Studying during nursing school isn’t like normal studying. Typically, in high school, one could remember enough information from class to pass the tests. Maybe a tiny amount of studying was necessary? Nursing lectures are different. You are left with a headache, your head so full of information that nothing makes sense. It’s impossible to remember everything. Alas, studying has become necessary. With that said, I learned how to study in nursing school so that at least one thing will go smoothly for you.
Here are 10 study tips to make your student nurse life a little bit easier.
1. Take Notes. I learned very quickly to take notes in class. If you’re lucky, your instructor will provide you with an outline of the material that is being covered. I used this to study, rather than reading through 30 pages of endless information about autoimmune diseases. Take very good notes!
2. Highlight, Highlight, Highlight. If your instructors are like many of mine, they will give you hints. Mine would always say “this is important” or “you’ll be seeing this again” before saying something that would be seen on a test. Whip out that highlighter and make your notes (see tip number 1) look like a rainbow. Your mind will make mental notes of the colors, and the text that is highlighted will be easier to recall during testing.
3. Record the Lecture. If your nursing program doesn’t provide audio recordings of the lectures, invest in an audio recorder. This is useful when reviewing learned material. As you are listening to the lecture a second time through, add to your notes that were made the first time.
4. Make flashcards. Flashcards are easy and quick to make. They are also small enough to fit inside a purse or in the center console of a car. It is an easy way to study on the run. Or better yet, check out our nursing mnemonics!
5. Chew Gum. Specifically, chew peppermint gum. Chewing gum while studying helps you remember what you’ve read. Life hack: chew the same brand of peppermint gum during a test. It will help you remember what you’ve studied!
6. Read Aloud. Read your notes out loud when you are studying. Hearing the words while reading them helps you remember the material.
7. Invent Rhymes/Songs. It may seem silly, but singing your notes or making up silly rhymes to help you remember, actually works! The song may not even make sense. I used this during pharmacology. It was the only way to remember all those drug classifications and side effects.
8. Study Buddies. Find a friend to study with you. Quiz each other on the materials.
9. Study Routine. Plan out a certain routine for study time. Like a bedtime routine to get ready for sleep, a study time routine should prepare you for studying. For example, have healthy snacks and drinks nearby. Have a comfortable, well-lit place to sit with all your study materials handy.
10. Know When to Stop. Take breaks! When you get to the point that your eyes are crossing and you feel like crying- stop! Resting is just as important as studying. Your brain needs time to recharge. I would study for about two hours and take a 20 to 30-minute break. Find what works for you.
I hope these tips help! You’ve got this, nurslings! Happy studying!