The chapter objectives were put there for a reason. They indicate what is important in the reading. The quizzes at the end of chapters offer you a chance to practice your test taking skills and test your own knowledge.
The most effective way to study is to know how you learn best. However, most of us learn in more than one way. For example, you may be more of an auditory learner, or a visual learner. You may learn better by creating rhymes, poems, or silly sayings to help you remember key facts.
Whatever has worked in other courses may or may not work for you in nursing courses. Still you must find a system that works for you and stick with it!  
Students often find it helpful to follow these guidelines:
  1. Identify a specific study place (seated at a desk) with adequate lighting, and with no distractions or interruptions.
  2. Schedule study times and stick to the schedule as much as possible. Cramming never works.
  3. Avoid marathon study sessions, as these will only make you tired and forgetful. You need to take a stretch break during studying about every hour to move your muscles and refresh your mind.
  4. Focus on what you are reading instead of letting other thoughts enter your mind. Don't think about the cleaning or housework while you are studying.
  5. Nursing courses build on each other. thus, you cannot isolate and forget material you learned from previous courses.
  6. Prepare for class by reading the chapters. When you have read the chapter, you will be able to pay more attention to key facts the instructor is pointing out.
  7. Attend all classes and take notes or highlight in the book.
  8. Sit as close to the front of the class as possible. Studies have shown that those who sit near the front are less distracted, learn more, and make better grades.
  9. Pay attention to what is being said instead of letting your mind think about home or work life.
  10. During class breaks, stand up and refresh your body and mind with movement...get the O2 flowing.
  11. After class, review your notes as soon as possible and compare them to the textbook again.
  12. Tape record your notes and/or outlines so you can hear the information over and over when you are traveling in your car. Just as a musical phrase or advertisement repeated over and over sticks with us, so will your information.
  13. Use your study guide provided with the textbook to take practice tests. Avoid looking at the answers before giving it a good try first.
  14. Studying for an exam begins as soon as new content is introduced.
  15. Get a good nights sleep the night before the test and do not take medications to keep you awake. These will only interfere with your sleep rest cycles and cause you to become sleep deprived and forgetful. Smoking affects your reasoning power, and stimulants make you lose concentration.
  16. The day of the exam, get up in time so you will not feel rushed.
  17. Eat before the exam and leave early enough to allow for traffic or car problems. Being late for an exam can significantly affect your test results.
  18. Do not let negative thinking people affect your thoughts before or after an exam or about studying. Instead, leave them to their own misery and do some positive self-talk.
  19. Take care when reading the exam questions. Underline key words (first, most important, etc.)
  20. Examine each possible answer and determine whether it best completes the stem.
  21. Avoid jumping on an answer because of one word in an answer that looks familiar, but may be your favorite topic.
  22. Even if you do not particularly like the teacher who wrote the test, answer as the teacher would. Try to listen for the teacher's voice in your head as you read the items.
  23. Do not change answers.
  24. Do not cheat or let other students cheat off of you. This is unfair to patients in the long run. People who cheat lack knowledge, but may be the very person taking care of you someday.
  25. Be aware of post-exam autopsy...focusing on items you may have missed and knowing you failed the exam. Instead, leave ... go home or to the next class and later treat yourself to something fun. Avoid beating yourself up over the exam.
  26. If you think you did poorly on the exam, don't blame others or make excuses for yourself. Instead vow to improve.

Myths and facts about testing

Copyright © Dr. Tess Pape 2004-2005 All rights reserved