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Published on June 20th, 2018 | by Jelena D

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How to Study for Your Nursing School Tests

Are you in Nursing School and wondering how on earth you made such a lousy grade on your test or how should you study for your test? Not only did you make a lousy grade but most in nursing school the grade numbers correlate to letter grades differently than other schools. For example at my nursing school you have to have a 74.5 and above to pass! You do not earn a B unless you are above an 82.5 and an A is anything above a 92.5. This is standard grading procedures for many which is why being able to succeed on your tests is of utmost importance.

Where to Study

You have probably heard it a million times in high school and even in college or your nursing school but the first thing you have to have to be able to successfully study is a quiet place. I have seen numerous people try to study for their tests in front of the television and that does not work. Nursing school curriculum includes disease pathology, nursing procedures, nursing interventions and other measures that need your entire focus and not just partial focus during the commercial break of your favorite show. Sensory overload is real and trying to study with outside distractions will surely lead to missed information along with inability to correctly retain that information. When you begin your study time be sure to have a quiet location that is free of distractions. The location also needs to be comfortable otherwise the discomfort will become a distraction in itself. On that note, do not make it to comfortable like lying on a bed or you will surely end up snoozing instead of studying and you do not have time to snooze.

When to Study

When is the best time to study? A good time to study for your test is anytime that you have extra time and when your mind is not too overloaded or tired (you will always be a little overloaded and tired). While you are in nursing school you will probably find that time is hard to come by so take any extra time you have, find a quiet place and do some studying. I am in the school right now and I prefer to study each night for about one hour. If I had clinical that day, I will sometimes take the day off because my mind is just too tired to focus on any more information. Instead I use my lunch breaks and other breaks at work and nursing school to study instead of mingling. It is great to have friends in nursing school but friends are not going to pass your tests for you so use your spare time studying instead. It may sound harsh but once you get out of nursing school you will be able to take as much time as you need with your friends; in between you new well-paying nursing job of course!

What and How to Study

During nursing school, students are given more information that one can possibly process in such a short amount of time. The information given to students is meant to be a foundation for learning about nursing. Students cannot be expected to retain all of this information but instead students are taught to use their critical thinking skills to answer questions, assess patients and make educated decisions. I recommend that in order to study for each and every test you use the following study template. Although I cannot guarantee that it will work for you, I can guarantee that it did work for me; my current GPA is 3.545 and I am half way through my third semester of nursing school in the ADN degree program.

Nursing School Study Template

(Based on average test every 2 weeks)

  • Spend at least one hour per night studying/start by reading a chapter per night generally about 5-7 chapters are on a test so this should complete your first week.
  • During your second week of studying (you should still be attending some lectures) go over your lecture notes/power points at least 3 times (In a quiet/comfortable/non distracting environment). This should take about 3 days if you read through it all each night for three nights.
  • The last four days before the test you will practice questions from your books and NCLEX book. I have a disk for my NCLEX book that I use and I am able to select the topics and answer questions only on those topics. My medical surgical book was used and did not have a cd but inside the cover, it stated on line resources. I was able to go to the online site and use the online resources for FREE which consisted of at least 10 NCLEX style questions PER Chapter!
  • Make sure that you are not just memorizing the answers if you find yourself doing the same questions over and over again. To be successful on your tests you need to understand the questions, answers and the rationale for each answer so you understand the problem if it was asked in another manner.

If you have less than two weeks between your tests or have to work more then you can adjust your studying accordingly. Instead of studying for one hour each night you can study for two some nights and take others off. In the end if you want to make great grades in nursing school I suggest that you study a minimum of 14 hours per test. Good Luck!

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