I can't speak to an ADN program but I think so much of it depends on your school and/or your instructor. If I read everything that is assigned, I'd be reading 200-300 pages a week (or more). But my instructors base tests off of their lecture and the book is supplemental in the event you need further clarification on a topic.
Do you mean the actual nursing classes and not the other courses included in a program like pharm or patho or a&p? If so, what I find difficult about the actual nursing classes (we call them care management classes) is the tests. The info is pretty straightforward but the questions often have more than one "right" answer. You might be asked for the FIRST thing you'd do as a nurse or the BEST answer to the question or the MOST CRITICAL assessment in each situation.
So, no -- in my case, there is not a lot of reading and not a LOT of memorizing -- it's all about teaching you HOW to think like a nurse.
What about the rest of the board? What's it like for you?
As for clinicals...again, depends on the instructor. I don't think the actual clinical is "hard". I'm usually nervous and feel unorganized during my first few days of a clinical but then you get the feel for it. The paperwork is what is time-consuming. I might have 3 or 4 assignments related to my clinical to turn in the next morning (i.e. care map, journal, assessment tool, etc.).
I guess it is hard to explain...I don't think anyone could have explained it to me before nursing school started.
Yes, you will feel lost and frazzled and frustrated at times -- but hey, what doesn't kill ya' makes you stronger.