Studying- You may be doing it wrong

  1. As a nursing instructor- I would like to share my thoughts on notes and note cards. A student would often enter my office, distraught, after failing an exam. The student would explain how many hours she/he put into studying. The student would then produce pages and pages of notes they made from the book and highlighted beautifully. Many would show me a stack of elaborate note cards made to use as a study tool. I would gently ask two questions:

    1). How many hours did your spend prepping....writing, organizing and highlighting.... your notes?
    2). How many total hours did your study.

    With rare exception, the student spent the majority of study time on prepping notes. Looking over the students' notes, they were often very detail and covered material that was not included in the module tested.

    My advice- use the objectives for the module as a guide for study. I always put the objectives for the modules in the course syllabus. I gave my students a rule of thumb- if it is not discussed in class, lab or other course requirements- do not over think and dive in too deep. I do have a pet peeve common among nursing instructors....."you are responsible for everything in the assigned chapters". Unfortunately, if you focus on global chapter content... you become overwhelmed and drowning in note prepping land. If you were in Vegas, your best bet would be to focus time and energy on material covered in class/lab/assignments.

    I hope this helps. Oh.... and take a nice deep breathe.
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    About Stepper, BSN, MSN Pro

    Joined: Nov '17; Posts: 89; Likes: 211

    5 Comments

  3. by   FutureNurseErica
    Thank you for this tip, Stepper! I am new to nursing school and I have been frantically watching YouTube videos to overhaul my old methods of studying and planning. Your post is very helpful!
  4. by   NYnurse17
    Paying attention during class instead of frantically writing notes was always helpful. This was usually better achieved when professors provided slides with the base of the information, you can really absorb it that way and ask questions in the moment you are learning. I always hated when they wouldn't do that because they wanted you to "work for it"
  5. by   Grengemly
    Thank you, good advice. I am in my last semester (c'mon May!) and for the first time, I am struggling a bit. I think it is due to trying to cover the whole chapter, when we average 5-7 chapters per exam, instead of using the objectives to narrow it down. Do you think note cards are still worthwhile if the info is concise? Or concept maps?

    And thanks for what you do. I know y'all put up with a lot of grief, but (most) of us students do appreciate all the work you put into making us successful.
  6. by   AmyMarie1
    I'm new here, and aiming to start an accelerated BSN next year (I'm spending this year on pre-reps).

    Can I ask - do any of your students audio/video record your lectures? My father was handicapped, and this is how he got through law school (he couldn't use his hands to write) - he would tape record his law school lectures and then listen to them over and over until he retained it. I'm curious if it's a common practice at all. I think it would be immensely helpful to me if it's allowed because I usually need to hear/see things more than once to process it.

    thanks!
  7. by   AmberK1026
    I totally agree! If I had the PP slides and could print them out prior to the lecture then I found I was able to listen to lecture and right down any points that the teacher expanded on. If I spent time trying to frantically write everything down from a slide that wasnt provided then I never retained any of the lecture.
    Quote from NYnurse17
    Paying attention during class instead of frantically writing notes was always helpful. This was usually better achieved when professors provided slides with the base of the information, you can really absorb it that way and ask questions in the moment you are learning. I always hated when they wouldn't do that because they wanted you to "work for it"

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