How to Be a Nursing School Ninja: 5 Note Taking Secrets

How to Be a Nursing School Ninja - 5 NotesEveryone in nursing school wants to pass their classes, graduate and then ace the NCLEX®. But you want to do better than that. You want to be a Nursing School Ninja. That means you have to learn strategies for how to study. (We swear it’ll be more interesting than you think!)

We’ve devised a plan of attack below to turn you into the best nursing ninja ever! No need to cram! Over the course of this three-part blog series, we’ll teach you the techniques for how to take notes like a Ninja, how to study like a Ninja and how to test like a Ninja! Hint: It includes study strategies like mnemonics, flashcards, visual study guides, and… games?? Sure. Games can be study aids, too.

Are You Ready to Take Notes Like a Ninja?

Before you can study like a Ninja and ace your tests like a Ninja, you have to learn how to take notes like a Ninja. There are 5 little-known note taking secrets to consider.

1. Typed or Handwritten

Some students prefer to type their notes; others prefer to handwrite them. A few things to consider include:

  • • Can I type fast enough to keep up with lecturers?
  • • Can I write fast enough to keep up with lecturers?
  • • Will I absorb the material as well if I’m typing it?
  • • What if I want to draw something? How will I do that on my computer?

Questions like those should help you decide which style is best for you. Just remember, if you choose typing, be sure to back up your notes!


2. Prep Ahead of Time

Most teachers who use PowerPoint presentations will send them out in advance. Determine whether you’ll print them off and take notes by hand or whether you’ll type your notes. Will you type them directly into the Note section of the PowerPoint or will you have a separate doc for notes? Decide this all beforehand, so you’re not scrambling at the beginning of class.

3. Reword the Lecture

As you’re taking notes or making lecture-based study cards, it will help you to retain the information if you reword it, rather than copying it verbatim. It’s also a good self-test. If you can reword what the teacher is saying, it means you have a good grasp of the information. Want to know another way to retain information? Use Picmonic’s visual mnemonic study guides and remember to take our Daily Quiz. What’s more ninja-like than having the memory retention of a computer? Maybe having the memory retention of a computer while wearing a catsuit? We will leave that last part up to you.


4. Record the Speedster

If you have an instructor who speeds through the material faster than you can type or write and absorb, use the technology so readily available to us and record the lecture on your smart-phone. Yup. There’s an app for that. Don’t try to cram it on paper. It won’t stay in your head that way. Sit back and listen to the lecture live and then later, take notes or make lecture-based cards while listening to the recording. There are a bunch of very useful voice recording apps, but we like iTalk Recorder for iOS or Smart Voice Recorder for Android. Just make sure you have enough space in your phone memory to accommodate a long lecture.


5. Take a Hint

Teachers may say something like, “This will be on the exam,” or “This is usually a NCLEX® test question.” For Pete’s sake, write those down immediately and star, highlight, or mark as important and maybe even make it a flashcard as an exam study aid you can look over later. Sometimes the hints are as obvious, so pay attention for material teachers cover more than once or that they seem to give extra attention to. Then, create a Picmonic playlist for yourself with those topics so you know what’s most important to review!

Marlee Liberman

Marlee Liberman, RN, Master Nursing Scholar

As a registered nurse, Marlee understands the struggles that nursing school throws at you – not to mention the overwhelming pressure preparing for the NCLEX®! Marlee brings a unique skill set and perspective to Picmonic with her previous degree in broadcast journalism, her creativity in video production, and her wandering nomad lifestyle. Her blend of talents provides her with the knack for simplifying complicated concepts and demystifying the world of nursing.

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