How to Study for Nursing School

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One of the most common questions nursing students ask is how do I study for nursing school? In order to improve studying for nursing school, you should be organized, color-code everything, handwrite notes, and use flashcards.

Nursing school is hard – no one every said it was meant to be easy. I often get a lot of students asking how I studied and what tips I have. So, today I’ll be going through my favorite tips on how to study for nursing school!

How to Organize and Study for Nursing School: Tips


What to study for nursing school? How to study for nursing school fundamentals? Truthfully most nursing students will have to re-learn how to study and revise their studying methods. I’m sure everyone has seen the memes or references to how hard nursing school can be to study for. But, with the right study methods and tips, it can be a lot easier.

Study Frequently

The first step to studying for nursing school is to increase the amount of hours that you study. A simple way to figure out how many hours to study for nursing school is to take the amount of credits you are taking and multiply that by 1. Whatever that comes to is the amount of hours you should be studying.

Most students should be studying anywhere from 20-30 hours a week for nursing school. Although, this might change based on your personal course load. In addition to increasing the amount you are studying, you should increase the quality of your studying.

I can promise you that when nursing finals come around, you will be scrambling to memorize everything you can. Almost every nursing student will experience this feeling at least once. If you are studying the information throughout the semester in a quality amount, you will retain more and have an easier time.

Study After Class


Another incredible tip I received from one of my professors is to study after class. This might not be possible for every person or for every class, but I can guarantee that it is one of the best ways to study for nursing school.

After a lecture you will have a lot of fresh information in your brain. Taking this information to the library or a quiet study place will help you process and retain the information. Even if it is just for an hour or two, it can drastically improve your study habits while in nursing school.

Get Yourself Organized and Color Coded


Getting organized and color coded can drastically improve your study habits for nursing school. Color coding can help you stay focused on a specific class or subject. Organizing can help you feel empowered and in control of your studying.

Getting a planner can help you keep everything organized. Mixing up due dates is something you don’t want to do. This is my favorite planner my favorite planner. In addition, if you don’t want a physical planner use Google Calendar or the Calendar app on your smart phone. 

My absolute favorite to use are felt tipped pens, which I find amazing to write with and generally don’t bleed through. Color coding by subject helps tremendously when organizing information. These are the specific 5-Star binders that I use and 5-Star folders I use. And finally, some highlighters that I love!

What are some good study tips for nursing school? There are some general tips to studying for nursing school that might help improve your habits and test grades.

Turn Your Phone Off

This is overlooked by most nursing students. But, is one of the most simple and powerful ways to improve your studying. Turning off your phone screen can help to decrease distractions. In addition, it can increase your focus on the material in front of you. I highly recommend turning off your phone and putting it away while studying.

Go to Class and Write Things Down

Going to class won’t drastically improve your ability to studying for nursing school. But, you can see results by writing information down. Working with information while it’s being presented to you can help increase retention. Additionally, some professors might give out test hints that you will want to know!

Make Flashcards and use Talkback

Teaching yourself how to study for nursing school is difficult. Using talkback to study along with Quizlet or hand-made flashcards is beneficial for studying. Flashcards were one of my best ways to study as a nursing student because they were simple. Making flashcards that have simple definitions and information can help you to learn the base information faster.

In addition, using talkback to a friend or your pet or yourself can really help improve retention. Creating a study group that goes through the information while using talkback or teaching is very beneficial.

Read the Book

“Read the Book” is quite self-explanatory, but will help you study for nursing classes. Honestly, there is a lot of classes that you don’t need the book for. A lot of classes will strictly use the PowerPoint presentations as study material. But, there are some classes that do require you to read the book. If that’s the case, go to a quiet place, grab a highlighter and get to work!

Listen to Music or Watch Movies

So you need help studying for nursing school? Watch a movie while studying! How does that work? This is one of my favorite study methods. I would watch movies that I was very familiar with (more listen than watch). Knowing all of the words, I didn’t have to even look at the screen and it really helped me with studying.

Additionally, listening to music without lyrics can also help nursing students study. Unfamiliar music is great to help you concentrate and separate yourself from things going on around you. It sounds strange, but it does help you recall information for exams.

Wear Uncomfortable Clothes

What is the best way to study for nursing school? This is it. A lot of nursing students think that wearing comfortable clothes while studying is fine. But, I am here to tell you differently!

Wearing uncomfortable clothes while studying helps your body and mind differentiate between studying and relaxing. If you’re wearing comfortable clothes your body and mind will be ready for relaxing, not studying. In addition, combining a different environment with uncomfortable clothes can help you study all night without distraction.

Some Other Quick Study Tips for Nursing Students

  • Take study breaks
  • Remember to eat and drink
  • Keep the lights on
  • Get adequate, quality sleep
  • Study at the library (or a quiet place you can concentrate)

How Many Years Do You Study Nursing?

How long is nursing school? Well, depending on which nursing program you’re accepted in it can be different lengths.

BSN programs are typically 4-year programs, but more recently have been stretched to 5-year programs. ADN/LPN programs are typically anywhere from 1.5-years to 3-years. Accelerated nursing programs will greatly vary in length depending on which University you attend. They can be anywhere from 1.5 years to 3.5 years for a Bachelor’s degree.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, studying for nursing school doesn’t have to be terrifying. I highly recommend utilizing some of the tips above and trying them out. What works for me might not work for you, but you might just find something that really helps!

Improving studying comes with time, but increasing your frequency, making flash cards your best friends, and creating study groups can all help you succeed in nursing school!

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Full Time Nurse

Striving to help nurses and nursing students succeed.

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