I am currently in my third semester in an RN program taking Pediatric nursing. Up until this point I have managed to maintain a 3.0 GPA, however I am finding this semester a bit more difficult than the others? Realistically how many hours should I be studying per day? per week?
This is totally up to you, your habits, and your abilities. Some people can sit in a lecture class and understand and absorb everything well enough to get A's on exams, and others need to put in hours every day and on weekends too and then they only manage the minimum grade. What works for one of us, is not necessarily going to work for you.
I studied every single day while in school. Some days, studying was only for half an hour. Others, it was for up to 4 hours, usually broken up over the day. I took advantage of my commute to listen to lectures (there was 1.5 hours of studying time right there). I am a big fan of flash cards (good for red lights or if I had 10 minutes here or there) and doing NCLEX questions (I checked out every single NCLEX manual my library had, even if they were a few years old. The core principles stay the same even though some of the small details may change). I don't know how many hours it ended up being each week.
The big advantage of studying daily, even if it's just a little bit, is that you stay on top of the material so when test time comes, you're not cramming all night before. I actually never studied after 6pm the night before a test. I figured that if I didn't know the information by that point, then I wasn't going to learn it by the time of the test.
This method worked for me: I graduated with a 3.9 for the ADN, then a 4.0 for the BSN.
But this is me: you have to see what works for you. My way might. My way might not.
You may need to put in more time studying, or what you might really need is to study in a different way. I found that when I got to semester 3 it was like a whole new ballgame, the exams were a lot harder. The cognitive level of the questions had gone up. Most of the questions in the first two semesters were at the Remembering/Understanding level, and we transitioned to having nearly all questions at the Applying/Analyzing level. This is essential because the NCLEX questions are nearly all going to be at the Apply level or higher. Remembering the facts is only going to get you half way to the answer, you need to know how to apply that knowledge to different scenarios, collaborate with other disciplines, prioritize, delegate, etc. So if you are now seeing exam questions that look really different, you might get an NCLEX study guide
to use along with your textbooks. There are a few out there that give you an overview of the most important points on a topic and then NCLEX style questions for each area.
Until you know the material
I agree with the comment above. If you feel you need to improve your GPA or you will get kicked out of the program if you drop below a 3.0 then I'd say as much as possible.
I studied here and there for a test to where I thought I was okay and got a 75, whereas my last test I studied as much as possible and got 100.
The more you study the more confident you will be come test time and the more you will retain!
It really depends on you as a student. Some students in my program could study the day before and get high grades. I usually start studying the week before a test for about 5 hours a day. But, I'm not perfect with my studying, 2 of those 5 hours are probably my "breaks" and the other 3 is filled with distractions and I still have a 3.8 GPA. I have students who studied close to 10 hours a day and are still on the verge of failing. It is really up to you how much to study.
Remember its the quality of your studying not quantity. In my first year, I studied EVERYDAY reading the textbook over and over and did horribly the first two tests but once I found out the best way to maximize my studying while focusing on just the key points, I've gotten As or B+s on my exams.
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