DISCLAIMER: There is no right or wrong way to study. Schools, professors, exams, and learning styles are all different. You just have to find what works for you. The tips below are from my personal experience.
Make sure you study! LOL! It’s possible to spend more time worrying and complaining about studying instead of actually studying. So, STUDY! And if you’re like me and like to complain about studying, it doesn’t help. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure this out until my last semester…
2. Review the exam outline, if available
Some of you are probably laughing at this because your professor(s) would never give you an exam outline. If that’s the case, skip to #3. I’m sorry! If your lucky and have a nice professor that provides you with an exam outline, USE IT! Focus on the topics that he/she highlights.
3. Make a schedule
The hardest part about nursing school is juggling the exams, lectures, clinicals, and labs. It’s important that you make a schedule for each week. Be sure to stick to it! Plan out when you want to study and set a realistic goal for what you want to accomplish.
If you need to study Chapters 1-8 on Monday and Tuesday for a Fundamentals exam on Wednesday don’t just write “study for fundamentals exam” in your calendar. Instead, write “study fundamentals ch. 1-4” on Monday and “study fundamentals ch. 5-8” on Tuesday. This will help you stay on track.
4. Study effectively
Study time should be used for studying. Don’t tell yourself that you’re going to study for 12-hours and then snack, sleep, go to target, etc. Instead, study for shorter periods but use all that time for strictly studying. This will help maintain your focus.
Let’s add to the example above. If you need to study Fundamentals chapters 1-4 on Monday, set specific study times on your calendar.
8:00-9:30am: Fundamentals Ch.1& 2
noon-2:00pm: Target (In reality, you may need more time for this one.)
3:00-5:00pm: Fundamentals Ch.3 & 4
5. Understand concepts
The goal is not to memorize the content but to fully grasp the concepts. Use your lecture notes as a guide and fill in gaps through textbook readings. I recommend skimming through your readings and then focus on the areas you need to better understand. You should be able to understand the content so well that you can teach it to someone.
6. Be creative
Use note cards, whiteboards, charts, graphs, etc. You have to find unique ways that will help you learn the material. Think outside the box and try different things to successfully grasp the content. When I was in school, I used a whiteboard to draw everything out and break down concepts so that I would understand them.
7. Find a study group
I highly recommend joining a study group. Your study group can consist of 10 people or just you and your bestie. Study groups may not have worked for you in the past but nursing school is completely different from all other courses. So, give it a chance. If you find it doesn’t work, then do what works best for you.
8. BYE Instagram, HELLO YouTube
Social media can be a huge distraction during the whole nursing school process. However, there is one platform that can help you successfully graduate. YouTube! YouTube is a great source of information for nursing related content. There are plenty of YouTube channels dedicated to helping nursing students succeed. My favorite channel is Simple Nursing. The creator, Mike Linares makes hard concepts easy to understand. Whenever you need help with a certain topic, just type it into the YouTube search bar and prepared to be SCHOOLED!
After each exam, assess your score with how you studied. Maybe your studying was on point or maybe it missed the mark. If needed, you can adjust your studying for the next exam. You may find that studying for each class is different due to the content, exam questions, and professor.