We know that nursing can be extremely stressful. Many of us are time poor, and look at opportunities to make study time as productive as possible. The biggest challenge is to stay on track and be focused.
Take a big breath and relax.. these tips will set you up for success.
Tip 1- Course Outline- get organised straight away!
Work out your academic timetable and note down assessment dates. Key tip, also note the marking percentages and how best to allocate your time.
Look at the topics to be covered and set yourself a schedule for when you should do the readings and tutorial preparation. Understand your best times to study and don't deviate. Are you a morning or night person? Set yourself a timetable and list all activities, including work, sport and fun. Allocate your most productive time for study (if you can). If you study a little every day, this makes a big difference and you won't feel overwhelmed.
Tip 2- Focus on what you learnt in class
Your teacher may assign many chapters to read each week, plus outside resources to review. Understand what topics does the teacher spend time reviewing? What are the key points covered in class? Focus your attention on these areas. When reading study chapters, look at headings, subheadings and highlighted terms and review the summaries and questions at the end of the chapter, to determine which information is most important. Post-it notes are a great help, and you can put them around your house and even toilet to learn key points!
Tip 3- Think practically
It's important for nurses to understand why certain conditions occur and what is happening physiologically in a patient. When you are studying for the nursing exam, ask yourself, "How will I help my patients with this information?" You'll be a better nurse as well as a better student.
Tip 4- Look after yourself
Life gets busy and you can get run down. One of the worst things that can happen is that you get sick and you fall behind in your studies and school work. Make sure you sleep 8 hours a day, eat well, drink water and exercise. Plus do something nice for yourself each week. Take study breaks regularly. You deserve it!
Tip 5- Form a Study Group*
Research shows that students who study with peers retain approximately 90% of what they learn, as opposed to just 60% of what they hear in class alone and just 10% of what they read. Not to mention, studying with others helps provide encouragement and moral support. Get together with a few of your fellow nursing students (research shows that groups of three are the most effective) and put your heads together to share study tips and improve your performance.
Tip 6- Know your learning style
Everyone learns differently: some need to see information, some need to hear it, while others learn kinetically. So in effect, everyone needs to discover which study tips work best for them. Know your own style and use it to your advantage. For example, kinetic learners often do best when they write out their notes, as the motion of writing helps them remember.
To understand your learning style, you can do a quick online assessment. Click here
Tip 7- Celebrate your results
At the end of each term when you receive your marks, make sure you give yourself a treat to reward your hard work. It could be a massage, going to the movies or catching up with a friend. Take time out to celebrate your success and hard work. You deserve it.
Successfully completing nursing school exams are a major commitment, but one that you can easily handle with a plan. We hope these tips helped you.