essays, Exams, and OSCEs

Author: Kay Hutchfield and Dr Mooi Standing

Publisher: ‘Learning Matters / SAGE’  2012

Reviewer: Jane Brown, patient safety advisor, Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust

What was it like?

This delivers exactly what it says on the tin – how to understand the process in nursing assessments and exams. All too often the thought of written assignments and exams sends us off into a quandary; what do they want? How do I get through the academic side of the course?

This sets the reader on the path to success in various stages and gives the nursing student the skills by communication, preparation, critical thinking to what an assignment is and how to present.

There are easy-to-read activities, case studies and up-to-date referencing to meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) essential Skills Clusters and much more.

Preparation is the key in all aspects of working and academic life and tackles the fears of exams and how to instil confidence in yourself that will then enhance the care you give to patients.


What were the highlights? 

I was impressed with the references to the SBAR model of communication, which is vital to nurse handovers and in incident reporting. This tool used early on in a nursing student’s life will invaluable throughout their career.

The book is well referenced with links throughout the chapters and a full list at the end.

It is written by nurses for nurses. One of the authors, I note, is an NMC reviewer and has written this book with the experience of quality of nursing programmes.

As OSCEs are now an important aspect of student assessment, this book guides the student and gives good insight.

I particularly liked the step-by-step guides applied to written and practice assessments and the actions/activity tables were well set out and practical.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book’s strength lies in the fact this has been written by nurses and is set out in a methodical way with easy-to-read chapters. This will aid any nursing student through their course. The activities are helpful with further reading and useful websites.

Although this book is aimed at students, older nurses undergoing exams or writing written assessments will not find this too basic, but a helpful tool to help them to pass.

Who should read it?

This is a must-have book for the nursing student, but it would also be of benefit to all junior nurses who have passed their nursing degree and are studying at postgraduate level. I would encourage all nursing students to purchase this book.





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