Hello there! I have a different opinion. I don't normally divulge my methods but i'm in the mood so here we go.
Background: Currently I am in the 99 percentile nationwide in ATI standardized testing. I have the highest grade in my nursing cohort and I did not once study for, or open up the book for a single test including my finals. I never lost a wink of sleep before a test and I never took notes in lecture. This was the case for ALL of my prerequisite classes and for all of my nursing classes. How is this possible you ask? I prep EXTREMELY well! With that being said I would highly suggest you study before hand if you want an A, but there is a very specific way you must do so to be successful. Here are a few of my tips for studying in a way that allows you to adequately prepare for a difficult science class.
1. Start studying at least 2 month in advance- This allows you to study in a stress free environment with no string attached. When you study with out obligation you retain information because you are learning purely for the enjoyment of learning. Things stick in the mind when they are welcomed in and not forced in.
2. Go to youtube and look at multiple professors playlists in the subject you are studying for example A&P go on youtube and TYPE: nursing anatomy and phys lectures. You will get like 10 different play lists with hundreds of hours of content in each one and they will all go over the same content in a different way. One thing you will come to find as you listen to each of them is that they all have the same INFO!!!! For example every Nursing anatomy class will have the following in regard to the kidney: Cortex, medulla, hillus, cortical nephrons, juxdamedular nephrons, glamarlulous, juxtamedular apparatus, PCT, acending loop, Decending loop, macula densa, DCT, collecting duct, aquaporins.... There is a lot more i'm just naming stuff off the top of my head that you will need to know and what you will find in all of these lectures.
If you go and check out Professor Fink (BTW hes the best out there) on youtube and then listen to 2 other professors on the same subject you will find that they go over the same exact stuff!
3. The BRN accredits nursing programs
and every nursing program and prerequisite needs to meet specific SLO's or "student learning outcomes" to be considered qualified. This means they HAVE to cover the same stuff! This is why you can transfer credits from one college to another and if there is a discrepancy you can show proof with a syllabus from the class because it has the SLO's attachted. So what does this mean when it comes to studying before a class? It means if you are listening to the right professors on youtube the content will transfer to your class quite well.
4. When you study to prep for a class do not attempt to memorize or take note on anything. Simply listen to at least one different lecture everyday with full attention and enthusiasm. The goal is to just be familiar with each subject you will encounter i.e. body system structure and function.
The main take away is that when you get to class nothing you hear in lecture will be the first time your hearing it. You just want to scratch the surface and be familiar before you really dig in. That's what a prep is.
5. If you are able to go through the entire playlist of Dr. Fink's A&P my hats off to you. You are definitely dedicated and you will be totally prepped for your class. I would also stress to you that if you are listening to these lectures that you don't stress about memorizing ANYTHING simply listen with an eager excitement to learn. That is all you need to retain information. Why do people get so good at video games or sports? because they LOVE it. Learn to LOVE learning and it will not feel like work it will be very enjoyable and fruitful because you will be so flippin smart ans very solid on the subject matter!
Now in all honesty to become proficient in a subject you should probably study it at least ten times over and over and over again. This is how you familiarize yourself with concepts and vocab to make them second nature. I am pretty eccentric and really like to study so it comes very easy to me and I have gone over this stuff so many times that I am able to recall it like the back of my hand. This is how I am blowing nursing school
out of the water in my sleep while working full time and having a wife and baby at home to provide for.
Let me know if you have any questions or would like more pointers I have tons of them.
Best of luck to you!