10 Study Tips for Nursing Students

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Learn how to study for nursing school to excel in your ABSN program. Study tips for nursing students include reviewing the material promptly after each class, following a reasonable study schedule, turning to outside sources to supplement your class material and using nursing mnemonics.

two nursing students looking at a digital tablet

Are you thinking of changing careers? Perhaps you feel drawn to the health care field, where you can put your skills to good use helping patients heal. If you have academic credits in a non-nursing field, you may qualify to apply for the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Averett University. The online-based ABSN program can be completed in as few as 16 months, which means you can pursue your nursing career much faster than if you enrolled in a traditional four-year BSN program.

You can expect the accelerated BSN curriculum to be quite rigorous, with good reason. Our highly experienced instructors aim to graduate competent future nurses who can provide the best care for their patients. This post will discuss how to study for nursing school and use your time wisely.

Averett nursing student practicing with a patient simulator during a skills lab

Still not sure what the difference is between a traditional BSN and an ABSN program? Learn all about them here!

1. Take Some Time to Review After Each Class

If you plan to study for only a few hours on the weekends, you’ll quickly fall behind in the course material. Instead, set aside time to study each day—preferably multiple times each day. It’s generally more effective to learn and retain information if you study in shorter bursts rather than during marathon study sessions.

If your schedule allows, try to get into the habit of reviewing your notes and other class materials for about 15 minutes after each class. In addition, you should schedule longer study sessions on most days of the week. Pay particular attention to the areas that you struggle with.

2. Figure Out Your Ideal Learning Approach

Prioritizing your preferred learning styles makes study sessions more effective. You might already have a general idea of whether you’re a visual, auditory or tactile learner; however, if you are unsure which styles are most effective for you, utilize the VARK Questionnaire, which helps you identify your preferred learning modalities.

Remember, one study method does not fit all. For example, some students love making and using flashcards, while others prefer to avoid them. Try a few different study strategies to see which approach suits you best. Figuring out your ideal study strategies may help you be more motivated in each study session.

Averett ABSN student studying at table

As you consider the learning strategies that suit you best, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I prefer studying alone, with a partner or in a small group?
  • Do I prefer to study at home or in a public place like a library or coffee shop?
  • Do I tend to concentrate better when listening to background music or white noise?
  • Am I able to focus better in the early morning or during the evenings?
  • Does a timer help me stay on track during each study session, or do I find it distracting?

3. Avoid Cramming in Marathon Study Sessions

It’s best to avoid falling behind in your course readings and studies. It’s much harder to catch up on your work than it is to stay current. Instead of planning to cram for exams, establish a routine, ongoing and consistent study schedule. Scientific research shows that students support their long-term memory best by spacing out shorter study sessions over time compared to extensive study sessions.

In addition, consider these time management tips to find more time to study:

  • Keep a reverse day planner for a few days. Write down everything that you do and note the time. Then, review your schedule to determine how you can carve out more time for class work and studying.
  • Make good use of spare minutes. You might be surprised by how much work you can fit into a few spare minutes here and there.
  • Make good use of passive activities. While doing the dishes and similar “mindless” activities, use the time to mentally review nursing concepts recently learned in class.

4. Supplement Your Class Materials with Outside Sources

Of course, you’ll need to thoroughly review your class materials. You can also reinforce your knowledge acquisition by turning to outside sources. Check online for written and video tutorials on key nursing concepts.

5. Consider Finding a Study Partner/Group

Not everyone studies well with a partner or a small group. If you think that you do, however, ask your more studious classmates if they’d be interested in forming a study group with you. To get the most out of each session, agree on the agenda ahead of time—and stick to it.

6. Practice NCLEX Questions Regularly

Rather than waiting to prepare for the NCLEX until after you graduate, practice NCLEX questions during each of your nursing school courses. This will strengthen your skills over time and allow you to get valuable feedback. Review test guides and take practice exams. You can also find NCLEX “Question of the Day” resources online.

Averett nursing student sitting at desk with textbook

Interested in more NCLEX study tips? Check out these NCLEX study tips for nursing students.

7. Use Nursing Mnemonics

Nursing mnemonics are one of the most effective study strategies for nursing students. For example, the mnemonic CATS can help you remember the symptoms caused by hypocalcemia (convulsions, arrhythmias, tetany, spasms and stridor). Similarly, the mnemonic FRIED can help you identify the symptoms of hypernatremia (fever, restlessness, increased fluid retention and blood pressure, edema and decreased urinary output/dry mouth).

8. Ask Lots of Questions and Don’t Hesitate to Approach Your Instructors

One of the perks of attending a top-notch nursing school like Averett is that your nursing instructors genuinely want to see you do well. Our close-knit community is committed to furthering the success of our students. As such, your instructors will always welcome your questions and requests for additional assistance.

If something is unclear, don’t hesitate to ask questions during classes, labs and hands-on learning experiences. You should take the same approach in your clinical rotations. In addition, don’t be shy about reaching out to your instructors when you need additional help.

9. Try Active Study Techniques

Study techniques can be divided into two main categories: passive and active. Passive studying includes reading course material or listening to a lecture. Although passive studying is certainly a good thing—after all, you must read your course material and listen to your instructors—you should also include active techniques in your approach.

Averett ABSN student sitting at desk studying

Active studying involves heightened engagement with the material, such as pausing after a few paragraphs to reflect upon and analyze the content, discussing the content with fellow students or the instructor, applying the concepts to real-world situations or engaging your brain with the material. Here’s a quick look at some active study techniques to try:

  • As you read, develop and write down questions.
  • After every paragraph or so, pause to rephrase the content in your own words.
  • Write a flow chart or concept map to organize the content.

10. Know When to Give Yourself a Break

Now that you know how to study for nursing school and have a solid list of 10 nursing school study tips to follow, the next step is to practice self-care. No one can go at full speed all the time without taking a break. As important as it is to put in plenty of time studying for nursing school, it’s equally important to take breaks when needed to avoid the potential for burnout.

During your study sessions, take short breaks about every half hour. Stand up for a few minutes, stretch and walk around. Then, get back to it. When you feel your attention span deteriorating during a long study session or you start to get frustrated, it’s a good idea to close your books or take your eyes off the screen. Go outdoors and get some fresh air for a while.

Put These Nursing School Study Tips to Good Use at Averett University

When you apply to the online-based ABSN program at Averett, you could earn your nursing degree in as few as 16 months. Get ready to realize your potential to make a positive difference in the lives of patients and their families. Fill out our contact form today and request a call from one of our friendly admissions counselors. Get ready to take the first step toward your exciting future!