My Top 5 Study Tips for New Nursing Students

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    Here are some study tips to start with for your first semester of nursing school. Best wishes.

    My Top 5 Study Tips for New Nursing Students

    To say that the first semester of nursing school is overwhelming would be an incredible understatement. Between being assigned to read 20 textbook chapters a week, skills checkoffs, and your first clinical shifts (not to mention, care plans!), studying can be a pretty daunting task. Throughout my first semester of nursing school, I developed a study method that helped me to not only maximize my time, but to minimize stress and achieve grades I was proud of.

    1) Determine your learning style. We are all unique and, that being said, your professor's 250-slide PowerPoint presentation might not necessarily solidify complex disease processes for you. The VARK assessment is a great tool to help pinpoint what kind of learner you are. With this information, you can formulate a more effective study method to ensure you're not wasting your time. The VARK Questionnaire | VARK

    2) Create your own notes. Nursing lectures are notorious for being complex...and oftentimes, too much so. Trying to retain too much information is only going to overwhelm you. Whittle down your lecture notes to the "meat and bones"--the core concepts. In example, when looking at a disease process, oftentimes if you understand WHAT is taking place physiologically, you can deduce the S/S and treatment modalities. Aim to UNDERSTAND, not memorize!

    3) Adequately plan to maximize preparedness. Allowing yourself a few days to prepare for a major test isn't going to cut it. Start studying immediately following your lectures to ensure new concepts stay fresh in your mind.

    4) Keep it cumulative! Just because you feel like you understand a certain topic doesn't mean you can simply set that information aside. Continue to review this information while you're learning new concepts to make sure you don't lose it!

    5) Do as many practice NCLEX-style questions as possible! Check out books from your school's library, rent them online, or purchase. Not only will this help you apply the new concepts that you're learning, but it will also give you a good indicator of where you are in your NCLEX preparedness. Davis and Saunders make great comprehensive NCLEX review/Q&A books and the Success series makes subject-specific Q&A books. You can further reinforce concepts by reading the rationales for both correct as well as incorrect answers.

    If I could provide you with one last tip, it would be to remember to enjoy the ride. Cherish the friendships that you make and remember to take time for yourself. Always remember your WHY and allow that to fuel your passion and propel you into this incredible, rewarding career!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 14, '18
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    7 Comments

  3. by   Tshaw8
    What's the best way to pass A&P 1? I'm retaking the class simply because i felt like i needed to learn more. Any Suggestions???
  4. by   lehaley1989
    Quote from Tshaw8
    What's the best way to pass A&P 1? I'm retaking the class simply because i felt like i needed to learn more. Any Suggestions???
    If you haven't taken the VARK questionnaire mentioned in the post above, I strongly recommend doing that first. Figuring out your learning style will help you determine the best way for you to study.

    I personally studied for lecture exams by creating practice tests from my lecture material and taking them over and over until I felt confident that I knew the material. I did something similar for lab exams by taking pictures of the models we were going to be tested on, printing them out, and labeling structures over and over. Again, this is the learning/study style that worked best for me, and it may not be the best approach for everyone.
  5. by   Duffy27
    Great advise, I tried out the VARK Questionnaire and it was pretty helpful and spot on. Looking forward to starting classes so I can put all this to the real test.
  6. by   lovelyme11
    Thank you so much. Great advice! I am a bit nervous....
  7. by   lovelyme11
    What study tips do you recommend for the TEAS exam? I am taking a 5 day Prep Course with the Critical Care Training Center , but I want other sources to help prepare me for the exam.
  8. by   kiknox
    The Vark questionnaire was very helpful.. it helped me realize/place into perspective my learning style. I scored as "multimodal strategies" which means I essentially use all of the learning style and that information has to presented in different forms for me to develop a skill, or learn the material. Lol I'm very complex, and known for over analyzing, reading, and studying. Best advice-- grasp the "meat and potatoes"-- understand what's happening and why.. Understand what may/may not be normal function.

    Good luck !
  9. by   magicianfinger
    Thank you for posting! Do you recommend to look through NCLEX during year 1 or study them closer to graduation?

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