Tips for a new nursing student?

by Mbro5 (New) New

Let me start off by saying I should be studying right now but instead I'm using this as a way to procrastinate and for help.. :laugh:.. and please forgive me for this long paragraph I am about to write.. I am in my first semester and second week of nursing school. I am currently very overwhelmed with all this studying and reading that needs to be done but that's a given. Here in my second week, I am already struggling to keep up with all this reading/studying and not sure what I can do different. I was worried starting nursing school hearing about how 4.0 pre-nursing students often fail out because you need more than just book-smarts. My pre-reqs were a breeze for me, microbiology and A&P were not very difficult for me because I have very good memorization so I basically just studied and memorized everything I needed to know for tests, which ofcourse I have mostly forgotten at this point because I didn't technically "learn" it so to speak. I have never had a lot of common sense and have always had awful critical thinking skills which is one major reason I am worried for what's to come. For an A&P test, all I had to do was memorize 2-3 chapters of information to get an easy A. 2 weeks in I have already been assigned 17 chapters across 4 different books and my first exam will be based off of 35 chapters from 5 different books. The reason I have been struggling is because the past week I have found myself going through the chapters highlighting what's important, then writing down notes and BAM it's the second week and I haven't even done any actual studying of those chapters because all my time has been spent on reading and taking notes. I feel like I've been doing it as fast as I can but still find that I have no time left to actually study. I don't read every sentence, because I was told to skim through the chapters and only highlight what's important to save time. I feel like the third week will come when it's test time and here I am 3 weeks in without any studying because every minute of my time has been spent on reading/writing notes rather than studying. One question I have is how to study effectively for nursing school? Like I said I am so used to just saying lines out loud a few times to memorize it, and I know that won't cut it now because questions on these tests will force you to use critical thinking. I honestly cannot even think of another way to study/learn this mass of information besides the only way I know how.. memorizing. I am sorry for this long rant of complaining/venting. I am just worried and confused on how to make my time better and properly study. Thank you if you have taken the time to read all of this, any tips are greatly appreciated, thank you!

If taking notes is consuming that much time, then maybe you're not taking notes effectively or it's time to find some other way to study.

I know a lot of people who "take notes" and end up with 7 double-sided pages over 1 chapter.

I skim over chapters, avoiding a lot of the fluff. I look at key terms objectives, theories, significant data (such as the #1 leading cause of death in infants is accidents).

You need to learn how to retain info, not just memorize. And how do you retain information? Repetition. Good luck!!


12 Posts

Thank you for the reply. By repetition do you mean reading/saying it out loud over and over? Because that's how I use memorization, but ofcourse after a certain time that info is gone out of my mind.

Thank you for the reply. By repetition do you mean reading/saying it out loud over and over? Because that's how I use memorization, but ofcourse after a certain time that info is gone out of my mind.

I mean reviewing daily. Not just pumping and dumping.

However you learn best is fine, but you have to do it over a period of time. I reread material daily or every other day to retain the info.


12 Posts

Thank you, I will start reviewing every day.

Pangea Reunited, ASN, RN

Has 6 years experience. 1,547 Posts

#1 tip ...don't say anything specific (or even general) about your nursing program or eventual job/employer that's connected with your real name or picture. You might say the wrong thing someday and cause yourself some trouble. I would never use my own picture as an avatar on this site.

#2 tip ...listen and process in class. I never understood people who took pages of notes during lecture. I've tried to take notes before, but all it did was distract me from what was being taught. I might write down two or three things in a four hour long class, but that's about it.


109 Posts

It's also my second week, and I too, was falling behind. I went in and spoke to one of my instructors during her office hours to ask about what I should prioritize and any advice she had on studying. although everyone studies different, I have definitely found an improvement in not only in my understanding the material, but also my enjoyment of it.

She told me to drop the pen and highlighter when reading the material (I know, I had my doubts too).

She told me to try reading it like I was reading a good novel, so not trying to memorize the content, just trying to retain the important parts to understand the "story".

She then told me to go back and and answer the objectives? Did I understand the questions? Could I elaborate or teach someone else the answer?

If my answer was yes i was free to move on to the next reading assignment (obviously with intent to review the objectives again)

If my answer is no, then I should review the chapter, use other resources, YouTube etc. until I felt confident that I truly understood, not memorized what I read.

I haven't had a big exam yet. But I've done well on the quizzes. So take the advice with a grain of salt.

You can read tips all you want but it might be a trial an error thing for both of us! Good luck! You're smart! You got this!


12 Posts

Thank you very much for that first tip. Didn't even think of that possibility. And another good point, I need to start doing that. I always take notes and get distracted because of it, thank you.


12 Posts

Very good tip, never thought of it like that, thank you.


6 Posts

Just sending you a hug, first semester is tough but it helps you learn how to study nursing. How to answer nursing questions and think ADPIE & Maslow. Yet, different people have different study systems... I was never able to read the text books like a novel with 10-15 chapters per book, per class that wasn't practical for me and the more I read the less I actually retained. Always know your patho and thinking about diseases from that perspective helped me and made pharm a walk in the park. I watched videos from Armando Hadsudanag(?) about body systems before super skimming the text. Master skimming textbooks, review objectives, all boxes, all images, and all bold terms was helpful, but with MedSurg II I stopped reading text books all together and just used Saunders/Mosby Comprehensive NCLEX. My system was to religiously use the Saunders Comprehensive NCLEX book it is condensed and provides everything I needed for major clinical courses. (For Pharm, Patho, and PA I did use the regular textbook) I highlight and write notes, it helps my memory. Most important thing for me was to complete all reading at least 5 days before exam and practice a minimum of 50 NCLEX questions daily to reinforce my reading. 25 in the morning and 25 at night. Learning to prioritize time and studying early goes a long way and may make the difference between students failing or doing well. Safety is the key and always trust your instinct if an answer really feels right be reluctant to change it! Very best wishes! I am in 3rd semester and just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope this ramble is helpful.


12 Posts

Thank you so much, joihaylock. I will definitely start using those tips. I need to start getting through my chapters earlier so I have more time to review. That's been my main problem is taking too much time getting through the info and writing notes because there is just so much info thrown at us! Thank you again and I will implement the tips you gave me, good luck with your 3rd semester! You're going to kill it!