Gigi’s Nursing School Study Tips
Hey Nursing Students,
First and foremost, congratulations on beginning or continuing nursing school! You are on your journey to becoming a registered nurse. I’m so proud and excited for you! I’ve compiled some tips to help guide your experiences just a bit.
1.) If you can say it, you know it – Have you ever read something, and then someone asks you to tell them what you just read, and you can’t seem to give a straight answer? Bingo! If you can talk about it then you know about it. Have someone ask you about a disease that you are studying after you study it. This will give insight into what you know, and don’t know. If you don’t have anyone on hand, you can ask yourself questions, just don’t cheat lol!
2.) Ask yourself “why?” while studying – A lot of information will be thrown at you. And at least for me, it was impossible to remember it all, not to mention super stressful. Asking yourself “why?” during studying promotes understanding. For example, there may be a lot of symptoms for any given condition, and you may find it hard to remember which symptoms goes with each disease. Hell, sometimes every symptom looks just about right, but if you ask yourself “why” the symptom would be occurring in the first place you’ll be able to pick out correct answers more frequently because you can anticipate what symptoms the disease process may cause. Think like a nurse! haha
3.) Switch up your study setting – Studying can become very monotonous, but there are ways to make it better. My go to study spot was in my bed which in my opinion isn’t the most effective because I ended up dozing off (I mean the bed is right underneath me lol). Being in my bed also made me feel like I was always in my room missing out on life. If you can handle a little distraction go to different places to study, like starbucks, your favorite restaurant, the park, take a walk or run and listen to recorded lecture, go to the library with friends whether you collaborate or not, on the couch with mom, etc. Sometimes just having a bit of company whether it is someone you know or people passing by could help studying feel less mundane, and if noise bothers you get some noise canceling headphones.
4.) IF possible review your exams – At my school this was an option, we reviewed exams, and had the opportunity to look at our exams in private with our professor. I didn’t always take this opportunity and I wish I had because I found that people that did this were significantly more successful, especially when it came to the final exams. It’s important to see what you got wrong to clear up any misconceptions you may have, so you don’t keep making the same mistakes.
5.) Pay attention to what your professor puts emphasis on – Your professors are going to be throwing a lot at you, and they can’t test you on everything they teach you, so pay attention to the things they highlight – whether they explicitly say it’s going to be on the exam, put it on the PowerPoint, repeat it, etc. Pay attention to those ques and make sure you know that information. I found this to be true with medications especially, there is no way you can be tested on them all, so keep your eyes peeled.
6.) Write it out – I swear by this, I got my best grades when I wrote out all my notes. I actually wrote out the entire PowerPoints that were provided, and then switched between studying what I wrote and the PowerPoint itself. Switching between the two eased the monotony and kept my brain thinking I wasn’t doing the same thing over and over again even though I was.
7.) Don’t study when you don’t feel like it -If you truly don’t feel like studying, and I know you all are like: When am I ever going to feel like studying Gigi? But trust me, you’ll know, and when you do, go out and do something else, and then come back to it. The time you spend looking off into space, and trying to find everything else to do besides study, you could have gotten something else done and refreshed yourself. Take a walk, get your nails done, take a long shower, or my favorite – a nap. Self care! Sometimes you don’t have to throw yourself right into it, and your studying will be more effective when you’re “ready” to do it.
8.) Find what works for you – Everyone learns differently, and no way is truly better than another when it comes to studying if you are reaping good results. Keep in mind that you may find that what works for one course may not necessarily work for another, and that’s okay. Try a different approach, also ask the professor what students should do to be successful in their course or what prior successful students have done. P.S. You may not actually need to read the textbook for a course – you didn’t hear that from me…ask those who came before you.
9.) Study groups or nah? – Here’s the thing: You need to know yourself. Do not get peer-pressured into study groups if you can’t handle it. What I mean by this is, if you can’t focus, learn, or keep up with the pace of the group. I personally didn’t do it much at all, the only times I did were for review purposes, this is after I already had a good handle on the material, so I wasn’t jeopardizing actually learning it. My study sessions with my friends usually just turned into gossip and conversations about what we were going to when we finally got that RN check lmao. If you can find a group that fits your pace and needs, by all means do it, but if not respectfully decline. Your grades will thank you.
10.) Stay Organized – If you don’t get organized it will come back to bite you, I promise you. You will have over looming due dates that don’t just go away because you’re out with friends, studying for a test, or doing another assignment. You can’t afford to let things slip your mind because your grade will slip too. Most people use planners, use whatever you need to, but once you get a due date record it!!!! My advice is to put it in your phone, so it reminds you. Don’t rely on your memory…it will fail you. Check that planner every day or put it in your cell phone. Organization is key for due dates, but also to decrease your stress level during school.