Here are some general tips and tools for use in your study plan.  They are of a general nature only and may not work for everyone.  Remember, we all approach our studies differently.  What works for one, may not work for another.

  • Set your study goals and create a flexible study plan: In order to achieve exam success you need to know what you want to achieve. That’s why it is extremely important to set your Study Goals now and outline to yourself what you need to do. It should be broad enough to allow you to add and change aspects but concise enough so you know you’re covering each subject/topic as best you can at this point.
  • Understand your study topics in your own words:  Get into the habit of explaining whatever it is you are studying, in your own words, so you understand your study notes. The key to help improve your memory is to understand what you’ve learned when you are studying it. So don’t just memorise and tick off the list – make sure you understand your theory and can speak confidently about what you are learning.
  • Quiz yourself: Once you feel you understand a concept or a topic, it is important to test yourself on it. Try and replicate exam conditions as much as possible: turn your phone off, don’t talk, time yourself etc. You can set yourself a study quiz or practice exam questions and, so long as you approach it with the right mindset, you can get a very good idea of how much you know
  • Get Creative with online study tools: Don’t feel obliged to just sit in front of a book with a highlighter; there are many different ways to study. Perfect examples of such study tools would be online flashcards, mind maps, mnemonics, online study planners, video and audio resources.
  • Tape record. This is especially handy on “test review” days when instructors share what material is likely to appear on the exam. Remember to check with your instructor first!
  • Compare notes. It’s possible that your classmates have information you didn’t catch and vice-versa.
  • Use the textbook to your advantage. Outline each chapter, write down questions about concepts you don’t understand and refer to other resources for extra help (i.e. the Internet, nursing journals, etc.).
  • Stay informed. Attending class is important. You never know if a question asked by a fellow classmate or a piece of information not found in the book might be found on the next exam.
  • Ask questions. Get answers to questions raised in your book, ideas you’re unclear on from lectures or clarify your notes.
  • Stay in touch with your instructor. Visit during office hours, send an e-mail, talk by phone and sit in the front row during class whenever possible.
  • Be exam prepared. Find out what the exam will cover and the exam format. Review points emphasized in class, questions in your study guides, past quizzes and end of chapter review sections.
  • Complete difficult tasks first. If you’re a procrastinator, start with something simple and/or interesting to get you motivated and on task.
  • Give yourself a break. Study for 50 minutes and then give yourself a 10 minute break. The break is a good time to stretch, relax or have a snack..
  • Change scenery. Get out and study at a coffee shop, the library or the park. You’re likely to concentrate better and get more done.
  • Getting tired or bored? Put down what you’re doing and start on a different task or subject. Stop studying when you’re no longer being productive.
  • Keep your schedule practical, flexible and realistic. Make time for socializing, studying and sleeping. If you’re someone with lots of time, develop good organizational skills. For those with an already busy schedule, re-establish your priorities so that you aren’t trying to do too much in too little time.
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition. It’s true that practice makes perfect-read your notes several times over until you remember the important points.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

 

Some useful tips and tools of the trade…

 

Medical Mnemonics

 

Mnemonics, which simply means “memory aid” in Greek, is a quick and significant means to enhance your memorization skills. Unlike acronyms and other means of learning by association, using mnemonics is an effective way to remember hard-to-retain lists of facts.

World’s Database of Medical Mnemonics http://www.medicalmnemonics.com/cgi-bin/return.cfm?discipline_id=26&system_id=All&bodypart_id=All&level_lo=All&level_hi=All&clinical=All&hi_yield=All&g_rated=All&language_id=All&numrows=10&rowstart=1&searchbox=&mtype_id=All&orderresultsby=rating

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Clinical Drug Databases

Though they vary in their offerings, you are likely to find that they provide information on up-to-date pharmaceuticals on the market, as well as off-label uses and dosages, herbal supplements and nutritional products. Some clinical drug databases also list new drugs on the market and drugs being tested.

EKGs

With so many different types of cardia arrhythmias, learning what the electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) rhythms mean can be confusing. Here is a link to help you interpret, study and improve your ability to recognize EKGs, – normal and abnormal heart sounds

http://int-prop.lf2.cuni.cz/heart_sounds/h14/sound.htm

The most important thing to remember is what drove you to become a nurse in the beginning.  Nurses aren’t born, we are made.  We start from all walks of life, united by compassion for others.  It is the years of dedicated study, hours of training, and many sacrifices along the way that hone us into the practical, composed professionals we see bustling around the hospital wards and general practices.  The vast amount of knowledge and training is what gives Nurses their ability to not only care for people, but to also save the lives of people all over the world.