Bad at retaining info


I am very good at memorizing, but often forget what I have learned after a while. I'm worried this will kill me for the NCLEX, and also, once I am an RN. I can't possibly imagine remembering everything I learn in NS. Anyone else scared about this?

I can be pretty good at memorizing words and definitions, but it takes a lot more dedication for me to understand concepts and to apply it.


104 Posts

I understand concepts easily as well. once again, it's retaining the concepts I learned.

NamasteNurse, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 680 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics, Geriatrics, LTC. Has 8 years experience.

I was a teacher for 25 years before nursing school. I've pretty much always been a good student and what works for me might not be for you, but here's what I do. I read everything with a highlighter and a notebook for vocab next to me. Every bold word gets put into my vocab notebook and highlighted.

I read everything before the teacher goes over it in class. Then I listen to the lecture and take notes, rehighlighting in another color whatever the prof points out as important. Plus I take notes on anything not in the book.

I do all the study guide pages and re-read vocab every night. Also do all of the questions at the end of each chapter.

Before an exam I re-read everything, mostly skimming. I also practice skills in the lab over and over.

Don't fret too much about retaining when you become a nurse. For one thing, practicing hands-on will help you retain. You should be doing this on your own anyway. Also, there will be reference books on the floor at the nurse station. ALso, if you may need a study group or study skills class. There's a lot of info online on how to study. Hope this helps.

allnurses Guide

ghillbert, MSN, NP

3,796 Posts

Specializes in CTICU. Has 27 years experience.

You do not need to remember most things you had to memorize in school. You do need to understand the underlying concepts in order to be a safe practitioner, as well as knowing where to get more info when you need it.


12 Posts

The more you review concepts the more you tend to retain the information sometimes weather you realize it or not. My advice is to read you lecture outlines, buy an nclex review book...Saunders is a good one. Start doing practice questions for the unit you are reviewing and go over the rationals. You will be suprised how much this helps you apply the concepts. Good luck!

Specializes in LTC. Has 6 years experience.

I draw pictures and make up mnemonics to help me remember things in nursing school. I also use lots of colors ! I do lots of practice questions, the ones I get wrong are usually the ones I remember if it comes up again on an exam. And yes , some practice questions will come up again. I also listen to my digital recorder while sleeping, driving, doing make up, working out etc. That also helps me out alot.

chuckz, BSN, RN

165 Posts

Specializes in CVICU/ER. Has 13 years experience.

I can't memorize a damn thing to be honest. Like some above have said, I have to know how something works to retain the information. Anybody can put in a catheter, but learning why it is put in a certain way makes me retain the information and not just memorize a flow sheet. I look at the heart as a pump and and know the difference between R side failure and L side failure because I know the anatomy and what the chambers do and the way the blood flows. For me, it does work well for the nursing program. Maybe it's worth a shot.


69 Posts

The more you apply the things you have learned in clinical experiences the easier they will come to you.

I can memorize almost anything for an exam and not give it another thought as soon as it's finished. We're learning so much information, and we're not expected to know everything right off the top of our heads. You will learn everything you need to know for the NCLEX. If you're really worried about it, buy a prep book and take the practice tests (they may be helpful for your final exams also).

You're going to be fine.

You have too much to worry about right now, just take it one day at a time. :]


761 Posts

Specializes in pedi, pedi psych,dd, school ,home health.

I too listened to audio tapes of each lecture. I also re-wrote my notes into outline form; and used that along with my text for a study guide; sometimes i also made flash cards. I took my notes everywhere and used even 5 minutes to review info. also joining a study group and re hashing lectures helped. good luck! mary

Specializes in Peds Hem, Onc, Med/Surg. Has 8 years experience.

Ok I remember NOTHING from nursing school. Or so I thought. When it came time to remember things I remembered a great deal. It feels like you are not because so much new info is being thrown at you but don't worry something will stick. Don't worry you will be fine.

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