Whether you’re in a bachelor’s or associate’s program for nursing, one thing is inevitable: lots of tests. You’ll be taking classes on everything from microbiology to leadership management; this huge range of material can feel especially intimidating during finals week when you’ll be tested on all of it.
Luckily, over 100,000 nursing majors graduate every year. That means there are a ton of resources and methods that can help you get across the finish line every semester. So whether you’re studying for your last round of finals before graduating or stressing over your first ever nursing exam, these nursing school study helps can prepare you for whatever lies ahead.
Nursing School Study Helps: Resources
- Tutoring/Office Hours
Utilizing tutoring and office hours are two of the most obvious ways to find success with testing and two of the most overlooked and underutilized.
Always take advantage of your professor’s office hours if you can. After all, this is the person who puts the test together, and there’s a good chance that they can let you in on some hints about it. Likewise, working with a tutor or TA will give you a direct line to someone who’s already been through the material and who can help clarify any misunderstandings or lingering questions you have.
- College Learning Guides
Many colleges publish online learning materials on their websites. Though your professors are instrumental in putting tests together, they're also required to cover certain concepts in their classes — concepts that are often outlined in these learning guides.
For instance, Rasmussen College has its School of Nursing Library and Learning Services Guide, which contains some great resources for both active students and recent graduates about to tackle the NCLEX. Check to see if your school has a similar guide.
Few students make it through college without some help from YouTube videos, and nursing majors are no exception; there are a few amazing channels that can help you nail core concepts from whatever test you’re about to take.
With nearly 900 videos, RegisteredNurseRN has an enormous library of material covering most core nursing concepts that you might be tested on. Simple Nursing has a similarly huge selection.
While all the other resources on this list are free, we made an exception for Cece’s Study Guide. These nursing study guides handle everything from broad-based nursing fundamentals to niche subjects.
The guide does an excellent job breaking down these concepts into readable and memorable notes. Prices vary depending on the amount of material covered in your particular guide.
- Your Classmates
Your classmates and coworkers are another overlooked and underutilized resource. Keep in mind that your classmates are in the same boat as you. Studying doesn't always have to be a solitary activity: You can always find someone who was in class the day you missed or who aced the quiz you struggled with.
Nursing School Study Helps: Methods
- Find Your Study Spot
Securing a spot that’s quiet and isolated and that has a strong internet connection should always be at the top of your priority list when you have a large test on the horizon.
Keep in mind that plenty of other students are also looking for spots that fit that description. Study rooms tend to fill up around finals week, so try to find a couple of alternate spots that can work in case someone’s already taken your favorite one.
- Prep Your Flashcards
Flashcards: the tried-and-true study hacks that have been hauling students across the finish line for decades. You can make your own from scratch or create a set online using free software like Quizlet.
Quizlet also lets you pull from other users’ flashcards and study sets, meaning you can jump right in if you're getting started last-minute.
- Snacks and Refreshments
A high-level chess player can burn 6,000 calories over the course of a tournament. While you aren’t stressing or working out your brain quite that much, studying is hard and exhausting and should be supplemented with healthy food and lots of water.
Aim for energy-dense foods like fruit and granola, and stick to plain water or something electrolyte-rich like Gatorade. Coffee can be a good stimulant as well — just don't overdo it, or you’ll be twitching your way through the rest of the session.
- Label and Organize Your Textbooks
This method is best done before you start studying. Use sticky notes to mark notable sections so you can quickly flip between them while digging into a serious study session.
At times, your professor will mention a specific fact that will be showing up on the test — or something that is an otherwise important concept. Make sure you mark these for future reference as well.
- Slow and Steady Wins the Race
For all its cultural relevance, cramming doesn’t work. The pervasive myth that you can shovel loads of information into your brain a day or two before the big test is just that: a myth.
Rather than cramming, try to set aside small windows of time — just forty minutes to an hour is fine — to dig into your material every day for a couple of weeks ahead of the test. By the time the test rolls around, you’ll be ready!
Passing the Next One
Only a special kind of person can become a nurse. This job takes dedication, compassion, and an internal strength that few of us possess. There is no easy step in the nurse’s journey, including nursing school.
Still, there are ways you can make your journey through the classroom a little smoother, and this list is a good start. By using some (or all) of the above nursing school study helps, you can give yourself a better chance of excelling at your next test. And with each test you take — with each class you pass — you take one step closer to saving lives and helping others.
At Nursa, we’re committed to providing nursing students with actionable and helpful advice for getting through school and into their future careers. For related content, take a look at our per diem nursing blog.