School’s back in session and that means lots of studying to make the grade for your ultimate goal of becoming a nurse. Maybe you need to brush up on your studying skills since it’s been awhile since you’ve been in school or summer break was extremely long for you.

Here are some study tips to make the transition back to school easier.

  1. Read and then summarize. After reading your study materials (books, class notes, etc.) summarize them by highlighting the important points and then copying them in your own handwriting. It’s important to not only highlight, but to actually copy notes in your own handwriting- not typing them out. Why? Because when you write your notes your brain absorbs more of the information if you have to form the words instead of mindlessly typing them. I know this sounds time consuming, but you will remember so much more by writing your notes out.
  2. Write your notes out in an easy-to-read format. During my grad school years I used a combination of techniques to absorb the vast amount of material. One particular method that worked well for me was to make study questions out of my notes. I wrote the notes out on notebook paper and also on index cards. This, again, is a lot of work but well worth it considering. I used the index cards to study while I was at work.
  3. Take breaks. Pacing yourself when you are in study mode is important. I know some people like to pull all-nighters, but studies have shown you don’t retain as much information with long study sessions. Try to make it a point to alternate studying for 30 minutes and taking a break for 10 minutes. Use that break to walk, stretch, or grab a snack.
  4. Take care of yourself. It’s hard to take time out to care for yourself when you have to worry about work, family commitments, and school. Now that you’re in school you have to take time out for yourself now more than ever. You shouldn’t neglect yourself because if you don’t care for yourself, no one will! Make it a point to exercise regularly, eat healthy and get plenty of sleep each night.
  5. Get involved in study groups. Some people are solo studiers, but they may be missing out on benefits of group study. Meeting with a small group (3-4 people) at least once a week can boost your study progress simply by repetition and hearing the information out loud. Only meet with others to study after you have gone over your material on your own. When you meet, speaking to others will cement the information in your brain and others in the group may help you understand a concept you were struggling with or give you information you may have overlooked previously.
See also
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Hopefully these tips will make the transition back to school easier. What other study tips do you have for the new school year?


Nachole Johnson, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC
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