A nursing program can be rigorous and the academic courses required challenging; however, you can improve your classroom performance by developing organized study habits. Nursing students are not only required to maintain a certain grade point average, but also they must prepare for a nursing career by demonstrating the ability to perform under difficult situations, show commonsense, and think for themselves. These same qualities can be helpful when applied to a nursing student's study techniques.
Study in a quiet area away from noise and distractions. Nursing students need to study in a place where they can concentrate and will not be interrupted. Choose a regular place where you can study, and do just that---study. You may also find it helpful to make a note of all tests, projects and deadlines in a personal planner.
Use large index cards to make a file of the most common medical conditions and diseases, particularly chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and asthma. List each disease on a card, along with its symptoms, causes, diagnostic tests, and treatments. Not only will this help you study, but also you will have a convenient reference for future use.
Summarize any notes that you take in class. If you tape class lectures, listen to them again, go back through your notes, and make changes. It isn't unusual to miss essential information the first time through.
Participate in a study group so that you and some of your classmates can review notes together. Other students may catch information in a lecture that you missed. Assign each member of the group a chapter to review, and then develop study questions about key points for the others in the group. Quiz each other about the subject matter you are studying.
Ask yourself questions on audiotape as a way to review the lessons in each chapter. Tape your answers and then play back the tape. Use this method to test yourself on the material you need to learn, especially when preparing for exams. Listen to the tape as many times as it takes to remember the material. Keep in mind that repetition helps to reinforce what you learn.
Use software programs designed to create templates of nursing care plans and patient assessments to give you practice completing many of the standard forms of documentation required in the practice of nursing.
Refer to NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) review materials as a study guide. Focus on studying questions relating to the current week's lessons. These materials can be a valuable resource throughout the course.