Nursing is an excellent career choice with great opportunities and job satisfaction. But nursing school is, without a doubt, challenging. Studying in nursing school isn’t the typical kind of learning you were used to in high school. In order to study as efficiently and effectively as possible, you’ll need the right tools and some advice. Luckily, we have some essential tips on how to study for nursing school. Read on to learn all about them!
How To Study for Nursing School: 12 Essential Tips
Studying is probably not the most exciting activity—we’re well aware of that. But it can become more enjoyable if you know how to do it right. During nursing school, life can get busy. So, you must work on time management and organization skills to stay on track and avoid getting overwhelmed by tasks and deadlines. Prioritize and focus on tasks at hand and always stay one step ahead.
But how do you prepare yourself for nursing school? Here are some tips we believe will make nursing school easier.
Base your learning around the NCLEX exam
Every nursing student’s ultimate objective is to graduate and ace the National Council Licensure Examination, generally known as the NCLEX exam. Passing the NCLEX will prove that you can safely and legally provide nursing care. That’s why basing your learning on this exam matters.
Reviewing study guides will not only help clarify the subject areas the exam focuses on, but you can also look into how the questions are presented in the exam.
Get a head start on your course material
One of the best methods to help you succeed in nursing school is staying one step ahead. How can you achieve that? Suppose you attend classes regularly, learn the information you are unfamiliar with, and then try to make sense of it when you return home. A simple change to this routine would help you make the most of your studying.
We suggest you review the course material before class. That way, you will be more familiar with the lesson the professor is explaining and know exactly the questions you need to ask and when to ask them.
Focus on the material covered in class
Nursing classes move fast. A significant amount of information is covered in each class, and the professor can’t afford to devote several lectures to a single concept. That’s why you must focus on the main topics they tackle during class.
Instead of highlighting almost every sentence, focus on how much time the professor spends explaining a topic. If it takes longer than usual or is repeated during the lecture, that topic is of utmost importance—which means you should focus on it more.
Find your learning style
As you might have noticed, not all of your friends study the same. Some like to listen to others explain notions, some like to read the information, and others learn best with actions or when looking at charts.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to a learning style. But, if you are committed to finding your learning style, you will make the most of those hours you spend studying. All you need to do is explore different learning styles and see what best suits you.
Try making concept maps
Though they are beneficial for all types of learners, concept maps are primarily helpful for visual learners. They’re an effective study technique because they let you see the big picture. A concept map will help you with the following:
- See the relationship between concepts;
- Simplify very complex ideas;
- Organize your findings logically, etc.
Think in terms of action instead of facts
When you become a nurse, your patients won’t need an explanation of terms you’ve learned in nursing school. Instead, you’ll have to put your knowledge into practice. When learning something new, think about how you’ll employ this new skill when needed. This way, you can comprehend the material better and apply knowledge to practice.
Skim and scan first
Nursing school requires tons of reading. Sometimes it can become frustrating going from one page to another, not knowing what comes next. The best way to avoid this is to skim and scan every chapter. Follow the steps below on how to skim and scan:
- Look at the name of the chapters;
- Read the headings;
- Pay attention to highlighted text;
- Read summaries;
- And read the questions.
Use outside sources
Your learning resources are not limited to lectures and the books you own. You can always use outside sources if you want to learn additional facts about a topic or subject. Luckily, technology gives you access to many books or articles covering many important nursing topics. You can also visit in-person libraries. But keep in mind that your textbooks should be your primary focus.
Make a schedule and stick to it
A study schedule is an excellent time-management strategy that will help your academic success immensely. Your study sessions must be scheduled according to a plan, much as your work or social responsibilities. Divide tasks and assignments into reasonable chunks, and set a time limit for each. Don’t wait for the right time to study. Get into it as fast as possible, and do your best to avoid any distractions.
Study with peers
As you progress through the program, joining a study group can significantly improve your academic experience. Study groups can help you in the following:
- Filling in your knowledge gaps;
- Increasing your memory retention;
- Providing initial study motivation, etc.
Besides academic help, peers can also support you emotionally. Nursing school has challenges that might not be a big deal for outsiders. But the people in your group know what you are going through and will be there when you need emotional support.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
We know that asking for help could lead to anxiety or stress, especially in big classes. But you know what would double that anxiety and stress? Falling behind and failing nursing school. That’s why when you feel like some concepts are not making sense to you, ask the professor for further explanation. Use office hours or ask your friends for their perspectives on the matter.
Take a break when you need a break
Take reasonable breaks! Resting is just as important as studying. Your brain needs to recharge for what comes next. You can make use of different activities that can help you relax, such as:
- Going for a quick walk;
- Hanging out with friends;
- Yoga, etc.
Get Started on Your Nursing Career!
Choosing the right nursing school is crucial when setting yourself up for a successful career. If you’re ready to take your first steps toward your dream job, we’re here to help and guide you.