Finals are near and it’s almost impossible not to think ahead to this dreadful time of year.
I did not figure out how to efficiently study for nursing tests until my junior year of college. I have kept track of what works when it comes to my studies, and I’ve also talked to fellow nursing students on this topic.
Try these tips to calm your fears and prepare your best for final exams.
Put together a study group
I was always one to study on my own in my freshman and sophomore years. I used to sit and memorize index card after index card.
Although there are many facts that you must memorize in nursing school, there are even more topics you must be able to understand and apply to real-life situations. By studying in a group, members can test each other’s understanding of certain topics while also making sure everyone knows the hard facts about the topic. If you cannot explain it out loud, such as in a group session, you most likely do not fully understand it.
Organize your notes
Some teachers give PowerPoint presentations, while others lecture for three hours straight as you’re struggling to write down every single word that comes out of their mouths.
Either way, it is important to organize your notes. I like to rewrite all of my notes because I cannot study from a PowerPoint. If you have a teacher who lectures and does not provide you with notes, ask if you can record the class. That will allow you to go home and listen to the recording to fill in anything you may have missed in class.
If you cannot record the class, it is a good idea to compare notes with a friend and fill in your notes with anything you may have missed. It is also helpful to pull information from the textbook and add that to your notes.
Do not cram
Most of what we learn in nursing school is heavy information, and it’s not information you can start studying the night before a test.
If you study the night before, you most likely will not remember that information once you finish your test. This will only hurt you when studying for finals. Start studying at least one week before your exam. Make sure you start studying far enough in advance so you can get a good night’s sleep the night before the test.
Do practice questions
Doing practice questions after studying materials helps me know where I need to devote more time.
Practice questions make you apply what you have learned. In my school, many questions on the nursing tests involve applying information, not just memorizing a fact and being able to spit it back out. Most textbooks have practice questions at the end of the chapters and some even come with a code for extra practice questions. There are also many books online that you can order, if you want even more practice.
Ask for help when needed
Do not be scared to ask an upperclassman for help or advice. We have all been in your shoes, and most of us would be happy to help.
If an older student had a professor in the past that you currently have, ask about the best way to study for that test. You can also ask for any notes that others are willing to pass down. Some upperclassmen are more willing to help than others, so do not be scared to ask around.
Good luck on those finals!
Do you have any tips that have helped you study for finals? Please share them in the comments section below.