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How to study for nursing school

As you enter your journey into nursing school, you’re probably feeling excited, nervous and everything in between. One of the things you may wonder about is how you’ll study everything you need to know and not get overwhelmed.


Nursing school may not be medical school but there’s no doubt that it’s challenging. It’s difficult for students to juggle their work, personal lives as well as nursing studies. It’s difficult, but possible.


Master of information

Nursing is the largest healthcare profession, with three times as many RNs as physicians. This really highlights the important role nurses play in healthcare, but also about the challenging road to becoming one. 


There’s a load of information to master in nursing school – which can be overwhelming and confusing to any student. It may be too much to learn in a short period of time, you may not know where to start, or you may feel like things aren’t sticking to your memory.

The first step is to take a deep breath. You can do this. To succeed in nursing school, it just takes a little bit of planning, some time management and a few study tips and strategies. Adopting smart study habits early on in your education will set you up to be a successful learner, test-taker, and practicing RN. 


Get a head start on your course material

Playing catch-up in nursing school is really difficult, as there’s a lot of ground to cover, and it goes by so fast. Try to stay ahead of the game before you have a lecture. Read the chapters or watch videos and get familiar with the content. Putting in the work ahead of a lecture is important, as you teach your brain to set the right foundation for gaining knowledge.


Make a schedule (and stick to it)

Making a schedule (and sticking to it) really sets you up for success. You need to ensure that it is realistic and adjusted to your life, your time, your responsibilities. There’s no standard timeframe for the best learning, so the key here is to focus on quality rather than quantity. 


Study daily

A fatal mistake many nursing students make is putting off studying until the weekend or a few days before the exam. Cramming a semesters work of studies into a few hours doesn’t work. A key to excelling is to revise your work everyday and stay caught up.


Make concept maps

Instead of taking notes - highlighting text and rewriting pages of notes, try making concept maps. These maps are a fun and easy way to study for nursing school as it gives you a visual representation of knowledge which will help you to organise your thoughts on it.

Study the right material

The key is to determine what work is the most important. There aren’t enough hours in a day to go in depth into each section. Pay close attention to the topics the lecturer covers in class and focus on those topics.


Discover your learning style

Everyone has a unique learning style that benefits them. Finding your preferred method of learning will enable you to organise your nursing studies for maximum efficiency.


Form a study group

Having company while studying can be motivating and supportive. Get together with a handful of classmates and collaborate to discuss study strategies and raise your performance.


Skim first, read second

Lots of reading and studying is required for nursing school. Skim each chapter of your textbook before reading it. Review end-of-chapter questions and summaries to determine which information is most important.


Practice, and keep practising

Practice makes perfect. Going through past papers and exam style questions not only challenges you to apply all the knowledge you gain, but also your ability to think at a high level and analyse data in different ways.


Don’t forget the basics and remember to take breaks! Nursing school can be difficult, and the tests will be challenging, but you have made it this far for a reason! Soon you will start reaping the rewards – you got this!