5 Nursing School Study Tips

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stethoscope sitting next to books

Nursing school prepares you to enter the healthcare field as a confident nurse. Before you get there, though, you’ll have a lot to learn — and quickly. The University of St. Thomas Houston accelerated nursing program offers a comprehensive curriculum that combines coursework with in-person labs and clinicals. But in order to be successful, you’ll need to study efficiently. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry — here are the five nursing school study tips you need to know.

1. Understand Your Learning Preferences

Before you start considering how to study in nursing school, you’ll need to know some key information about yourself. In order to understand and digest material in an effective way, you’ll need to understand how you learn best.

Whether you are an auditory learner, a visual learner or a kinesthetic learner — the University of St. Thomas Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, also known as ABSN@UST, has something to offer. We incorporate videos, lecture and hands-on scenarios into our program to suit every type of learner. However, when it comes to studying on your own, there are some great resources you can seek out to help you study efficiently.

Visual learners may find that searching YouTube for videos about their course subject matter helps them supplement their lessons. Auditory learners might find it beneficial to listen to nursing podcasts. For kinesthetic learners, using a model or puzzle may help them retain information more efficiently.

Remember, there is no “right” way to learn, but there is a way that may work best for you, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the most helpful approach.

If you’re not sure what learning preferences you may have, it’s worthwhile to take the VARK questionnaire to find out. This quick online quiz is free and will help you gain insight into how you’ll study best.

2. Plan Your Study Time

Once you know how you’ll study, it’s important to plan when you’ll study. Invest in a planner or app, or create a spreadsheet to track your blocks of study time. Ensure that you stick to the schedule you set for yourself, and plan to study for three to four hours each day or more, depending on your learning needs. Planning when you’ll study will help you stay organized and prevent you from leaving anything to the last minute.

University of St. Thomas nursing student using computer

3. Avoid Cramming for Nursing Exams

Speaking of the last minute — avoid cramming for any nursing exams or tests. Being proactive in your approach to studying will relieve stress and prepare you to perform better on the exam. Setting yourself up for success in nursing school involves careful planning and time management.

One exam you absolutely cannot cram for is the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN). This is the exam you’ll take to earn your nursing licensure. The exam involves answering a minimum of 60 questions and a maximum of 145 questions. The questions come in a variety of formats, including multiple choice, true or false, matching and more. The test covers myriad nursing topics. The best way to prepare is to study consistently starting about two months before the exam.

4. Study with Your Peers

While it is a worthwhile and rewarding endeavor, nursing school is rigorous. During your time in the ABSN program, you may experience stress because you’ll be learning new concepts and pushing yourself to new levels. While people who have never been to nursing school may not always be able to empathize with your experience, your classmates will understand exactly how you feel.

Your cohort will be going through the same classes you are. They’ll be a great source of support and camaraderie. Because they’re taking the same classes as you, they may be able to help you break down course material and understand it better. Furthermore, you might be able to help a peer with a concept they don’t understand, and you’ll retain it even better after teaching it. Creating a study group with your cohort is a win-win for everyone!

5. Take a Break When You Need One

While it’s crucial to study in order to be successful, the last of our study tips for nursing students is to take a break! Over the course of our 12-month program, you’ll be learning a lot in a short time.

If you’re studying and feel like you need a break, it can be more productive to step back and take a breather rather than try to push through. Go for a walk, grab a healthy snack or get out and explore Houston for a while. Giving yourself a break and some self-care can help you come back to studying feeling invigorated and ready to learn.

You Can Earn a BSN in as Few as 12 Months

An ABSN program like ABSN@UST helps you receive a quality, in-demand degree — and it helps you start your new nursing career sooner. If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and meet our other academic requirements, you may qualify to apply to ABSN@UST.

UST nursing students studying at table with binders

Find out if you’re a good fit for our program by contacting one of our dedicated admissions counselors, who will help you take the next steps toward earning a BSN through the program. Spots are available now!