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How to Study for Nursing Exams


how to study for nursing exams


There’s no denying that nursing school is difficult. And, when you’re juggling family and career obligations on top of your nursing studies, the quantity of studying you have to accomplish can seem insurmountable. How are you meant to get through all of these chapters, let alone review notes, prepare for the nursing exam, and remember everything you need to know to have a successful career as a nurse? 

Before anything, make sure you take a deep breath. You can handle it. You only need some organization, proper time management, and important ideas and strategies to help you understand the difference between what you need to learn and how to go about it.


How to Study for Nursing Exams


Go on regular breaks. 

If you have issues retaining and remembering key concepts, do not make the mistake of cramming all the concepts. While you may believe that more is better, research has shown that taking a break might really increase your productivity.


Be aware of your learning style. 

Many kids may make it to college without even realizing they have a distinct learning style. Some people learn best by reading, while others learn best by taking notes in a study guide, and still others learn best by seeing or doing. 

The main thing is to recognize that there is no such thing as a “right” approach; nevertheless, there is a right way that will work for you, so experiment to find out what works best for you.


Get a head start on the material for your course. 

Before you ever have a lecture, try to remain ahead of the game. Read the chapters or watch videos to familiarize yourself with the material—however you prepare, it’s critical to do it ahead of time. 

The reason for this is that it’s really difficult to keep up with nursing school studies because there’s a lot of material to cover and time flies. 

Some of the information you’ll learn will be simpler to grasp than others, which is fine. The most crucial component of preparing for a lecture is to teach your brain how to lay the proper foundation for learning. You build on what you know, even if you don’t grasp everything.


Consider creating concept maps. 

Concept maps are a fun and quick way to study for nursing school instead of the traditional method of taking notes, which involves marking material and rewriting pages of notes. 

A concept map is a visual representation of knowledge about a subject that aids in the organization of your thinking on that subject. It’s not only a lot easier, but it’s also a more efficient manner to comprehend the information (rather than memorizing it). 

Begin with the topic you wish to learn about and expand on what you’ve learned so far. Then, using your notes, movies, or other resources, complete the map and receive a complete view of the subject.

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Achieve your learning goals 

This is something that many students overlook, and it is something that you should not do. Paying attention to your learning objectives (LOs) as you come across them is a smart method to study in nursing school. 

Although they appear to be nothing more than a list, LOs serve as a study guide because they describe exactly what you should be able to perform or discuss after properly learning about them. This is an excellent guide to follow, especially if you have a lot of stuff and aren’t sure where to begin.


Find a study partner. 

Finding a study partner, whether it’s a buddy, a tutor, or joining a study group to keep you linked is another recommendation on how to study for nursing school better. 

The nice part about study groups is that you may hear diverse points of view while debating a subject. You may improve your critical thinking skills by actively listening to how other people think and apply knowledge. Because you’ll be taking several tests and answering various types of questions in nursing school, this is a vital skill to have.


Discover your preferred method of learning. 

Everyone learns differently: some students prefer to learn visually (which Osmosis makes simple with 1800+ animated movies! ), while others prefer to learn through lectures or hands-on activities. 

To understand your learning style and uncover materials that represent it as primary learning aids, try a little self-reflection. The sooner you figure out how you learn best, the easier it is to study and avoid wasting time in the incorrect places.



Of course, during nursing school, it’s also about practicing NCLEX®-style questions. It tests not only your ability to apply all of your newfound information, but also your ability to think critically and analyze data in a variety of ways. 

Because NCLEX®-style questions are unlike any other type of question you’ve seen before, practicing them helps to reinforce your comprehension of a concept while also preparing you for the final exam: the licensure examination.

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Don’t overlook the fundamentals

Understanding the fundamentals is the most important place to start when studying. All of the knowledge you learn in nursing school is founded on core sciences like anatomy and physiology, and it’s also what makes studying more difficult topics along the way much easier.


The Most Common Reasons Students Fail To Graduate From Nursing School 

Unfortunately, not every student who enrolls in nursing school completes the program. Getting through nursing school is difficult, and I’ve compiled a list of six typical reasons why students fail to graduate. 


Nursing isn’t their thing. 

Nursing is a job that people pick for a variety of reasons. Some people enjoy the flexibility of the profession, while others know nurses and wish to follow in their footsteps. There is no right or wrong reason to choose a career in nursing. Even so, some people choose careers based on recommendations from friends, family, or even the media, rather than having a thorough understanding of the field and its duties. As a result, some people enroll in nursing school with the intention of becoming a nurse but soon find they are not cut out for it.

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Ineffective time management 

To be successful in nursing school, you must be able to manage your time effectively. Clinical and in-class learning, quizzes, and projects are just a few of the aspects of nursing school. Home duties, employment, and social activities are frequently balanced. It is possible to fail a nursing class or even a program if you do not manage your time properly.


Studying insufficiently or not dedicating enough time to study 

Nursing school is challenging, and you must study! Many individuals misunderstand how much studying is required to succeed in nursing school—the quantity of study required has been equated to working a part-time job or more. As a result, it’s critical to have realistic expectations about how much time you’ll need to devote to studying. Due to full-time work, family duties, or other commitments, some people are unable to devote sufficient time to learning.


Lack of Support and Stress 

Nursing education can be demanding, and stress can contribute to a nursing course or program failure. Study groups, friends, family, and even your professors can all be helpful if you have solid support networks in place.


When you don’t ask for help right away, you’re setting yourself up for failure 

You must seek assistance if you do not understand a topic or begin to lag behind. If you delay seeking assistance, especially when you don’t comprehend a concept, you risk falling farther behind, performing poorly on examinations or quizzes, or becoming discouraged and wanting to give up. Instructors provide office hours during which you can ask them questions and they can also refer you to other resources that may assist you in passing your nursing course.


You’ve fallen behind in your studies

Falling behind might result in missed assignments or a lack of knowledge of the material. Regardless, it is impossible to catch up in many nursing courses once you fall behind, which can lead to failure of the course or nursing school. Time management is essential to avoid this! You should also speak with your instructor early on and request assistance if you start to fall behind.

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How Do I Get Through Nursing School? 

Nursing education, as previously stated, is rigorous since it trains you to become a nurse and provide direct patient care. But, if this is the case, you may be wondering how to pass nursing school. Passing nursing school is, nevertheless, extremely doable, and I’ve offered 28 recommendations below, in no particular sequence, to make it easier for you to graduate nursing school.


Organizing your time 

Inorder to succeed in nursing school, you need to manage your time well. This isn’t easy for many people, but time management is essential for success. Nursing school is demanding, and it necessitates juggling school, work, and other obligations. School is demanding enough because you have lectures and clinical hours, but when you add in study time, work, and downtime, it’s easy to see how difficult it can be to get everything done. Many nursing students, including myself, have found that purchasing a planner and writing everything out for the week—blocking out time every day to study, rest, work, exercise, and so on—has proven to be an excellent strategy to better manage time in school. You’ll have a plan in place for each week this way.

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Organize Yourself 

Another recommendation for passing nursing school is to get organized—which, in my opinion, goes hand in hand with time management. Getting organized means planning out your day, week, and month, as well as organizing your classes, which includes your notes, study guides, and other materials. This will make it easier to travel to class or study, and it will make your study sessions go more smoothly, allowing you to use your time more strategically and accomplish more in less time. It will also give you a sense of control, which many nursing students believe they lose in school.


Make use of mnemonics 

Mnemonics are a useful strategy that many nurses employ to help them excel in nursing school. Mnemonics are a sequence of letters or phrases that might assist a nurse recall information. ADPIE (assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation) is a commonly used mnemonic for remembering the nursing care plan. Another mnemonic is MOAN (morphine, oxygen, aspirin, and nitrates), which is used to recall how to treat someone who is having a heart attack. 


There are a variety of mnemonics accessible, and they’re not only useful for passing nursing school, but they’re also useful in everyday life to assist retain knowledge. In my own experience, I frequently employ precise mnemonics to ensure that appropriate care is delivered.

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Study Daily 

Another suggestion for succeeding in nursing school and passing nursing school examinations is to study a little every day. Reading, studying for an approaching exam, practice problems, assignments, and so on are all examples of this. You’re more likely to stay on track in your classes and avoid falling behind if you do a little bit every day. You’ll be less inclined to cram for tests, feel overwhelmed by the amount of homework and studying required, and have a better school-life balance as a result.


Practice Questions in Depth 

Completing practice questions is another way to pass nursing school. Nursing students’ best friend is practice questions! They enable students to put what they’ve learned into practice and pinpoint areas of weakness or uncertainty. Once you’ve identified your areas of weakness, go back to your books, notes, or other resources to better understand and solidify the topic. Just because you did well on the questions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go over the material again in preparation for future tests or job prospects. It simply means that you don’t need to put as much emphasis on your areas of weakness. These questions may originate with your instructor or textbook, but you can also discover them in other internet venues.


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