Studying as You Go

  1. I am in my 3rd semester of a BSN program and am currently taking Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Concepts in Nursing, Health Assessment, and Sociology. Many professors have stressed the importance of studying as we go- a little bit after each class. While this seems like it makes a lot of sense, implementing it has been a bit of a challenge. Let me start off by saying I am definitely not a procrastinator. I do study anywhere from 4-6 hours a night consistently plus during any breaks between my classes. With that being said, I tend to have trouble studying small bits of each subject each day. I often will end up studying 1 or maybe 2 subjects for several hours at a time. I feel like this allows me to sort things out in my head and have a good understanding. The problem is, I often spend too long on my work and run out of time for subjects I haven't even started. This has caused me significant stress, frustration, and very little sleep (4-5 hours ), which has made it extremely difficult to focus as hard as I try. Any advice would be very much appreciated!
    Last edit by SNgirl21 on Oct 7
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    Joined: Sep '18; Posts: 16; Likes: 3


  3. by   verene
    In your case I recommend actually backing off on the studying some - 4-6 hours every night plus on breaks doesn't really give your brain anytime to relax and process what you learned. Use you lunch or breaks to socialize with peers - sure you can talk school related stuff - but don't intensely study. Don't forget to take care of yourself (including exercise and sleep) as your brain retains information and makes connections much easier when it isn't exhausted and overwhelmed.

    Try studying one subject for an hour then getting up and taking a short walk, pausing to drink a mug of tea, or otherwise take a short break (think 10-20 minutes), then either return to that subject or move on to something new for another hour - then another break. If you study best by focusing on one topic (as many do!) then try to make time limits for yourself - even if you don't know one system 100% after 2 hours of looking at it, you probably have a good foundation - move on to the next one. Frequently you can find things in the other topic or class that tie back to what you were studying earlier which allows your brain new connections for the material and which can actually improve understanding more than just repeating the same material over again.

    When studying patho I would start with normal physiology one system, then abnormal physiology for that system, then drugs that affect that system (because I took pharm at the same time) so I could start linking processes together. Then move on to the next system, and then look at how each system affects another system. I never felt like I got either pharm or patho down 100% but I got them down "good enough" to do well in the courses, and to have a sense of what I don't know and where to look it up now that I am in practice. With nursing school you have to accept that sometimes it is less about being "perfect" and more about being "good enough." (which does not at all equate to lazy or unknowledgable).
  4. by   SNgirl21
    Thanks! I will try to take that advice, (or at least work on it). Also, thanks for the patho/pharm tips, as it just so happens I am currently studying for both a patho exam and pharm exam and both are on Tuesday.
  5. by   Wiggly Litchi
    If you're studying 4-6 hours a night and running out of time for assignments, it might be worth taking a look at how you are studying as your method may not be 100% effective.
    For me, I learn best if I make test questions out of the material. Once I've made my own question bank, it's easy to spend maybe 30mins going through it a couple of times a day, just to make sure I get the information down. Recorded lectures are also handy if you enjoy auditory learning.
    The longer you stress yourself out, the less effective your study time is going to be, so try to associate your study time with a reward system. This'll make things a bit more fun and your brain may be a bit more receptive if it's really enjoying what you're doing.

    I agree with everything Verene says - especially about how to study for patho and pharm. My school made us all take patho before we entered into our nursing program so by the time I take pharm, I'll just have to refresh my patho for each system instead of learning it from scratch and I think this'll make things a bit easier.

    Breaks are huge, too, as Verene mentioned. I find that anywhere between 5-20 mins are enough to give my brain a little rest, and then I'll either go back to the same subject, or switch it up entirely. I find that I need more breaks when reading & taking notes though as I get super drowsy even if I love the material haha

    I wish you the best of luck!!
  6. by   tonyl1234
    Also, don't overlook the importance of taking a night off and going out for drinks.

    The way you word your post, it seems like your entire existence is class and studying. That's not healthy, and not surprising that you're starting to struggle with study time. The more of a chore studying is, the less effectively you're going to study. This is not something that most people just want to do for fun.

    Calm down. The thing about science is you're never going to learn 100% of it. It's just not possible. A big help is understand the WHY of what you're learning. Once you know that, you can reapply that to tons of similar situations. Basically, it's like realizing that when you have 2 different bacteria that cause gastroenteritis, they're going to have common treatments that are intended to treat the gastroenteritis. Now you just turned 10 things on the list of how to treat that infection into just knowing 1 symptom of the infection.
  7. by   SNgirl21
    Thanks. As I am reading this, I currently have a long night of patho & pharm ahead studying for tomorrow's exams. Still like 70 slides to review because I ran out of time working on other subjects. I definitely need to change something as soon as I get this over with. Thanks for the tips.