What's Your Study Schedule/Tips?

  1. working on a distance course isn't always easy. let's share ...

    what study schedule do you stick to (time of day and # of hours)?
    how do you stay motivated/focused?
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   medicrnohio
    I usually study for 2 - 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. I usually study at night but, I'm a night person.
    To keep motivated, I set a date for my exam. That way I have something to work towards. If it is getting close to the date and I don't feel that I am ready I reschedule for a week later. This has worked well for me. I did my last 5 nursing concepts courses in 4 months.
    Good luck!
  4. by   barbiedee
    I too try and study about 2 hours a night, and up to 4 or five hours a day on my days off. Some nights I am just too wiped, but thats OK. No sense in studying if you aren't going to retain it. I too am a night person, so often start about 7 p.m. I usually do a really quick read over of my notes from the day before just to refresh my memory and keep up some kind of continuity. You have to find what works for you. I take notes of the study material, my study buddy finds she can just read through the material three or four times and retains it. Not me. I retain more when I write it down myself. Try a few options to see what works. Good luck!
  5. by   Medic2RN
    I'm just starting the NC courses and I have taken 2 prereqs. I'm getting better with time management as each class passes.
    I set a goal for when I want to take the test and set up a timeline of what to study each day. I study everyday, the period of time varies - sometimes it's only for 15 minutes, sometimes I can squeeze in an hour or two straight. Usually, it's anywhere from 2 - ? hours depending on circumstances.
    I work 72 hours a week and have a baby about to turn 1 year old. Time is not my friend and I don't have the luxury of free time or hobbies.
    I stay motivated & focused because once I get my RN I will be able to work closer to home and see my husband more than once every three days.
    That's motivation enough for me!!
  6. by   NurseDiva04
    I have to admit that even though I have less of a course load and work load, I don't want to study! And these are my last 2 pre-reqs before starting nursing school in Sept. So, I want until the last minute and find myself rushing against the clock. I have decided that starting this week, I will management my time during the last 5 weeks of this semester.

    What I did was scheduled a long weekend cruise during the last weekend, so I have to complete my work before going on the cruise. Also, the cruise is a reward for completing the 6 pre-reqs and before starting the long 12 months of BSN school!!
  7. by   kimlpn
    I find it useful to set a test date...this helps motivate me. I finished all NC exams in 10 months and this included a few months of doing nothing. I became more motivated seeing everyone on here finish up...and do so well!!! Set a time to study and a date to test and above all keep the motivation to finish!
    Kim
  8. by   FutureNurse2005
    my courses are split up into units, so I generally give myself a month for each unit.
    as far as studying and assignments, I've started getting up at 6am and studying until my kids get up. I dont get much done while they are awake! I also study at night when they go to bed. If I am having trouble with something or if I just want to put in a few extra hours, i'll head to the library or kick the family out! lol Hey, it works
  9. by   Spazzy Nurse
    For my NC and gen ed exams, I would do what Kim does--- I'd set test dates. I'd putz around, studying for a couple of hours here and there up until I had 2 weeks left. Those last 2 weeks I would jam. The cram thing seemed to work best for me. I had a hard time studying every night after my toddler went to bed. I get up at 4am, so studying is the last thing I wanted to do at 9 or 10pm. Sometimes I did it though.

    CPNE: My number one suggestion is have study buddies. I had a couple who were taking theirs around the time I was. The 3 of us would do an IM chat through our yahoo or aol messengers. It was great!
    What also helped me was ALONE TIME. I got the most studying done when I was left alone for a day or two. My husband and son would go out of town and I would get in a complete study trance. Once I got up, went to the gym, went to the store to buy some CPNE supplies, got home around 12pm, ate lunch, and studied straight through until 4am. I was in such a zone-- it was just awesome. That is what worked the best for me.
  10. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    I was probably more like Spazzy than any of the other posters.

    I set a date and putzed around. Sure, guilt would find me sitting at the computer and doing something, but I didn't get very focused until closer to the day of the exam. If I was well behaved, I started getting intense around a week before. More often, though, it was two to three days before.

    I used google and the notes on yahoo more than anything else, including the Chancellor's system I bought. I did derive some comfort from having the Chancelllor's, and I had a study buddy for the NC's, and she and I would do the Chancellor's practice tests and look all the stuff up, so I won't say it didn't help.

    For the CPNE, I was kind of at a loss. My old system didn't work, I thought (I mean, how do you google for that?) and I didn't have any study buddies, but I did have Spazzy to PM in the last couple of weeks. And I read every narrative of the CPNE's that I could find--when I posted here that I had a date, I had about four members email me and offer to send their stuff fromt their CPNE's, and that helped a bunch too.

    Then, it was like my old system kicked in. I knew I knew careplanning, so I didn't focus on that at all, but the critical elements had me scared. I had bought the flashcards from EC, and looked at them a couple of times, but they were too wordy and redundant, more like notecards than flashcards, in my mind.

    So I made some flash cards of my own. Then I made them again. And again. I made them in color. I divided them by color into overriding, (the middle one I can never remember but is so obvious when I look it up) and selected--I drew my info from the study guide, primarily. (Yet another free source provided by Excelsior. Sometimes that school seems more like a public school than a public school--with all the free stuff available!)

    By the time I made the last set of flashcards, I had it down to one or two word prompts that I didn't have to look up any more. Then I knew that I knew them. True to form, that occurred on the morning of my first PCS.

    I guess the best lesson here is to investigate what works for you, and then do that.

    It is one of the blessings of the nontrad method of learning--you are on your own, yes. But you also have the freedom to do it your own way.

    Good luck to us all. What a great time to be alive and learning nursing!
  11. by   Spazzy Nurse
    [QUOTE=chris_at_lucas] I started getting intense around a week before. More often, though, it was two to three days before. [QUOTE]

    Ok. I was more like a week too. Sometimes less. I didn't want to say so because that's baaaaaaad and I didn't want to encourage anyone to do the same.

    As far as EC's "flashcards"---- Chris is right, they are more like notecards. I personally couldn't stand them. I'm glad I didn't pay for them (got them from a study buddy). If they work for you, great. If not, don't waste a lot of time on them. Make your own. Always use what works for you. Same goes for a grid and mnemonics. Make up your own or modify someone else's to work for you.
  12. by   ahanks88
    please email me or explain here about the grid and menumonics. are we supposed to have a grid at the clinical? i have only just began the study guide and all thsi grid and mneumonics talk scares me> what exactly are we supposed to make a grid of and the mneumonics are for? i feel so stupid for asking these questions but i am LOST!! Terri
  13. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Hi, Terri--

    Mnemonics are a way of remembering lists by using the first letter of each word in the list as the beginning of some other word, and those words making up a sentence or some such. (You can google [mnemonic anatomy] and find a bunch of really cool ones.) However, I have found that if I just focused on the lists of words (like, the cranial nerves in order), I actually learned them, without having to learn a mnemonic first.

    The "grid" everybody talks about is a chart you make of the stuff you have to do at the beginning of each PCS--each patient you will care for in your alotted 2-1/2 hours, organized by body area, body system, or "area of care," or however it works best for you.

    I didn't use either one of them, although I have tried in the past. It just wasn't for me. Here's how I learned them. It must've worked, because I still know them.

    Having experienced the CPNE first hand, I can tell you that you will probably be more confident if you just "learn" the critical elements, and then, at the CPNE, highlight on your report form which you will give back (yes, you can do that) the parts you need to do. I found this to be much, much less work, and no chance of forgetting something I forgot to put on my grid or list.

    How to learn the critical elements? Look at each of the task areas (i.e., respiratory assessment, mobility, fluid management, etc.) one by one--don't try to do this for the whole shebang in one attack. For each of those, there is a detailed list of "what to do." You'll probably notice that you know some of those "elements." So don't worry about the ones you already know. Look at those parts you don't know. Gently read over them a couple of times.

    Are they starting to get a little familiar? You can anticipate them as you read, can't you. Keep doing this a couple of more times.

    Then get some 5x8 note cards, and write the critical elements of each of the "areas of care" down, one at a time. Remember, there's like 24 of these things, you only want to focus on one of them.

    I found that by the time I had written my third set of cards, I knew the stuff and no longer had to look it up when I was writing the steps to do them.

    Suddenly, they were all done and I didn't have to look at the study guide for any of them.

    Ta-da! Learned.

    And that's how, my dear.
  14. by   Spazzy Nurse
    Ok..... no offense here, but Chris at Lucas is a little bit different from most of the rest of us. For some reason her brain is magical. She is able to remember anything and everything and she is unable to feel stress of any type. She did things differently. She didn't make mnemonics and she didn't use a grid. As I said, she's one of a kind. For you Terri--- use both. You have plenty of time to make them up and learn them. See what others use for their mnemonics and see what people's grids look like. Get ideas that way. Then make your own, or use some of the other people's, but only if they work for you.

    You won't be lost for long, as long as you're with us. You'll be rolling right along knowing exactly what you're doing in no time. Right now you are where some of us have been at one time, and we some how learned everything and made it through. You will too. But get ready for a wild ride, girl....................:hatparty:

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