I have always been one of those students who retains things really well and tests really well. I average 80-90's on my exams, and my lowest grade on a care plan was an 84. I don't really study outside of class, but if I miss a class, it's VERY obvious on my next exam exactly which portion I missed. I guess I'm an auditory learner and learn best by sitting in lecture and participating in discussion and asking questions. Plus, I work in a Trauma/Medical/Surgical ICU and learn SO much while at work. When not doing assessement, giving meds, or charting, I'm picking the brains of the best RN's there. I go around the unit to find out if there are "interesting" patients (i.e. Swans, ICP monitoring, CVVH, etc.) and have that RN go over things with me, quiz me, etc. I work at night, so there is opportunity to do this.
I do study for exams a few hours a day for several days before the exam and do practice NCLEX exams over that subject matter. I do well on my exams (for what I put into them) and am satisfied with my grades. Could I do better? Yes. Is it worth it to me? No. I have two young children and a husband who I rarely see. A soccer game is MUCH more important to me than reading over my chapters IF I feel I understand the material. I have compromised and brought my books to the soccer field, etc. My family comes first as long as I'm bringing in grades >80. If my grade were to fall, then obviously, I would hit the books. 10 years from now, what's more important? Whether I got an A in one of my classes as opposed to a B, or whether I attended special events, games, etc. for my kids?
Sorry to get off on a tangent...I have been criticized in my program because I don't devote 110% of my time to school. Some of my classmates study upwards of 40+ hours a week. For me, that's not feasible. I work two 12 hour shifts per week, take care of a 5 year old and 8 year old, and try to juggle clinicals, classtime, and everything else around my husband's 12 hour night shifts. I will be extremely GLAD when school is over and I can concentate on JUST nursing. I'm looking forward to beginning my internship in the ICU where my book studies will focus on critical care and thing that pertain to the patients in unit, without having care plans, presentations, etc. due every week.