I need Tips for surviving LPN school!


So hello everybody. So for some time now I have been totally b.s"ing when it came to nursing school. I eventually began to study again which helped a lot because I have officially passed the teas test to get into the Practical Nursing program at Dorsey School in Michigan. I would really like some advice on how to get good grades, note taking tips, study tips, and the best items to use for organizing my materials. I need to know the best study or pocket books to order because I heard sometimes the books at school just don't break things down enough. What are the best YouTube channels to subscribe to?. Best nursing apps to install? Anything that's going to help me to successfully complete the program please feel free to comment.


1 Post

Congratulations! I recently passed my TEAS exam as well. The next step for me is the panel interview, do you have any advice ?


81 Posts

Specializes in Orthopedics.

I studied every single day after school for 3+ hours.

Made flashcards upon flashcards (colorful ones), which I would take with me EVERYWHERE and I would study any chance I got. We had 2 tests every single day in school. I passed and did good in school and I feel like those flashcards saved me!

Specializes in Psychiatry.

Studying is not solely knowledge based but mostly application. For example, if a client has COPD, it's great to know that his/her airway is narrowing and he/she has lots of secretions etc but what do you do for this patient? You would have the patient in semi fowlers or whatever position that promotes ventilation, you would suction, encourage fluids to break up secretions, focused respiratory assessments etc.

When you study, don't study definitions, don't waste time on the small details, get the bigger picture. Always ask yourself, "and then what..." because it's not enough to know what a disease process is and not know what to do.

Do practice questions. This is the best way to know how well you've grasped the content. I recommend Lippincotts Q&A. There's an RN and LPN/LVN version. Another book i would recommend is Saunder's comprehensive review. I think there might be an LVN/LPN version. The tests usually have the answers with rationales that way you know why you got a question wrong or right.

Be a part of a study group that is serious about learning. If you leave your study group and you have learnt absolutely nothing new, please consider finding a new group. It's easy to get sidetracked and end up talking about other things for a bit- that's okay but it shouldn't be the majority of your study time.

Take breaks when you study or you will get tired and bored, and your studying will be pointless.

Record your lectures, sometimes you get some hidden jewels by simply listening to a lecture as opposed to solely writing things down....

and when it comes to flashcards, they are not to be misused. They are not notes, they are bullet points that help you get the bigger picture. If you have more than 10 cards for one topic, you may be overdoing it. STOP. It's too much clutter and it looks intimidating.


1 Post

Audio voice recorder! I have recorded YouTube crash course videos onto my recorder. I listened to it while driving, sleeping, lunch breaks at work, cleaning my house while my toddler napped. I highly recommend it.

Regarding the study group, it's good to have a plan going in. Perhaps each time the group meets, you can go over 1 or 2 topics that everyone seems to be having trouble with. Perhaps each time you meet someone creates a "lesson" to teach the topic to the group. People say that you truly don't know a topic unless you can teach it to someone.

If you do best by watching and listening to videos, there are plenty of great youtube accounts dedicated to nursing school. RegisteredNurseRN is one I watch once in a while. Khan Academy has great videos for A&P. I'm not sure if there are other subjects they have that can help with nursing school.

Flash cards are great. I have varying sized ones. The bigger ones I tend to use to compare and contrast procedures, medications, disorders. The smaller ones I mainly use for definitions.

In my program we have a skills check-off for IVPB, trach care, and wound care. During these skills checks, the professor will watch what we do, make sure we perform correctly, and don't break asepsis. Throughout the whole session while we perform care, we verbalize things such as the rights, 3 checks, medications we may give (what it's for, side effects, etc) or the procedure we are about to perform. On our own time we would have to go to the lab to practice the skills. If you fail the first time, you don't get any points added to your course grade. If you fail a second time, you get dropped from the program. I found it helpful just to practice at the lab, and constantly recite the steps as well as visualize what I was doing. One of my classmates would recite the steps and "practice" on her dog. Hey, different techniques help for different people.

Hope you're able to figure out what best helps you!

Specializes in Long Term Care & Sub-acute Rehab.

Hey there and congrats on making it this far! A great app for your phone would be Nursing Central (Unbound Medicine). It's like an electronic drug and disease handbook for anything you can think of, it also does dosage calculations I believe, as well as give you updates on current events in the nursing world in areas that you find interesting.

In regards to passing nursing school, oh let's see. Well for me I made a lot of flash cards but you don't want to make them too long to where you're spending too much time reading the back. Short and sweet and more flash cards will allow your brain to remember little by little and then it will all equal a large quantity of remembrance. I also used and drew out concept maps of each drug or disease, listing side effects, symptoms, treatments, risk factors, diagnosing, and nursing considerations.

A key thing to test prep is also making sure to study the right things! Nursing considerations (things to watch our for/monitor) and knowing treatments and diets of how to fight back and keep the diseases at bay. :)

Hope this helped!


151 Posts

I found that drinking a lot of water while studying and the frequent trips to the bathroom helped keep me alert. Also, I get more done if I studied outside or at the library. Minimizing distractions is key. I've heard people say bring your flashcards everywhere. Study while waiting at the doctor's office, at your kid's games, on the bus etc. You could play audio recording in the car. But remember if you find yourself rereading things over and over and are losing your focus, you need to take a break. I also tried to keep things interesting by using different color ink and highlighters. I would write over and over those few things that I had trouble remembering. I have heard that writing helps you remember more than typing notes.


24 Posts

Thank you for the tips! I just was accepted into LVN school and can use some words of wisdom :)


24 Posts

What is the hardest class or part in LPN school? Just curious so I can have a heads up:)

Same idea as any college major: Remember that millions of people made it through, it's not impossible. Relax. Even if you fail, it's just a job. There's other directions you can take in healthcare. There's even technically non-healthcare jobs that fill a lot of similar roles to nursing. It's not the end of the world... It's only school. Also remember, it's only nursing. Imagine trying to learn how and why the entire universe works... Kind of puts only taking care of the human body way more into perspective. And yeah, you have to be able to apply what you learn rather than just memorize it, but that's just called college level learning. Really, nursing isn't much different in its schooling than any other science. A lot of people just get a huge shock when they go from basic math and english classes to their major specific classes where you're actually learning the subject itself and how to actually work with it. Every single graduate of a STEM major everywhere in the world has had the same realization about their classes and that you can't pass on just memorizing basic information.

For note taking and studying, what I do is start with the most basic concept: Read the book. Depending on how much exposure you've had to the topic, some things you're going to already know. Other things are going to be new to you, but you're going to understand it, just take down a quick note to remember the concept you just read, maybe write down the things you already knew too, just so you can keep reminding yourself of it so it stays in memory. But then other stuff, you're not going to completely get it. When you're in class, listen for the teacher to get into that, and start taking notes on it. If you still don't understand it, ask questions. Remember, in college, you're paying to be taught. If you ask about something you're not understanding, almost every teacher out there will explain it to you, or meet with you in their office to go over it. Your teacher wants to help you pass, their job does depend on it.

When you start studying, don't forget to review. I've always taken 1 to 2 hours at the beginning of the week to just review my notes on all of my classes. The point of this is to just figure out what I do and don't have to study that week, and keep reminding myself of everything that I'm not going to be studying. And then for time, forget the whole 2 hours per hour of class time that everyone tells you. We're not all the same. Study as much as you need to to learn what you need, without studying so much that you burn yourself out.

And do yourself a huge favor, go see a movie with your friends. Go out and get some drinks. If your entire life is just school, then study, while struggling to fit a job in there, you're going to procrastinate, you're going to treat studying as a chore and just not want to do it. It's going to hurt you in school. Give yourself a night off as your reward for working hard on school the whole week. Take 1 or 2 hours at night to unwind and watch TV. Study smart rather than just studying for longer.

Also, don't get scared of the concept of having to pick the most correct answer. You've been doing this since 4th grade, it's literally every single essay question you've ever answered, just in multiple choice form.

So if you have a question that asks what you would do, answer the question... What would you do? THEN look at the choices. Trust your studying and your learning.

+ Add a Comment

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X