There’s no question that nursing school is challenging and overwhelming. The amount of information they throw at you will make your head spin. Sorry to break the news, but get use to that feeling because it will continue through to graduation. While nursing school may seem impossible if you implement the right study habits and learn time management you can and will make it through. Below are some strategies to use for studying and test taking. I recommend that you start implementing these strategies now because the sooner you start the better off you will be.
First take a deep breath and believe in yourself. Nursing school is not easy but the end reward is amazing and nursing will open doors for your future.
Know your learning style
Everyone learns differently. There are many different learning styles and you need to find the one that fits you. Remember we are humans and we do not all fit nicely in the same box. You may be the type of person who needs one learning style or even two. Find what works for you! Below are some examples of learning styles. Just beware there are a ton of learning styles out there but remember find what works best for you.
Auditory- The learner must HEAR things for them to learn.
Visual-The learner must read and SEE the information to learn it.
Tactile/Kinesthetic- The learner must DO things to learn the material.
Only study what is covered in class or what the professor tells you to know
You will be assigned millions of chapters to read in one week and this is just not feasible. Yes, you should read everything but there is not enough time in the day and we have lives outside of school. Trying to read everything will cause too much stress and anxiety. Instead of reading a whole chapter focus on sections in the chapters that the professor covers in class.
Follow the study guide
Most schools will provide you with a study guide for each lecture. Use it! This is the material that they want you know. The study guide will show what the exam is going to focus on. It lays it out plain and simple. Also, take notes on the study guide on points you need to work on.
Study a little every day
All the points listed in this post will help you but this one is huge! You can not cram weeks of studying into a few days and it will not work. Even if this does work and you pass you are not retaining the information. Nursing school builds on itself so if you cram and do not retain you are only going to hurt yourself as you move forward. Maybe it is 15 min a day or 30 min a day. Whatever amount of time you can spare you need to study a little every day. Plus, you will feel less overwhelmed and you will retain the information.
Apply the concepts and principles
You will learn quickly that one of the reasons nursing school is unlike anything else is the way the test questions are worded. You need to know the material but you can not just memorize the material. As a nursing student and nurse you need to be able to apply the test question to a real patient. Pay attention to the “WHY.” You will have a hard time in school if you only memorize material and can not apply the concept to a person.
Practice NCLEX questions
If you are in nursing school or planning to attend nursing school then you probably already know all about NCLEX. This applies to number 5 when it comes to applying concepts and principles. If you can do that then you are ahead of the game. Nursing exams are in NCLEX form. So use the resources your school provides. Practice NCLEX style questions as often as possible. There are numerous books out there that are available. I recommend using the books and resources your school recommends because they will most likely have these style questions in them.
Form a study group
Some people prefer and do better when they study alone. Others need a study group. This is why it is important to make friends in nursing school. Two heads are better than one. Groups allow you to talk openly and discuss different aspects of scenarios.