How I Study in Nursing School

Nursing school is one of the most demanding programs a student can undertake. With a rigorous curriculum and long hours of clinical training, it can be difficult to find the time to study effectively. But with a few simple tips and strategies, you can set yourself up for success. In this blog post, I’m going to share my top tips on how to study in nursing school. This post has been requested by a few readers and I know it’s helpful to see how others are studying to pick up new tips and tricks. Okay, let’s get into it! Here’s how I study in nursing school.

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How I Study in Nursing School

Disclaimer: I am a visual-auditory learner, so if you have a different learning style what works for me might not work for you. Also if you are stressing out just because you don’t have an A, I want to say that bedside manner and safety are the most important things. Tests are not going to measure your interaction with patients. Also, you can know the information very well, but depending on the professor and their testing style, you can completely bomb it. My point is that if you don’t get an A, it isn’t the end of the world. Your employer isn’t going to see that and your patients aren’t going to know.

1. Notecards

I know a lot of people tell you not to use notecards to study in nursing school. I totally disagree! Notecards are what kept me afloat. It helps me retain the information by rewriting my important notes and I use active recall while going through the cards. It’s time-consuming to write them, but you don’t have to have a notecard for every little detail. For example, if you’re learning fluid and electrolytes, that’s a great topic to write notecards on. However, you don’t need to write notecards of every other little detail from your professor’s slides or things that you already know. If you’re short on time, carry them with you and squeeze a couple in while you’re on your commute, waiting in line, or any other free time.

2. Registered Nursing RN Videos

If Sarah with Registered Nursing RN on Youtube has a video about a topic, it’s most likely going to help you much more than your lecture on the same topic! The textbook honestly doesn’t help me that much. Sarah usually covers everything that you need to know on a topic in the same depth as your textbook. If I am preparing for a test, I will watch her videos while I’m cooking dinner or getting ready in the morning. Sometimes I will even make notecards on the information from her videos. I highly recommend it, especially if you are an auditory learner. When you’re done with the video, if you want to test your knowledge, she has NCLEX questions related to the topic that you can find on her website.

3. Practice NCLEX Questions

Doing practice NCLEX questions can help your active recall. I find NCLEX-style questions applicable to the module in a few different places. One place to find NCLEX questions is the Saunders NCLEX Review book. My school required me to buy it. If your school didn’t, you can find it linked here. Other resources I’ve used for practice questions are, the Med-Surg Capriotti Study Guide my school required I buy, and Quizlet. If you’re looking for a relevant Quizlet you can Google “Quizlet NCLEX Questions [Topic/Chapter]” and different sets of questions should pop up in the results. On if you’re looking for questions, use the search bar to find your topic.

4. Study Groups

Study groups can either be very helpful, or very disorganized and chatty. I personally like doing practice questions and sometimes notecards in groups. I had never previously done a study group in pre-nursing (aside from biology and chemistry when I attended a university instead of a community college). Just reviewing everything that the professor expects you to know for a test or things that they said you need to remember during a lecture but you may have forgotten can get you an extra few questions right on the test.

Other Tips:

Learn how to Decipher NCLEX Questions

If you’re uncomfortable with NCLEX-style questions, I recommend learning about how to answer them. NCLEX questions can be hard because you have to select the most right answer. That means that more than one answer can be right, but one fits best. The Saunders book that I linked above gives helpful rationales including how to break down each NCLEX question. Sarah with Registered Nursing RN also has this video that breaks down NCLEX-style questions that would be helpful if you’re just starting nursing school! These resources will give you tips like eliminating similar answers, treating all questions like true or false, and prioritizing through ABCs (airway, breathing, circulation).

Time Management

You are going to go crazy if you spend every waking minute studying! Take study breaks, don’t study during every second you have free, and remember to take care of yourself. In the end, when you are getting enough sleep, eating well, and keeping your stress levels down, you are going to do better on the exams.

Cut out the Distractions

This is where I struggle! I can become so distracted, especially by Youtube or Instagram. If you are struggling to stay focused, try taking a break. Go for a walk, or eliminate distractions if possible. If you know your home is going to be somewhere that is very distracting, you can always go elsewhere. Try to study at the library, a coffee shop, or somewhere with fewer distractions.

That’s How I Study in Nursing School

Claw Clips
Lenovo Yoga Laptop
Reference Cards Nursing
Stethoscope Case
Foldable Clipboard
BAGSMART Clinical Bag
Hydroflask Coffee Mug
Fitbit Versa 2

I hope these study tips and how I study in nursing school have been helpful to you! I always love to hear how other people study, so if you have any tips or study in a way different from me then let me know in the comments! If you are interested in more tips for studying in nursing school, you can check out my other post here.

As always, you can find me on Instagram @maddie_deer here, or can follow me on my Facebook page to be alerted of any new posts here. I have a lot more nursing school-related posts ready to be posted, so be on the lookout for those!

Good luck studying 🙂


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