I strongly recommend the "Success" books. I used the "Test taking Success" and the "Fundamental Success" and I really think they helped me start to THINK the right way from the beginning. I am going into my 3rd semester, 1st semester I was the top of my class, 2nd semester I had some serious personal issues going on and honestly didn't even open a text book, just crammed with my NCLEX questions (I don't recommend this strategy AT ALL, but with 3 kids passing pneumonia, the flu, and every other bug you could possibly imagine back and forth-they were my priority) and I still got a high B. O yeah..did I mention I am taking my nursing classes for ADN but ALSO taking additional classes at a 4 year institution so I can streamline into my BSN? In my experience its not so bad. Mind over matter.
Don't go in thinking that failure is even an option, figure out your learning style as early as you possibly can and stick with it, don't listen to everybody elses "here's what I did and it really works" because the truth is what works for them probably won't work for you. My friends hate that I can not open my text book but only pay attention in class and do my NCLEX questions and still manage high grades...it doesn't work for them though. NS is a lot about discovering yourself, your strengths and weaknesses i.e. I LOVE blood and guts and needles and all that implies...but I cannot do snot, it literally makes me gag. I can change a c-diff diaper or medicate a bed sore thats down to the bone but if you blow your nose in front of me I turn green! Stupid right..but it tells me alot about what area I want to specialize in. You will change A LOT in nursing school as you figure yourself out (at least thats my experience) but just go with it, I feel like alot of the people in my class who haven't made it through were trying to hold onto their previous beliefs about themselves and nursing as a profession, its hard, its time consuming, it may bite you in the butt and open your eyes to things that you never even considered before, its not this glorious and glamorous career where you get to meet a million Dr McDreamy's everyday (or EVER!-I honestly know people in my class who thought they could become a nurse in order to marry a doctor-DOH!) but in the end its all worth it if you're there for the right reasons! So apply yourself, study, and keep your mind open to changing your ideals. Good luck.