Passed First Semester-now I need your help

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    First semester was harder than I gave it credit for- I did well on the first two tests (94% on each), got cocky, and my last 3 grades were significantly lower. I still ended up with a B in the course, but I know I can do better than that, I just don't know how to study.

    Any study tips? I am starting a study group because I know that discussing the material helps, but do you guys have any tips for studying on my own? I get so frustrated because I never had to study before so I felt like I'd been "thrown to the lions," but not by anyone but myself.

    Also, my back started to hurt from lugging around my textbooks, binders, and my laptop in my backpack. Any recommendations for a rolling briefcase that's not TOO expensive but can hold multiple 1900+ page books? Last semester I only had my one fundamentals class plus clinical (8 credit hours total) and next semester I have med/surg and OB.

    Thank you all for the advice I've seen on here, I may not post often, but I look through the threads and see a lot of great ideas thrown around.
    ScubaDog likes this.

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  2. 19 Comments...

  3. 0
    How do you learn best? By reading? Listening? Seeing? I learn best by reading so I never went to any study groups or attended many open labs. I also don't learn well in groups, so again, no study groups and only a few open labs.

    As for a book bag, mine is similar to this one: Amazon.com: High Sierra Powerglide Wheeled Book Bag (21 x 14 x 9-Inch, Black ): Sports & Outdoors
  4. 0
    I think I learn best by listening and writing. In high school and my prereqs I could usually get by just by being in class and taking notes. I think part of what screwed me up this semester is that one of our teachers was out for a month so we didn't have lecture on 2 topics and had to self teach. I froze when I heard about that and I had no idea what to do. I read the powerpoints she gave us, read the chapters in the book, made notecards, etc. but just couldn't wrap my head around the material. I know that nursing school isn't about being spoonfed info, I have to learn to teach some of it to myself and to prioritize but I felt like I was drowning without any guidance and a lot of my classmates felt the same way, so we couldn't even help each other figure out what to do.

    And thanks!
  5. 1
    My advice would be to record the lectures and play them over while scanning your notes and filling in anything missing. I personally break down the chapters into sections and re read it a few times before moving onto the next section.
    SummerCher likes this.
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    Wildly unpopular, but I love having all ebooks. I only carry around my MacBook Air (really light). It's great cause I have my books anywhere I want them with the devices I already have.
    besaangel and GrnTea like this.
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    ClassyBoxer-thanks for the advice! A lot of teachers won't let us record their lecture but I will definitely ask the ones for next semester. I didn't even think about breaking down the chapters into sections, I was trying to just plug away at reading every single word in the chapter all at once...I guess that's not too good of a use of my time, is it?

    Miiki SN-Thank you! I am one of those people who can't do e-books for some reason. I have to turn the pages and physically highlight. I wonder why it's that way for some people and not for others? I wish the textbooks came with a free e-book though, like one of my old bio books did, then I could just bring my iPad to class for reference and have the tangible books at home to study from :\
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    Congrats on getting through your 1st semester, it only gets harder from there!! Study groups are helpful, but be sure to pick the smart kids in your class to be part of your group! A lot of students did tape the lectures, but personally one time is enough to hear a lecture. Pay attention in class, don't daydream, don't stare at the clock, listen to the teacher no matter how boring!! I found that is important to ask questions and challenge the teacher to help you understand the lesson being taught. Don't sit in the back of the class, and again, I can't stress enough, don't worry about what others think, ask questions, start a dialogue, you'll be surprised how much that helps solidify the information in your brain! Read your assigned work, take notes in class, and do practice questions, also, don't cram, it doesn't work, in fact, when I did cram I would forget stuff I already knew, very annoying!! Good luck with the rest of your program.
  9. 0
    Quote from wirehead
    Congrats on getting through your 1st semester, it only gets harder from there!! Study groups are helpful, but be sure to pick the smart kids in your class to be part of your group! A lot of students did tape the lectures, but personally one time is enough to hear a lecture. Pay attention in class, don't daydream, don't stare at the clock, listen to the teacher no matter how boring!! I found that is important to ask questions and challenge the teacher to help you understand the lesson being taught. Don't sit in the back of the class, and again, I can't stress enough, don't worry about what others think, ask questions, start a dialogue, you'll be surprised how much that helps solidify the information in your brain! Read your assigned work, take notes in class, and do practice questions, also, don't cram, it doesn't work, in fact, when I did cram I would forget stuff I already knew, very annoying!! Good luck with the rest of your program.
    Thank you! The people in my study group are fantastic, not necessarily all straight-A students, but they all have a drive to succeed and stay on topic. The couple of times we met up we studied for about an hour straight, took about a half hour break for food and gossip, and got right back into it. I think it worked out nicely to have the "not-as-smart" people in our group since we only met up for the first two tests, which I scored very well on, and I can't help but believe that the necessity to help them understand the material better helped me to understand it better, if that makes sense. I sat in the back-ish of the class this semester, I will definitely be moving closer to the front.

    Thank you so much for all of the advice, I knew that coming here would give me some great ideas! Do you guys have any NCLEX books you'd recommend? I know some of them go by topic and was just wondering if there were some that you all liked more than others? I'm willing to spend however much it takes to help me learn this information not only well enough to pass my classes and NCLEX, but to be able to apply it and be a good nurse.
  10. 1
    Many books can be downloaded to your iPad using the free Kindle app for iPads; you can then shoot them over to Notability and highlight and doodle on the pages with your stylus to your heart's content.
    besaangel likes this.
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    Your welcome Becca. The truly most valuable purpose of the study group is what you mentioned, getting other's perspectives often helping clear things up you may not have fully understood. Sometimes, I would find myself overthinking when things were so much more simple and vice versa. Engaging your fellow classmates and faculty is most valuable! I wouldn't start worrying about the NCLEX just yet, but when the time comes, there will be a new latest and greatest NCLEX book out there, just do a little research on them, but usually Kaplan is top notch. Quite honestly I didn't use a book to take my NCLEX, and I had to take it twice passing the 1st time on both (LPN, RN).

    Approach your test taking from these angles, what action would not cause the patient harm, ABC's, Mazlow, and learn your normal values and normal function of each body system, this will help you identify when things are abnormal. Most importantly, I had a lot of instructors tell me I will eat, sleep and breathe school, not so, it's important to find some time to unwind, some time to do things you like to do and give your brain a break, it wont be much time, but it is critical to maintain your sanity!!


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