Nursing school is hard but being a nurse is even harder. Something I get asked frequently on my Instagram is how to study. You can follow me at @rebekahtaylora <<click. Well this is a simple answer but not so simple at the same time. Everyone learns differently and you need to figure out what works best for you. Below are my tips and what I did to study.
First off, do not compare yourself to others. Some things come easily to certain people while others will struggle. Also, lets be honest…there will be a hand full of people who fail. That can mean failing a class, failing a test or failing out of their nursing program. That is reality and it is okay. There are many reasons why someone may fail. Maybe they did not study enough, may be they did not take nursing seriously or they may be dealing with personal problems. You need to make sure you are at a point in your life where this is your #1 focus! You need to make sure you are willing to make sacrifices in your life! That means less time out with friends, missing social events, missing family events and sleeping less.
A huge factor for me was having the ability to not work throughout nursing school. Again, this depends on the person and their financial abilities. Most people are not able to quit their jobs. Even though I was blessed I had many classmates who worked, had kids and where able to make it through. So yes! It can be done! Is it easy? NO!
So what did I do to study…..
On days I had no clinical or class I spent all day up in my office alone studying. I prefer to study alone than in a group. Just not my thing. This meant making flash cards, reviewing concepts, watching YouTube videos, rewriting notes, reading chapters, practicing NCLEX questions. I did a whole blog post on the resources I used and there are some not listed. You can read that post >>HERE<<. When I say I spent hours…I mean it! I treated it like a job and used my day like a workday. When I had an exam approaching my husband would come home from work and quiz me with flashcards I had made. When I had a week left before an exam he would quiz me twice a night. I would make flashcards after each lecture based off power points provided by my professors. That way I would stay on top of them. Lets just say I had stacks on stacks of note cards. Those flashcards worked for me and they did wonders! I was able to take the topic and teach it back to my husband. Some people hate note cards but I credit this for being a huge factor in my success. I did not do concept maps and I hated them so I have no tips on them.
Use your resources! Again, every college is different with the resources they offer. My school had a resource nurse. If anybody got a test score below 78% (failing is 75%) then you had to visit the resource nurse. I had to see the resource nurse twice throughout nursing school because I scored a 78% and a 76% on two tests. She would give me tips on how to study. Great thing was you could visit her anytime you wanted and whenever you wanted. Personally for me it was never helpful and I was always able to pull my grades back up. BUT, you do not know unless you check out the resources you have! You already paid for the class so use the resources your college provides! My college used ATI which most people either love or hate. I liked it for some things and thought it was useless for others. They do not provide quality rationales in my opinion but again it may help you so use it!
Hope you found these tips and how I studied helpful! Remember everyone is different and you need to find what works for you through trial and error. I am including some links down below to previous posts with more tips and tricks! If you want some more resources I used that are not listed. Please hit me up on Instagram or comment below.
Nursing Exams: Strategies For Test Taking
Study Resources for the Nursing Student
Prepare for Nursing School: Pediatric Nursing
Prepare for Nursing School: Medical/Surgical Nursing
Prepare for Nursing School: Maternity Nursing
How I Prepared for NCLEX-RN
Nursing Student Must Haves
ADN vs. BSN: Your Guide to Earning A Nursing Degree