Getting the grades that get you into nursing school. Tips?



I'm starting my nursing pre-requisites this fall and, for the first time ever, am really feeling the pressure to get those 4.0's. The acceptance cap to get into the school in my area is very high and so even a few B's could spell the end of my nursing dreams. I have gathered an aimless amount of credits here and there, mostly fine arts classes, but because I had no particular goal in mind (career-wise) I never put much thought into my grades. Those handful of credits I did moderately well on (about as many B's as A's). For my pre and co-reqs, I need to do extremely well. So! I'd like to hear advice in terms of studying, organization (the thing I'm WORST at and need to improve before nursing school), and time management. I need to develop a consistent study regime and maximize my office and desk space to their fullest. I'm looking for organization systems in particular because I've spent months fixing my office up as the perfect study space (painted sea-glass green for peacefulness, huge new desk and filing cabinet for future filing systems/school stuff storage). But advice or even hearing about your study habits would be very much appreciated as well!

Help is very much appreciated! :redpinkhe

Specializes in Infusion. Has 5 years experience.

I finished all pre-reqs with a 4.0 and felt no need to have a perfect space but everybody is different, right. Most effective was doing the homework and reading as soon as it was assigned or even stay a little ahead on reading. If you don't have other commitments, this should be a breeze. If you find yourself not understanding a really important concept (like in physiology) work through your textbook and any study guides and then ask for help. In microbiology, I got a 9 out of 10 on my first lab report so I asked a 10 if I could look at her paper to see what I could do better. I organized my reports and got 10s on the rest. If your instructors give you study guides or handouts to prepare for tests, by all means, use them and work especially hard in the areas where you are having trouble. I had a bear of a time remembering the way bacteria and viruses replicate so I found youtube videos that I could watch and visualize the different steps.

Best wishes to you. Hope you find all of the science as fascinating as I did. Your assortment of class credits may help you get into impacted classes by giving you priority registration.

Thanks for your input! Having a designated space is important to me because I will be working full time and taking a full courseload. I'm the kinda person who needs clearly defined transitions in order to get into the appropriate mindset (have to have my muffin and coffee and listen to my morning radio program before work, shower and watch an hour of tivo to rewind afterwards, etc. I'm that annoying person who can only eat breakfast food at breakfast time and dinner foods at dinner time!). I have a bulletin board, large desk calender, and filing cabinet right out in plain view so I'm visually and mentally in a workspace. I didn't think about priority registration; that's awesome! Thanks again!


92 Posts

Im taking pre-reqs now, although I only have 2 left. I have almost a 3.7, will be a 3.7 and change after my summer courses. I read ahead all the time. Even now, I try to devote 3 hours a week to reading ahead for the FALL semester which doesnt begin till Sept. I do all my work right away, I never procrastinate. Particpate alot and develop a good relationship with the teacher. If its a difference a point or two between an A and B, your attention and attendence will matter in your favor. Study every day, just take a few minutes to review the past chapter or do review questions, doing this will keep all the info fresh in your head.

Specializes in Ambulatory. Has 10 years experience.

When I first started taking prerequisites, I made a list of nursing schools that I was interested in, found out their individual application requirements, and made a annual plan of classes I should be taking each semester. Then I found out my registration priority can be "boosted" through a simple counseling appointment. After that, I just followed the plan and take them one semester at a time.

As far as study tips, I would say to utilize all your resources. Find out whether your school offers tutorial services, student open labs, instructor office hours, or if they have anatomical/biological models outside the classroom for student usage. Study group works for me because we motivate each other. Most of my study buddies were accepted into competitive nursing programs, including myself, so it definitely helped us. Try to stay ahead like JROregon suggested & not cram too much. It might be easier said than done but try to score well on the first couple exams in each class & give yourself some cushion. Good luck!


50 Posts

I will be entering nursing school this August and I've been asking the same question about study tips and organization so i'll share with you the ideas that i've come up with and ideas that other people have taught me. Always keep the spot that you are studying in clean and organized! The filing cabinet is a great idea for you to keep things organized, you could always put any of your old papers in there sorted by class, incase you ever need to study of them again. I would keep the schools information in one folder incase of any problem or something. If your desk has drawers I would make sure you have a lot of paper in one and lots of pens, pencils, erasers, highlighers etc in another this way you dont have to run around to find everything because it will all be right there. Some type of calander that has a lot of room so you can write down all important dates and plan studying in advance. I suggest a monthly calendar over a daily calendar because you'll be able to see everything coming up. and the really important dates i would highlight them so they stand out more. Along with the big desk calendar i would use a small agenda/planner book to bring back and forth from school incase something is assigned randomly you can right it down in a safe spot. Purchasing different colored inks can help in your note taking. a flashdrive is a good item to transport papers and classwork.

Make sure your study area is quiet! that is when you'll get the most done. My teacher said for every hour of class theory (regular classtime) study for two hours. It really depends on you and how quickly you learn. If you have a test next thursday on 7 chapters I would go through and start planning your studying.

ex. calendar:

Monday: Study chapter 1 for 2 hours, summarize chapter, Do ending questions and study guide

Tuesday: Study chapter 2 for 2 hours, summarize, ending questions and study guide

If you learn things faster you may only need to study for 1 hour or you could study more than one chapter a day.

Then the day before the test make sure you go over everything that you didn't quiet understand. If you understand everything then you've obviously studied well and now you can just review until the test.

Take your time, you don't want to rush through everything and think that you understand it when you don't and end up failing the test!


174 Posts

Specializes in LDRP. Has 2 years experience.

NOTECARDS! I swear the reason I got A's in anatomy, physio, and micro was because of studying (constantly) with notecards. I took mine with me everywhere and studied them every time I had a free moment...while on the treadmill at the gym, waiting at the DMV or doctor's office, before class would start, etc. I was lucky enough to have an anatomy professor who actually supplied us with notecards in a Word document that we could just print out, but I found that it was better to take the time to write out the info on the notecards yourself because it helps you internalize everything a bit better.

I am a visual learner and it helps me to see things written in words to memorize them. If there was a concept that I understood but just had trouble memorizing all of the details (and A LOT of anatomy is sheer memorization), I would write it all out over and over again until I had it all memorized.

Just stay motivated and focused, work hard at it, and you'll do well. :clown:


254 Posts

For me, it is only taking two classes at a time. Three if the third class does not have homework. When I took Biology this past spring, I found I had to read and reread the chapters PLUS do all the online practice questions from the website that came with the textbook, so just that one class was quite time consuming. I do most of my studying curled up on the couch. Not falling behind is a must, as it is very hard to catch up.