5 Essential Tips for Starting Nursing School Like a Boss

Recent nursing school grad Leslie Jackson recently took a few moments away from her emergency room residency to share her secrets tips for starting nursing school. 

Leslie worked two jobs and launched a successful eCommerce store, all while attending an accelerated program in nursing school. From prioritizing course work to maximizing her study-time to balancing work, school, and self-care; planning and efficiency were key to keeping Leslie on-track.

She shared her advice for starting your nursing school journey on the right path including her go-to method for staying on schedule, the tools she used to study for classes and the NCLEXⓇ, and the techniques she used when her classes and clinicals transitioned online due to the COVID. 

Leslie’s Five Tips for Nursing School Success

We’ve listed Leslie’s tips and some of the tools she mentioned below 👇 

tip 1 secrets to success nursing school start fast have a purpose
TIP 1: Start fast and have a purpose.

No matter where you are in your nursing journey — your first class, a new semester, or even a new day — it’s a new beginning and a new chance to make different decisions.

The most important part is how you “LAUNCH.” Like a rocket, in the beginning, we have the most power. The study methods and techniques we use. The habits we adopt. The schedules we begin. All will change the trajectory of your journey, so AIM high! 

Begin with the end in mind.

tip 2 secrets to success nursing school know your learning style
TIP 2: Know your learning style. 

Are you an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner? Or, do you learn best using a combination of two or three of these learning types. Use this knowledge to your advantage and leverage techniques matching your learning style. 

As a visual learner, Leslie used Picmonic to support her learning. She also subscribed to the YouTube channel Level Up RN (Cathy Parkes, RN) and RegisteredNurseRN

tip 3 secrets to success nursing school schedule your time
TIP 3: Schedule your time in blocks and be specific. 

Whether you’re using a day planner, digital calendar, or Post-IT, leveraging time blocking is incredibly important to protecting and respecting your time. When blocking time to study, instead of the general “Study Time,” include the specific chapters and topics you’ll be reviewing during that particular time block. 

Minimizing distractions for maximizing study comprehension. 

If you’ve ever read a page or a paragraph and not remembered a single detail of the material. You’re not alone. Before you sit down to study for the NCLEX:

Before you start, create a to-do list with your top three goals for the day. Anything else you achieve is even better.

• Turn off all distractors (phone, TV, social media, etc.).
• Keep a notepad or Post-It close by and jot down ideas and thoughts for later.

Implement the Pomodoro Technique 

Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, the Pomodoro Technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals separated by short breaks. Work intervals are known as a Pomodoro, from the Italian word for tomato, named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Cirillo used as a university student.

Cirillo defined six steps for this technique:
1. Decide on the task to be done.
2. Set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
3. Work on the task at hand, only.
4. When the timer rings stop. Put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes) and then return to step 2. If there are four checkmarks, continue to step 6.
6. After four Pomodoro run-throughs, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1. Apps like Tomato Timers or Forest help to minimize distractions and manage your time wisely.

tip 4 secrets to success nursing school be adaptable resilient
TIP 4: Be adaptable and resilient.

When the global Coronavirus pandemic hit, Leslie’s nursing school made the transition to online school. She finished her requirements for graduation online, including exit exams and studying for the NCLEX. 

At first, I panicked, like I know many of you are but you will make it! I used the NCLEX playlist and followed the outline on Picmonic for the exact NCLEX book I was using (yes, they have a Playlist for that too! )

tip 5 secrets of success nursing school nclex picmonic playlist
TIP 5: Use the NCLEX playlist and Picmonic outline together.

Combining NCLEX playlists and Picmonics gives you the extra help needed to retain the information. You can find the playlists by going to “Browse” and then “NCLEX.” Follow along with your Saunders NCLEX book to make studying simultaneous and easy! All of the Picmonic quiz questions you answer will be factored into your daily quiz so you’ll be preparing for the NCLEX every single day. 

Nursing school is known for challenging coursework, weighty exams, and excitement. Balancing studying, learning, and life takes some strategy and planning. Start like a boss with these tips for starting nursing school.

​And, be sure to follow us on Instagram for weekly board style questions on-the-go or check out the NCLEX question of the day here.

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Erika Bankhead

Erika Bankhead, UI/UX Designer & Student Success Ninja

As Picmonic’s lead Student Success Ninja, Erika works to improve Picmonic for students across the globe. 

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