Here's some of the things I did when I was in nursing school. Although we had a required nursing textbook, I bought a second popular one that was on the market at the time. What I did was call the bookstore at UCLA and found out what the title was of the nursing textbook they required their nursing students to use and that's what I bought. When we were studying various subjects I would also "consult" this other textbook to see what it had to say. I also had an older nursing textbook that my mother had found somewhere that I also used as a consulting reference. I would find things in there that weren't in the newer books, especially basic nursing. So, I guess one of my recommendations would be for you to get at least one other nursing textbook. Get a used or older one. There are always people who are looking to get rid of their old books.
I also had a Taber's dictionary. Whenever I was reading anything from any of the nursing textbooks, I had my copy of Taber's alongside. I looked up any words I didn't know immediately. If I thought I might forget the definition, I would write it in the margin of the textbook. I still have a more current copy of Taber's as well as a Mosby's medical dictionary. There is a lot of stuff in these reference books--and pictures now! Taber's specifically has a lot of information of interest only to nurses in it.
Another book I eventually purchased outright was Matheny's fluid and electrolyte book. I really can't remember if I first purchased it when I was a student or shortly after. I have currently replaced it with its most recent edition. Fluids and electrolytes are just always going to be popping up. Even when I was studying for my national certification in IV therapy, it was electrolytes that were my undoing. As good a student as I was in chemistry, I just have always had a problem putting electrolytes and ABGs together.
Our instructors gave us course objectives. I wrote out the answers to those objectives on notebook paper that I kept in a 3-ring notebook. Many of our test questions were based on the information we were supposed to learn in those objectives. I also used to write out the signs and symptoms of the various diseases along with their medical treatment and nursing interventions and why they worked. Actually writing care plans
wasn't as big a deal 30 years ago when I was in school, but we did have to know all the basics that you need to know to plan the care. That hasn't changed.
In the second year of nursing school we all got to know each other fairly well and most of the students who weren't serious had dropped out. There were about 5 of us who clicked well together and we had a regular weekly meeting time, only once a week, where we met at one of our homes in an evening to discuss the course objectives. While, in general, I do prefer to study on my own, I don't discount the importance of also listening to what others have to contribute. I've gotten a few points here and there on tests because of something I heard someone discuss in a study group. Also, in the process of explaining a concept that I know to someone else, I am also reinforcing it in my own mind. That is invaluable as a learning tool and an important concept in adult learning that some people ignore. So, time permitting, I will usually discuss and explain things with other students. It's also a good idea that a group should try to figure out what kind of questions you are likely to be asked on a test and rationalize out the answers before you are even faced with that likelihood on a test. If I need time to study, I know where I can go to hide from everyone. A place where other nursing students aren't likely to go is always a good getaway choice! When I was at a large university, I used to go up to the music listening rooms in the library because they were sound proof and only had a very small window at the top of the door so no one could see you. I also used to take naps in there. There were also unused, unlocked small study rooms in the library where you could go in, shut and lock the door and no one knew you were there. My university library also had classrooms that students could use to meet in for their group study. They could use the blackboard, desk and whatever equipment was in the room. My worst habit, however, was lying on the floor at home on my stomach with a pack of cigarettes and a can of Coke while I was reading. I stopped the smoking a long time ago, but the lying on the floor like that probably contributed to my long-term back problems.
The last piece of advice I would give is one that I will admit I am bad about following myself. That is not to procrastinate. Start working on any projects that are due or to start studying right away. Waiting until the last minute to start something is not the way to do it--ever.