Study techniques, tips and tricks

  1. Next semester I've got a big schedule with Anatomy, BioChem, Gerontology, History...so I've been trying to think of ways to become a better student, notetaker, etc.

    I'd love to hear about how others study, takes notes, organize and memorize information. Any great tips or tricks? Please share your studious wisdom!!
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   JacelRN
    Hi Jeni,

    I'd love to answer your question but to be honest, I have blocked nursing school from my memory.

    You might want to try posting this in the student's forum, I can bet you that you'd get a better response there.

    Good Luck,
    JacelRN
  4. by   Berta
    Jeni,
    Here's what worked for me:

    Study a little each day.

    Dedicate a special time each day to study. Write it in your appointment book if you have to. I usually put in an hour at the library after class then an hour or two after my kids have gone to bed.


    Always have either you notes, notecards, or textbook with you. You never know when you can sneak in a few minutes of study time. I've studied in line at the grocery store, waiting for appointments, and while waiting to pick up my daughter at school.

    Ask the teachers if they tend to ask test questions more from their lectures or the textbook. I could have saved a ton of time and gotten a better grade if I had asked this first semester. Our teachers test mainly from lectures and very little from the book.

    Tape record lectures. Granted, I never listened to half of those tapes, but it sure came in handy on the days I reread my notes and realized I missed something.

    Find a place to study that is away from school and home. I use several local public library. If I try to study at home, I ususally find something more urgent to do...like laundry, play with my kids or dog, or eat...

    Read the chapter summary first, then read the chapter and answer the questions at the end.

    Use the CD in the back of the textbook. There is usually great animations on it.

    Read assigned chapters before the lecture, then scan them again after lecture and fill in any missing points.

    Teachers will usually repeat "key" items more than once during lecture. You can almost be gaurenteed that will be on a test, so pay attention!
    As soon as a project is assigned to you, do it right away. Its just amazing how quickly a project becomes due.

    Sit upfront during lectures. You will be more likely to pay attention. Also, the fear of being called upon will make you do you reading in time for class.

    Hope this helps. Good luck, Berta
    Last edit by Berta on Jul 15, '04 : Reason: my fingers can't spell today..
  5. by   LouisianaNurse2006
    Berta's right, those are also the major study tips that I used.
    I would:
    1) Sit in front of the class, you will usually have to get there a little early for this.
    2) Record lecture classes, I would listen to them to and from school. Another hint, if possible leave the recorder going for a few minutes after class ends. Many students storm the instructor to clarify or question something as soon as class ends, this info is sometimes beneficial!
    3) Take good notes, review them the same day and highlight the most important points.
    4) Underline anything the instructer says twice, writes on the board, are mentions how important it is. One of my instructers used to say "just in case this comes up again.....", and you could always count on it coming up again! You will learn each instructors way of giving hints about what will be on the test, I think it is subconscious, they just can't help it.
    5) Make study cards or flash cards, especially for lists, facts, and figures/values, that need to be memorized. Keep them with you at all times. When you have a few minutes - study!
    6) Utilized little bits (and big bits) of time to study, 10 minutes extra - good for study cards, 20 minutes extra - good for reviewing class notes and highlighted info, more than that -be reading ahead. Folding clothes or cooking - listen to lecture recordings, you will be surprised at the little comments you missed the first time around.
    7) Read ALOT - Read to review, but also read ahead, it is much easier to understand and get more out of lecture if you know what the instructor is talking about! It also makes for better note taking.
    8) DON'T wait until a few days before a test to start studying for it. As soon as I got the information, I started preparing for the test! Always study as if you are studying for a test that is coming up soon, the last week should be for reviewing and refreshing your memory. Once the test is over, relax, enjoy, and clear your brain for a few days! Then hit the books again, preparing for the next test. "Take one day at a time" works for some, but for me it is more like "Take one Test at a Time"!
    9) Get up an extra hour early in the mornings, get a cup of coffee, curl up in your favorite lazy boy with just the lamp on, and read the chapter your on. No heavy studying this early for me, but it is a great little chunk of quiet time for reading. Once I have to wake the kids, it's like a zoo around here.
    10) Give up TV at night! It is a time waster. When I get home around 3:00 after picking up my youngest at school, I start the clothes washing, cook supper, usually something easy, and pick up around the house until about 6:00, then everyone starts on homework and baths, things don't settle down again until around 8:00 when I go to my room with my books. I try to do homework/study from then until 10:00 or 11:00. I find keeping a routine/ schedule is helpful for studying.
    11) When you feel yourself stressing out, take time out, have a fun day! If you have really been working hard, a day off now and then will not hurt your grades, it will be good for you.
    12) The most important thing is to really get "into it", whatever the subject. Get involved and interested in the lecture. The more interested you are, the easier it will be to remember the info. Try to find it fascinating, learning new things is great!

    Everyone is different, what works for me may not work for others.
    Good Luck,
  6. by   LouisianaNurse2006
    Quote from Nurse Jeni
    I'd love to hear about how others study, takes notes, organize and memorize information. Any great tips or tricks? Please share your studious wisdom!!
    Oh, I almost forgot mnemonics! They work, there is even a www.medicalmnemonics.com website.
    Great memorization tool!
  7. by   All_Smiles_RN
    After you write your lecture notes in class, write and rewrite your notes. The more you hand write them, the more familiar you will become with the material. ALso, if you can make a chart out of information you have been given, it will be much easier to remember it that way. For instance, when we studied hormones in A&P, I broke the chart up according to glands, hormone, target organ, principal action, etc. I know this suggestion might sound silly, but make a song or saying to remember stuff by the first letter of its name. For example, the white blood cells are neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, eosinophil, and basophil. Take the first letter of each word; n l m e b.... Never let monkeys eat bananas. Having the first letter of the word goes a long ways towards remembering it. Helps in those situation when the correct answer is on the tip of your tongue. Good luck!
    ...Jennifer...
  8. by   All_Smiles_RN
    Quote from LouisianaNurse2006
    Oh, I almost forgot mnemonics! They work, there is even a www.medicalmnemonics.com website.
    Great memorization tool!
    lol, that's what I was trying to describe in my post, just couldn't think of the word.
    ...Jennifer...
  9. by   Farkinott
    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthre...ighlight=study



    There is some great advice in this thread from not too long ago.
  10. by   husker-nurse
    I took a class my first semester "Becoming a Master Student", regardless of what anyone thought. This class taught me how to study, which I never did in high school, and really helped me through every class.
  11. by   gingerzoe
    I use to get cheap one subject notebooks and re write my notes. I think the information stuck in my head even though I didn't realize it. I agree with the other writers, give up tv and get into the subject. Good Luck
  12. by   Nurse Jeni
    All great suggestions, and great links too. I picked up a book at the college library for $1.00 that has lots of great suggestions for managing full-time studies, work and family, too.

    Although I've done well in college in the 60+ units I've taken over the last decade, I've been a bit worried about all the science and lab courses coming up. I'm sure having a plan of attack is going to help a lot!
  13. by   KacyLynnRN
    I am a current full-time ASN student so I know what you are going through! The #1 thing that helps me in most subjects is making study cards. Get 3x5 or 5x8 index cards and write main points and things you need to know on them. Then when you are done, study from them. Not only does it seem a little easier to remember stuff with these cards, I have already written it down once while making the cards, and that can help me remember stuff in itself. Also, I can put the cards in my purse and take them with me wherever I go. I get lots of extra study time in this way. It is definitely worth the time invested to make the cards.
    Also...if you are into mneumonics, there are 2 volumes (vol. 1 and 2) of a fantastic book called "Memory Notebook of Nursing" by Joann Zerwekh, Jo Carol Claborn, and C.J. Miller. They are about $25 each, and I have both volumes. They have fantastic pictures and memory tricks in them for EVERYTHING!! VERY highly recommended! I bought mine at www.amazon.com.
    Good luck to you! Hope this helps!
    Kacy

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