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Online Nursing Study Tips: What Has Worked For Me

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Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

How do you get through accelerated nursing school?

Many newly enrolled students want to find a way to accelerate through WGU's RN-to-BSN degree completion program coursework. The following piece is a loosely organized collection of study tips that have helped me accelerate through WGU's competency-based courses. These tactics may or may not be conducive to your personal learning style, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt and/or utilize them as you wish.

Online Nursing Study Tips: What Has Worked For Me

I have been enrolled in the Western Governors University online RN-to-BSN degree completion program since May 2014, and so far, I have greatly enjoyed the experience. Each passing grade on an objective assessment or performance task greatly enhances my sense of self-efficacy and causes me to realize that I can accomplish this feat. So can you!

My inspiration for this post was prompted by a private message I received not that long ago from another member who started working on the Care of the Older Adult (DPV1) course at the beginning of this month and is still working through the study plan. This member was wondering what steps I took to accelerate through the courses, so I decided to share the methods that have worked well for me.

How To Accelerate Through Your Courses

STEP 1 I absolutely DO NOT complete any of the activities in the course of study, especially for objective assessment (OA) courses. There's enough busy work on each course of study to tie a person up for a couple of months. As Sweet Brown would shout, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

STEP 2 I search Google for relevant lecture notes and educational PowerPoints from other colleges and universities. After all, the material covered in a typical nursing research course does not vary much between WGU, the University of Arkansas School of Nursing, or the BSN program at the University of Central Florida. It's the same story for Professional Roles and Values, Community-Based Nursing, or any common nursing course. I have found virtually no variance between the material on the WGU course of study and concise lecture notes that are posted on the university websites of other schools of nursing.

STEP 3 I occasionally purchase used study guides off Ebay or Amazon. For instance, I studied for the Professional Roles and Values course (RUC1) using a $14.99 gently used study guide published by the College Network. After two weeks of studying, I took the OA and attained a score of 81, which was 16 percentage points above the minimum cut score of 65.

STEP 4 For WGU's performance assessment courses, I skip the course of study altogether and simply jump right into the TaskStream instructions. I complete the tasks according to the instructions outlined in TaskStream and the associated rubric. My assignments typically pass on the first submission. As I'm completing my essay or PowerPoint submission, my research comes strictly from various internet sources.

STEP 5 I schedule my OA test dates two weeks into the future to keep me motivated. After the date has been confirmed, I study intensely during those two weeks using study guides and lecture notes I found on other nursing school websites. I typically score in the 80s on my OAs.

I just wanted to share some acceleration tactics that have worked out for me up to this point. These techniques may or may not work for your personal learning style, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt and/or employ them as you wish. Having faith in your abilities is paramount while enrolled in this particular program.

Good luck to everyone!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN, CRRN is a longtime physical rehabilitation nurse who has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a Registered Nurse.

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15 Comment(s)

Very helpful. I go to Walden for the RN-BSN program and I will definitely apply the tips you have listed here.

Thanks! This is very timely as I have just started this program.

LobotRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med Tele, Gen Surgical. Has 4 years experience.

Commuter, you are spot on. I apply very similar logic to my courses at WGU, and I am seeing very similar results. I would only add taking the preassessments where available for the courses with objective assessments just to ball park. I have found that if I am 5 points over, I can jump right into the testing after a week, or two, at most, and studying only those areas I'm low in. I, too, go straight away to task stream, look at the rubric, and then "work the course backward" and get what I need to accomplish any performance assessment. All that said, I have learned quite a bit and will be finished by the mid of next year. Keep on keepin' on, Commuter!

LobotRN said:
Commuter, you are spot on. I apply very similar logic to my courses at WGU, and I am seeing very similar results. I would only add taking the preassessments where available for the courses with objective assessments just to ball park. I have found that if I am 5 points over, I can jump right into the testing after a week, or two, at most, and studying only those areas I'm low in. I, too, go straight away to task stream, look at the rubric, and then "work the course backward" and get what I need to accomplish any performance assessment. All that said, I have learned quite a bit and will be finished by the mid of next year. Keep on keepin' on, Commuter!

How do you mean when you say " Work the course backwards"? Please do share ?

prnqday said:
How do you mean when you say " Work the course backwards"? Please do share ?

Instead of starting at the beginning of the course of study and working through the whole thing before doing the tasks/test, look at the task requirements or take the preassessment first, then refer to the course of study only to the extent it helps you with the tasks or your weak areas identified by the preassessment.

Thank you so much for this topic. I have just started with Care for Older Adults and feeling a little lost about what to study for the test (objective). Just another question, when you say that you look at lectures for other colleges, do you mean that you just read them or that you used them as study guides? Thanks again.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

amlong1 said:
Just another question, when you say that you look at lectures for other colleges, do you mean that you just read them or that you used them as study guides?

I did a little of both. If the lecture notes from other schools were especially detailed and informative, I took my own notes based off them.

xoemmylouox, ASN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

While I am not enrolled in WGU I am taking online courses. I agree that the "busywork" they give you will keep busy for years. I try to pick and choose what I think will help the most. Tips like the ones you posted are very helpful, esp. those who are attending WGU.

Great tips! What study guide did you use from college network for the professional roles and values?

I was wondering if anyone who completed or currently in the prelicensure course share their study tips. I feel like, for me, if I do not do all the "busy work" I am hurting my chances of doing better on the NCLEX down the road. However, I am moving at such a slow pace that I am always exceeding the "deadline" the mentor has given me to complete a class.

Have you tried using the cohorts? I am only in my second class in the prelicensure program so my experience is limited, however by utilizing the class cohorts I am on track to finish Biochem in under 20 days which is well under the deadline I was given by my mentor.

Best of luck to you!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

holistic_healer said:
Have you tried using the cohorts? I am only in my second class in the prelicensure program so my experience is limited, however by utilizing the class cohorts I am on track to finish Biochem in under 20 days which is well under the deadline I was given by my mentor.

I completed the program early and never once used the cohorts. The cohort schedule moved at far too slow of a pace for me.

featherzRN, MSN

Specializes in Outpatient/Clinic, ClinDoc. Has 30 years experience.

TheCommuter said:
I completed the program early and never once used the cohorts. The cohort schedule moved at far too slow of a pace for me.

I'm with commuter on this. I usually signed up for a cohort "just in case" and was done with the class by the time the cohorts actually started. 🙂

But I have heard good things about them from people who HAVE used them - that's what great about WGU. You can zip through a class if you can OR there's plenty of extra help if you need it. Only a few times did I run into a class that had lacking support and those would be new classes that didn't quite have everything ready to go. 🙂

You are such an eloquent speaker. Thank you for spreading the knowledge.

Hi TheCommuter or anyone else would you be able to tell me what you looked up to find the study guide on ebay for professional roles and values(WGU) Also what did you use to get through statistics? I appreciate any help. thanks