studying?? any suggestions??


Last semester I started nursing school, and started out pretty bad. I didn't know how to take the tests. So I talked to the professor and she suggested I try outlining the chapters. So I did, and my test grades shot up! This semester is already extremely busy and it's only the first week and I already feel so behind. I think I should stick to outlining the chapters, because that seemed to work for me last semester. The only thing is that it is so time consuming and sometimes I feel like I am wasting time writing when I should be reading the book or something like that.

Does anyone else outline to study and do you have the same problem that I do?? Any suggestions??


336 Posts

My school provides outlines of course objectives. I will read the chapters assigned and while I'm doing that I will jot down (paragraph by paragraph) what I think is important in that paragraph. Then I will type my own outline based on what information I wrote down while reading. Then I go over the provided outline and make sure I hit upon all the objectives and highlight the ones that seem most relevent or important to the subject. It's time consuming and tedious, but I have found after three semesters of NS that this is the best way for me to learn the material. I also tend to do 3x5 index cards for S/S of certain conditions, so that I can pull them out and study when I am away from home.

Hope you find a way that works for you, Angela.


1,714 Posts

I did a lot of outlining my first semester too, since we only had two hard classes. I don't have time to do it for every chapter any more. By now I know my instructors pretty well, so when I know I have a good instructor (our classes are team taught, so we have someone different for each unit), I still read the chapter but I rely more on my class notes. When I have someone new, I'm more skeptical. We had someone new for F&E yesterday, and she was awful, so I outlined the chapter really well following the objectives, and I'll study this material from that instead of from her outline, which was full of mistakes. I'll also still outline any chapters that I'm having trouble understanding all the concepts. If you haven't started yet, most of your review time should be spent doing NCLEX style questions - in my school you won't pass unless you do thousands.

Italia13 RN

153 Posts

Specializes in ER.

I outline the chapter and compare it to her notes. Yes its takes up alot of time, but i feel that me reading and then writing helps me memorize and understand things more. Tried the flashcards 1st semester and didnt do as well as I would like so I had to switch my studying and outlining works the best for me... and also doing NCLEX questions in that area really helps too! It may take awhile to figure out what works for you, just keep trying and something will eventually click!

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

2bsunshinenurse3. . .a number of college counselors have websites set up where they have given extensive instruction on how to study. studying is a skill like any other skill in life that we learn. there are many different methods of studying. it may be that you just haven't found the one or two methods that work the best for you yet. outlining is only one method. please go to post #15 on this thread, - study strategies (on the nursing student assistance forum), where you will find the listing of these sites that have tutorials and information on how to study. another thread, - looking for test taking strategies (on the nursing student discussion forum), has links to information on how to take nursing tests.

best of luck to you. sometimes it takes time to learn what study methods work best for each of us. unfortunately, the cost is that "a" or "b" we wish we could have gotten. but, once you find what works for you, there will be no stopping you!


13 Posts

I am in my second semester of nursing and found out quickly that reading the books took far too long and confused me because the instructors would say different things than the books. I stopped reading and used the books for reference when I needed to clarify a subject. My instructors put up powerpoint slides before class so we can take notes with them in front of us, then I take that information and whatever I get out of the book and place it on notecards and basically study the notecards for the tests. Hope this helps! Good luck.

vashtee, RN

1,065 Posts

Specializes in DOU.

I use the notes provided by the instructor to guide me in my readings from the book. Then I make sure to read all the little boxes in the book because they usually contain the most important info. Then I answer all the study questions at the back of the chapter, and then I do all the NCLEX-style questions on the CD that accompanies the book.

I get together with a couple of classmates to review just before exams. If you do this, I'd suggest you find the strongest students you can to study with.


117 Posts

I used to outline the chapters too but I stopped because it was too time consuming. By the time I finished, it was time for the test and I had no time to study from the notes. So now I read the whole chapter and if there is something I'm having trouble remembering I'll write it down. For things that I need to know side effects or s/sx I'll do flash cards and study 3 cards at a time.

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