Study so hard but still struggle? Advice please?


Hi everyone,

I haven't start my program yet but I am very worried about studying habits and my future performance.

There have been hard times in the past where I study for extensive lengths of time (not cramming at all), watch youtube/tutorial videos, study with classmates, go to tutoring/office hours, done everything I can but yet still have trouble with the material and struggled throughout class. And unfortunately this happened several times in one class or even across several classes in the past.

I know that how I am studying is obviously not working and therefore I must try a new approach. But how can I figure out why I'm not getting it? Especially when I don't get what I don't get?

How can I identity what I am doing wrong? Or what parts of my studying habits are not working? I tried studying different ways before but they were all "okay". None particularly stood out to me as an absolute better improvement to studying........

I am very serious about studying and doing well in my future classes as I am very frightened of failing (as of everyone else too of course). But the sheer frustration of failure is exhausting (again, as of everyone who experienced it too).

May I ask your advice in your own studying habits, what helped you and what not for example? Like any advice on "what you knew now that you had wish you had knew earlier in the semester"?

And additionally, how to deal with the frustration of struggling in class and moving pass it without wasting all your energy dwelling on past failures?

Thank you so much for your time to help me out!

Specializes in Neuroscience. Has 4 years experience.

C=RN. No one will care if you had perfect grades, or if you had C's. Because a C in Nursing school is pretty much a C+ or a B anywhere else.

My personal study habits:

1. Attend lecture. Record lecture. Review lecture when you get home.

2. Read the book after lecture. They will tell you to read before lecture, you can try it. For me, it wraps up any questions I might have had.

3. I make question and answer sheets from the powerpoints and class notes. IE: Powerpoint says that a c-section baby will have "wet lungs" because it did not go through birth canal. Birth canal helps to squeeze the excess fluids off of lungs. C-section babies are a higher risk of aspiration because of this. Questions will look like this:

1. "What type of labor causes a baby to have "wet lungs" -> C-section

2. Why? -> Because the birth canal helps to rid the body of excess fluid,

and the c-section baby doesn't go through birth canal

3. What does this put a c-section baby at an increased risk for -> At a higher risk for aspiration.

You can use notebook paper to do this, or microsoft word. Open new word, insert table, choose the two columns. Write question:hit tab. Write answer: hit tab. repeat until you have everything in easy to remember question and answers. Go over the questions everyday until you can explain each process.

Finally, do questions. Usually the textbooks come with a supplemental website that will offer questions in a NCLEX style. Get a NCLEX book from amazon. Buy the "Success series" for whatever class you are in.

Success series:

They have a book for each subject matter. So helpful!

Also, if what works for me doesn't work for you, that's okay! Figure out how you learn best. Did taking notes and rewriting notes help you remember things in high school? Do that! Do you absorb more information from reading, then you should read all the time. Whatever it is that helps you understand material is what you should do. Best of luck!


15 Posts

Hi Tina, nursing school is a completely different animal than what you have seen before. I am only at the end of my first semester, and there are things I wish I had known before going in. first of all, you are going to hear a lot about critical thinking skills. Look it up now, start trying to figure out what the heck it is. Secondly, I know that they say C = RN. However, one of the things you have to think about is do you want to go on and further your education in nursing? If so, you have to earn competitive grades now. I know people who have come back to re-take classes to get A's after getting their degrees just so they can be accepted into the upper grad school of their choice. I figure I do it now and I don't have to worry about that. You are going to be busy. There are weeks I think I won't be able to get everything done that they are asking me to do. It always, always comes together at the end. I was a straight A student in prereqs, I failed my second nursing exam. and by failing, I mean I got a 79. Yes that is failing in nursing school. I cried, I was stunned. I regrouped and thought what am I going to do? I researched and found the success series of books. one word, amazing! I have gotten A's on all my subsequent exams, it explains the rationale so well. I am finishing up with an A in my classes. good luck, like I say, it is hard, you will cry, but in the end it is so worth it.

Specializes in LTC, Med-surg.

I had the same feelings taking Fundamentals of nursing....

what I learned through this forums was that I needed to buy a comprehensive nursing "cliff notes" of all the important diseases and disorders and their nursing interventions and assessments

this book was this:

Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination, 5th Edition: 8965132282019: Medicine & Health Science Books @

I bought a used copy for less than $40 and never looked for another book. I studied exclusively through this book while reading the assigned readings for my nursing classes and was getting A's and B's on all my exams.

Next, I bought the Success series and answered all the questions and read the rationales for the sections that

were due for reading the week for lecture

Fundamentals Success: A Q&A Review Applying Critical Thinking to Test Taking (Davis's Q&a Success): 9780803627796: Medicine & Health Science Books @

They Success series also has Pediatrics, Psychiatric, and Maternity and Childbirth

Look into these and I highly recommend buying them. I often found questions exactly like the ones in these books on my exams


201 Posts

THank you so much to all that has replied and shared your thoughts of wisdom, thank you!!!!

I will definitely look into your book recommendations!!! Did you guys did anything else in addition (i.e. any other book you referred to, any other online resource, practice quizzes/tests, or any other studying habit/skill you incorporated?)

Thank you again for your time!