Starting Nursing School: 3 Essential Tips for Success

Starting the journey of nursing school can be both exciting and challenging. The road ahead is filled with new knowledge, practical skills, and the development of critical thinking abilities. To help you be best prepared, we came up with our top three essential tips to succeed in nursing school.  

1. Create & Master Your Study Schedule

Creating a well-structured study schedule is paramount to managing the academic demands of nursing school. Start by breaking down the content for each exam into manageable segments. Allocate dedicated time for notetaking, note studying, and practice tests. Begin with comprehensive notetaking during lectures, ensuring you capture key concepts, medical terminologies, and nursing procedures.

Subsequently, engage in thorough note studying. This involves revisiting your notes, textbooks, and supplementary resources to reinforce your understanding. Connect concepts, draw diagrams, and ask questions to deepen your grasp of the material. Finally, integrate practice tests into your schedule to assess your knowledge and identify weak points. These practice tests simulate exam conditions and aid in time management, boosting your confidence for the real assessment. We highly suggest investing in a practice test bank that allows you to categorize the questions that are pertinent to your upcoming exam! 

2. Embrace the Study-Apply Method for Improved Test-Taking & Critical Thinking

Nursing is as much about practical application as it is about theoretical knowledge. To enhance your critical thinking skills, adopt the study and apply method. After studying content from lectures, immediately immerse yourself in nursing scenarios that require the application of that knowledge. This could involve analyzing patient cases, taking practice tests, immersing into simulation learning, and devising appropriate care plans.

By confronting real-world scenarios, you'll refine your ability to think critically and make informed decisions under pressure. This approach bridges the gap between theory and practice, fostering a holistic understanding of nursing concepts. This of course will ultimately improve your test scores because you will be prioritizing knowledge application and NOT memorization. Nursing tests are very rarely memorization. In fact, most questions are scenarios that are testing your ability to apply that knowledge you learned in lecture. So, using the Study-Apply method in repetition will get you to the place you need to be successful for your exams! 

3. Tailor Your Approach to Your Learning Style

Yes, we have heard this many times before. However, it is still not fully considered and can create major struggles and frustrations! Understanding your unique learning style is a key aspect of efficient studying. If you are a visual learner we know that you benefit from seeing your content in action- videos, diagrams, etc. However, what specific activities help you not just retain content, but apply your understood knowledge? For visual learners, that can be activities such as flashcards, interactive case scenarios with Q/As, and creating nursing "mind-maps." 

Auditory learners thrive by incorporating audio elements into their study routine. If allowed, record lectures and revisit them as if they were podcasts. Taking notes during playback to reinforce your understanding is an extra benefit to auditory learners even if you typically haven't before. Another great activity is having a study partner provide nursing scenarios through discussion to help you apply the nursing content collected in lecture. 

For kinesthetic learners who learn best through hands-on experiences, prioritize activities like writing notes by hand. Additionally, if possible, seek out opportunities for simulation learning at your institutions lab space. Engaging in realistic medical scenarios sharpens your practical skills and boosts your confidence in real clinical situations. 

In conclusion, succeeding in nursing school demands a strategic approach to studying, a focus on critical thinking, and an awareness of your learning style. By creating a structured study schedule, applying knowledge to practical scenarios, and tailoring your methods to your learning preferences, you'll not only conquer the challenges of nursing school but also lay a solid foundation for a successful nursing career.

As you know, Tactile VR believes nurses deserve better when it pertains to educational opportunity and educational tools that support you along the way. That is why Tactile VR created the Courseta VR annual membership that provides access to on-demand Virtual Reality (VR) clinical experiences to optimize your ability to apply your knowledge in lectures and improve your critical thinking skills. Along with this membership, gives you access to the private Facebook group page that gives students the opportunities to ask questions and receive supportive materials to help you succeed in nursing school. If you want to learn more about Courseta VR, visit here: Courseta VR Membership


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