How much to study?


Hi there, I just got accepted into a BSN program (yay!) and I was wondering about how much I should expect to dedicate to studying? I've always been a good student and usually don't have any problems remembering things, but I wanted to see how others dealt with nursing school. Thanks in advance guys! :]

Specializes in Cardiology and ER Nursing. Has 10 years experience.

~ 5-10 hours per credit hour attempted would be pretty fair.


457 Posts

~ 5-10 hours per credit hour attempted would be pretty fair.

That would mean a 12 hour semester equates to 60-120 hours of studying, right?

Specializes in Neuro Intensive Care. Has 1 years experience.

When I first started my program, our nursing support faculty told us to try and do at least 6 hours a day! Like everyone in class, I just nodded my head and thought to myself 'I surely do not need 6 hours. I will continue to do what I have been doing with all my other classes and Ill be fine." So I did, reviewing information maybe 5 days out before a test and passing just fine. I failed my first test. I didn't bomb it, but I still failed. Along with 75% of the class.

Nursing school is about 40% memorization. The rest is critical thinking and knowing how to use that information. One of my biggest battles was learning how to critical think, because all my pre-req's was memorization and regurgitation. Plan to study, and really study. My rule of thumb is if I can teach it to my husband, the cat, or the kitchen chair; then I can finally test on it. On average, I usually study about 4 hours a day. Good luck!


2,723 Posts

Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience.

Eh, I probably put in about 3 hours per credit hour. Tops. I've found I can study very little and make a solid B, or I can slave over books for days and days to make that coveted A.

springchick1, ADN, RN

1 Article; 1,769 Posts

Depends on the class and your study habits. For me I didn't have to spend as much on things I could strictly memorize, like Pharmacology. It's when you get into the critical thinking classes that I have to spend more time studying.

Specializes in ER. Has 2 years experience.

For me it depends on the class and the instructor. Some instructors have a way of explaining things so that you get it the first time. Some subjects just seem to click better for me, so I don't have to spend as much time studying. I spent about 3 hours a day studying for Med-surg 2 and ended up with a B. I hardly studied at all for maternity and got an A. Peds was somewhere in the middle and I just barely got an A. Now I'm taking Med-surg 3 and I hardly study and have a high A. So many variables, but it is nice to have a somewhat "easy" class after having a very stressful one.

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 8 years experience.

It really depends upon your learning style and how well you retain information. What I found over the years is that if I am actively learning new information, I have to spend about 3 – 4 hours per day studying the material. If I am reviewing old information and adding a little bit to that, I only have to study perhaps 1 – 2 hours per day. Tops. Some of my classmates study approximately 6 hours per night. Some are getting very little sleep on clinical nights because of the amount of work that they put in to doing the required care plans. Fortunately, most of the time they get sufficient sleep so they are able to retain the knowledge they are working so hard to gain.

I would say that for most students, in most situations, you can expect to study somewhere between 4 and 6 hours per day.

As someone has already said, the really tough part is the critical thinking. Rote memorization can only go so far.

ArrowRN, BSN, RN

5 Articles; 1,146 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, PCU, Travel. Has 9 years experience.

I can say that you really need to start now with a solid study plan. I just completed my first semester in my BSN program.I passed all the classes but did not do as good as I usually do because I did not start studying early. You need to stick to a strict reading plan in addition to doing nclex type questions. Ignore the other students who say they don't read because they are the ones who will have a hard time like I did. I'd say at least 4-6 hours per day and during finals I was doing about 8-12 hours on my days when i did not have classes. If you start early things will go a lot easier and you will come out of test days smiling.

One difference about nursing is, even though you good at remembering things, but nursing has nothing to do with raw knowledge and that cause me to fail my very first test. After that test I got an nclex book help me to see how questions will come and learn how critical thinking. Because in nursing all the answers to the questions maybe right, but you have to figure out which one is most right for that given situation. you will hear a lot of that in your first semester and a lot about critical thinking.


9 Posts

Thanks everyone for your responses! I'm just trying to get myself as mentally prepared as I can and I've already been studying A LOT of NCLEX material to help with the critical thinking. Between studying and taking care of my 16 month old, I'm pretty sure I will have my hands full. But it's always been my dream to be a nurse, and I know I will find a way to make it through all of this!

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 37 years experience.

I was very well over the age of 20 (by decades) when I went for ASN 3 years ago. I only studied on two occasions...DAY and NIGHT!!! Now that I'm in the RN-BSN program, I only spend a couple of hours a day on it, if that, because writing an essay is a strong suit of mine and because there are NO exams.

Congratulations on the acceptance!


273 Posts

Specializes in Hospice + Palliative. Has 4 years experience.

I do about an hour a day until the week before exam day, and then it's about 2-3 hours/day. I'm coming up on final exam in 2 weeks, and I've been doing about 2 hours/day. I've maintained a 4.0 so far (second semester in, currently I have an A and will get that unless I completely bomb the final) so it's working for me :)