From coursework to school-life-work balance, the life of a nursing student is busy. Sure, not everything you cover in class is tested on the NCLEXⓇⓇ, but when you combine studying for class with NCLEX prep, you’ll feel more confident on testing day. Nurse Mimi, BSN, RN shares tried-and-true habits for building success in nursing school into passing the NCLEX on your first try.
And after, she shared additional tips during Q&A.
Looking for a summary of Nurse Mimi’s habits? Here they are…
5 Essential Habits for Success in Nursing School
HABIT #1: Set a Study Schedule
Study in a QUIET, dedicated space. Remove distractions and turn off all social media and screens
🔥 Hot Tip: Keep a PostIt pad close for any ideas or random thoughts that pop into your mind.
🔥🔥 Even Hotter Tip: Use different colored highlighters:
- One color for what you already know
- One color for what your instructor said you needed to know or will be tested on
- One color for what you need to review later.
Study at 30 minutes to 1-hour increments, no longer. Your brain actually shuts off around 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure you take 15-20 minutes breaks every hour.
HABIT #2: Study Smarter, Not Harder
Use your course syllabus to STAY AHEAD OF THE GAME—read the material, watch the Picmonic(s) covering the topic(s), take the quiz, and then attend the lectures.
Nobody’s brain does well with cramming. It’s like a filing cabinet, you cannot cram large amounts of information the night before—that’s like jamming all your office files together.
Block time to study daily. Have you ever noticed nursing students carry their books everywhere? It’s because they’re constantly studying. This is all new material. New material is easier to master, as you learn it. They study EVERY DAY. Even if it’s just 20 minutes of Picmonic or a Question Bank of 25 questions or Medication flashcards.
Now, about the NCLEX… it’s terribly ineffective to wait until after your graduation and have to cram for the NCLEX. Matter of fact, you cannot CRAM for the NCLEX! You need to study for at least 4-6 weeks leading up to the NCLEX. And, Picmonic made studying easy with the 4 Weeks to NCLEX Workbook & Study Planner.
No matter where you are in your nursing journey — your first day, a week before the NCLEX, or practicing in the field — there will be times you can use a little help. Like a shortcut. Or a tiny cheat…if you will. And while we don’t encourage cheating, we’ve created Picmonic, our content, and our companion tools, like nursing cheat sheets, to make learning complex nursing topics so easy, it can FEEL like you’re cheating.
Try Critical Clinicals before you buy with a FREE digital download, click here.
HABIT #3: It’s Never Too Early to Start Thinking Like the NCLEX
There’s a difference between nursing school and NCLEX-style questions. Nursing school tests on everything and gives you the foundation of knowledge, but the NCLEX is testing safety and competency. The NCLEX focuses on PRIORITY and BEST questions – and yes, there is a difference. This is a new way of thinking and when you start exercising this early, you create muscle memory.
Adding a regular Question Bank practice to your study routine can help develop this. There are many free resources such as Nurse Labs you can use for NCLEX-style questions to help prepare you for the NCLEX.
Also, it’s NOT ABOUT THE QUANTITY BUT THE QUALITY of the questions you’re doing. You cannot just click through an infinite number of questions. You need to actually read the rationales and understand where you are going wrong in the questions.
HABIT #4: Ask Questions—Lots of Questions
Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help or don’t understand a concept. And, as a nurse, you will need to ask patients questions every day, so it is best to get in the habit now.
Professors and Instructors have open office times, USE THIS RESOURCE! And, don’t wait until you’re failing or on the border. Check-in with your professors and instructors any time you feel as if you’re struggling with a concept or topic.
Try tutoring. There are really great, competent nursing tutors out there who can also assist.
HABIT #5: MOST IMPORTANTLY – Practice Self Care
Take breaks. Take walks. Just take care of yourself. It’s important to learn how to take care of yourself and de-stress now before you become a nurse.
Nursing School Resources: At the Click of a Mouse 🖱️
- How to Prepare for the First Semester of a Nursing Program in 2021
- Electrolyte Imbalances: Everything You Need to Know in 2021
- What is ADPIE & The Nursing Process? [Updated for 2021]
- 5 Tips from Students for School Success in 2021
- What I Wish I Knew Before Nursing School
- The Best Nursing Study Resources and Printables at Your Fingertips in 2021
- Top Nursing Student Resources & Channels for 2021
- Nursing School Myths You Can Totally Ignore [Updated for 2021]
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