Tip #1) Find out what works best for you! My most favourite method was making large colourful posters! This was great in literally all classes. In A&P I would make a poster for each system we were studying. In pathophysiology I would make a poster for each disease process, detailing each part of the nursing process in relation to said disease process. In pharmacology, I made a poster for each drug class (ie. beta-blockers). I would section it out for mechanism of action, side affections, drug-life, common drugs under that class, etc. For paediatrics, I made a poster for each common pediatric illness. Needless to say, during the school year, my bedroom and kitchen walls were lined with my various posters for studying!
I also enjoyed making flash cards! In fact, I have so many that I can’t throw them out….it reminds me of all my heart work.
Tip #2) Sometimes reading information isn’t enough to paint a good picture in your head. As others have mentioned, there are a LOT of different youtube channels out there that will break certain disease processes down and are a great review for final exams/NCLEX studying! (My personal favourite was Khan Academy).
Tip #3) At the start of each semester organize your life! By this, I mean get a nice day planner. Go through the syllabus for each course and write down the dates that assignments or papers are due, and when your exams are done. This will help prevent you from having to do some last minute all-nighters (and because of this-never in my university career did I ever once have to do this).
Tip #4) Remember to take time for yourself. This is especially true if you are working part-time/full-time/have children/etc. This may mean a weekend dedicated to getting out of the city and visiting your family. Or it may mean having a nice long bubble bath while your children are away on play dates. Be kind to yourself! It is a long journey-but one that is so worth it!
Tip #5) When studying for NCLEX I have two pieces of advice: use uworld & do not study the day before your exam! Take the day to relax!
Last edit by Joe V on Sep 1, '17
: Reason: spacing
Sep 1, '17
I went to nursing school a LONG time ago. Before the internet, before computers even. But here's the thing -- what you're learning in nursing school builds upon what you've learned in your pre-requisites. So make sure you actually understand the information rather than just memorizing it to pass the test. You'll never be asked, as a nurse, to diagram the Krebb's cycle. But you will build upon that information to understand physiology, you'll build upon physiology to understand blood gases, and you'll build upon blood gases to understand ventilator settings, sepsis, renal failure. You don't have to discuss the breakdown of specific nutrients in the GI system in morning rounds (although it's fair for the medical student to be asked to do so), but you'll build on that information to understand nutrition and why this patient should have that diet while his roommate might be on a completely different diet, and why giving that drug to this patient on that diet may be a problem.
Do NOT cram before a test, memorizing everything just to get a grade. Make sure you understand the information, how it all works together. Because if you don't understand it, you won't be able to think critically and you cannot be a competent nurse, no matter how many exams you've aced.
Sep 6, '17
Thanks for the advice about using Uworld for studying, but how long did you prepare after graduating before taking your NCLEX exam?