How to Succeed in Nursing School

7 Ways to succeed in nursing school - student using laptop

The demand for nurses is high and seems to keep getting higher. We know you’re ready to start a career in nursing and we want to help you reach your goals and navigate nursing school successfully.

From going through the application and admissions processes to being prepared and studying smart, here are seven ways to succeed in nursing school.

Talking with our admissions team will help you get the ball rolling. They’ll help you figure out which ABSN prerequisite courses you may need to complete to enroll in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at the University of St. Thomas Houston.

They can review your academic history and unofficial transcripts with you and help you develop a plan for completing these courses in time for your target start date in our program.

1. Speak to an Admissions Counselor

Along with helping you determine which prerequisites you may need to take, our admissions counselors are here to offer you support.

Once they determine you meet our Accelerated BSN admissions requirements, a member of our admissions team will help you apply for your target start date in either August, January or May.

They’re also available to answer any questions you may have about our program and getting into nursing school.

2. Complete Your Prerequisites

When applying to nursing school, the best way to get ahead is to be prepared.

This starts early in the application process, where we will work with you to see which prerequisite courses you may need to take to be ready to start your journey toward becoming a nurse.

Make sure to take your prerequisites through the University of St. Thomas so you can get a feel for how our online platform works and be ahead of the game when you start the program.

nursing student standing in front of blackboard

3. Know Your Learning Preferences

Our 12-month program is intensive, so knowing how you learn best will give you a leg up. What works for others to retain information may not work for you and understanding that before you get into the weeds will certainly pay off in the long run.

Everyone learns in their own way, and you probably have a good idea of your own learning preferences from your first degree.

Here are some quick tips on studying for different learning preferences:

  • If you like to process information through visual representations, color coding your notes or using highlighters might drive home concepts for you.
  • If you learn best by talking through concepts and ideas, a study group could be beneficial.
  • If you are an auditory learner, YouTube lectures or nursing podcasts could be a good resource to supplement your studies. Plus you can fit those in on the go!

Other tricks, like using mnemonic devices can help you remember information. One example of this that you may already know is ROY G BIV- a mnemonic device for remembering the colors of the rainbow. Each letter stands for a color: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. You can use this trick to represent terms and concepts in the nursing curriculum as well. Tools like this give you a creative way to digest the material, rather than taking standard notes or trying to memorize the information.

By understanding your learning preferences and getting creative, you are more likely to retain that knowledge.

Regardless of how you learn, perhaps the biggest skill to have to be successful in nursing school is learning to manage your time well.

4. Manage Your Time Well

Nursing school will prep you for a career that demands acting with urgency, wearing multiple hats and approaching tough situations with a can-do attitude.

Managing time for your assignments, tests, quizzes and coursework will be the key to your success in the program, and will help you prepare for the NCLEX exam, which we will discuss later in this article.

three students writing on a chalkboard

Not only are these skills critical for nursing school, but they also come in handy in everyday life, so why not start practicing now?

You can start by using a planner to mark important dates and deadlines, setting alarms or reminders on your phone, or by taking time to plan your week around other commitments.

Don’t forget to pencil in time for YOU. Assignments, tests and studying are important, but scheduling time for self-care will help you manage stress and avoid burnout.

5. Schedule Self-Care

Self-care can include a lot of different things. It can be as simple as taking a walk or as complex as using positive self-talk and practicing yoga.

The important thing is that you listen to your body and do something that refocuses you. Other ways to practice self-care include listening to music, eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep.

For more tips and resources, check out the American Psychiatric Nurses Association guide to self-care.

These practices will be helpful when you begin preparing for the NCLEX exam, which you must pass in order to practice as a registered nurse.

6. Be Ready for the NCLEX

With the right amount of effort, passing the NCLEX is within reach if you take the test seriously. Earning straight As or a 4.0 GPA in nursing school does not guarantee a passing score.

To be successful, plan at least 1–2 months of targeted studying for the test.

The NCLEX is not a test you can cram for; you must make a plan and follow through to be successful.

That’s because the NCLEX is no ordinary test. Like many tests, the NCLEX is multi-choice; however, what makes it different is that many questions include multiple correct answers, meaning that you must choose the answer that is the most correct.

This requires a different type of thinking. Luckily, our Accelerated BSN program utilizes NCLEX-style quizzes and tests to help you be as ready as possible.

Here are a couple tips on making the process easier:

  • Schedule study days. Make a plan for which days you want to dedicate to test prep. Plan out days to take practice exams, too.
  • Establish goals. Set realistic goals to help mark your progress and keep you on track. This can be completing a certain number of practice questions, mastering a concept or achieving a high score on a practice quiz.
UST nursing students studying at table with binders

7. Use Your Resources

Our second-degree program at [email protected] focuses on student success from the moment you begin the admissions process.

Your admissions counselor is there to help you create an academic plan that sets you up to succeed on a timeline that works best for you.

Once you’re admitted, you can count on our nursing faculty and clinical instructors being available online, over the phone and in-person if you’re ever struggling with a course concept or specific nursing situation, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Our academic success coaches can also help you get set up with study resources or offer strategies for finding a healthy school-life balance.

Make a Bold Call for Your Future

Knowing what you need to do to be prepared for nursing school can give you a head start in choosing the best nursing program for you.

The admissions counselors at [email protected] are here to answer any questions you may have about our 12-month second-degree ABSN program. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you start your nursing journey.