How do you handle all the reading?


Let me start off by saying that for as long as I could remember, I have never depended on reading textbooks. Many times I've been successful in classes where I don't use the book other than to make flashcards from boldface terms and big concepts (or I just wouldn't use it at all). Additionally, I would just go over the lecture power points (I tried taking audio recordings of lecture notes in the past and it didn't work well for me).

However, I kind of had it in my head that for nursing school, that all changes and that you can't escape reading thoroughly. So that is what I've been doing. I read for around 3 hours or so (that time doesn't include breaks), until my brain gets so tired of looking at words for a day that I need to call it a night and I still don't get all the assigned reading done.

I think that I need to learn how to skim, and yet it worries me because I fear that I may not be reading enough, or that I will miss test material entirely. However, by doing all this reading, I feel like it's taking my energy and focus away from the big stuff that matters, putting me in a bad position when quizzes/tests come around. Because I learn best by writing, I thought that I could take notes as I read. However, that added a significant amount of extra time to my studying.

I guess I'm trying to find that magic formula that you eventually find in nursing school - the one where you figure out how/what to study in the most efficient way without spending day in, day out in your chair doing nothing else but reading. To be honest, a lot of it seems like "fluff" and redundant. As I spend hours with my nose in the books, I keep thinking, "There has to be a better way...but I don't know what that is yet!"

How do you manage the reading? Do you read everything you're assigned, or do you skim? Take notes as you go along? Does what you're doing help you or hinder you? Would love some feedback. :)

* I guess I should note that I'm just finishing up my first week of nursing school. However, I want to try and get a handle on this now before it turns beastly and out of control on me in a blink of an eye. :(

truckinusa, LPN

356 Posts

Has 2 years experience.

I always read the questions at the end of the chapter. I just speed read everything and try to pick out test questions. The test questions can be buried anywhere. Sometimes you remember them and sometime you don't. If you don't read them then you definitely don't. I try to pay special attention to any diagrams that compare different things or list interventions. A lot of questions are pulled from those.


364 Posts

I read all the text from the book assigned. Because that's how most of our teachers create the questions. For 1st semester everything came from our nursing fundamentals book and the power points were supplemental to it. So... I read the text. I purchased used ones so I could underline as I go. Night before the test I review all my underlined stuff. Same with second semester. But now I made flash cards from the power points and read the book as well as underlined.

Got a 90 on exam one so... Guess it works for me!


364 Posts

... A lot of my class mates struggled with this but I think people make it too hard on themselves honestly. They tried to use every book that was in our "book package" but really... What Book is your teacher lecturing from? USE THAT BOOK THATS IT for reading. Supplement practice questions from elsewhere but stick to THE BOOK they lecture from.

Specializes in Public Health. Has 4 years experience.

Hahahaha I don't.

Seriously though, I look at the course objectives and the S&S and interventions for the main problems we are treating


367 Posts

I look at the objectives for each module, and what the instructors want us to know by the end of it. Then I go through the books to find those topics and make sure I understand the concepts behind each objective. Then I read the rest when/if I can.


28 Posts

I haven't read ANYTHING yet (2nd semester student) and I HAVE an A in both clinical and THEORY. Depends on the instructor I guess. WE use ATI books to study from for our tests. We use course objectives to study from. Piece of cake. First semester was rough.... 2nd=not so bad=finally in my groove.


851 Posts

Yeah there is no time to read all of the assigned reading on top of all of the everything else...I'm in second semester and I'm doing fine without reading everything, I study the notes that are given to us and practice the learning objectives for each chapter and I have managed. I do read occasionally to clarify things that I don't understand. You just have to prioritize.


364 Posts

Do you know if your teacher tests over lecture info or book info? I'm starting to think a lot of you have way more "assigned reading" then I do. Mine isn't much at all.

Figure out how your teacher lectures compared to how she tests and you'll be set.


364 Posts

Also - there's ALOOOOOT of repetition in nursing fundamentals. lot of the same stuff is said over and over again in those chapters so you may find yourself skipping a lot, I know I did!


1 Article; 1,265 Posts

Specializes in Hospice. Has 3 years experience.
I look at the objectives for each module, and what the instructors want us to know by the end of it. Then I go through the books to find those topics and make sure I understand the concepts behind each objective. Then I read the rest when/if I can.

What she said. Our syllabus lists entire chapters, but our Unit objectives break it down by page numbers and concepts. I concentrate my reading there, and I also rewrite the power points and all the "Clinical alert" text boxes in the texts by hand. That helps me retain information. I've done well on both my first two exams.

pmabraham, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 2,560 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Good day:

1. As shared, follow the syllabus for what should be read.

2. Preview what should be read to see what study aids exist within the area; also get to know the book (does it have a glossary? does it have an answer section? etc.).

3. Review the chapter titles, subtitles, figures, and tables to get a clue.

4. Review the chapter summary, then focus on key areas.

5. Break down the actual reading time.

My break down is as follows:

* Reading 20 to 25 minutes

* Review what was read 5 minutes

* Break 5 minutes

Then rinse and repeat.

For me, I try to make the break something physical.

Thank you.