My first day of nursing school flew by. We met a lot of upperclassmen who presented their strategies for good grades on nursing exams. And although I thought these soon to be nurses were just about the coolest people ever, my Type A control freak personality blatantly disregarded pretty much all of their advice.

I went home on that first day eager to make my schedule, prioritize my to-do list, and just demolish this nursing school thing. But my to-do list included reading every single word on every single page that was assigned to us.

And let me just tell you: Worst.Plan.Ever.

It turns out, nursing exams are different.

Reading every word in each chapter is not going to get you an A. In fact, it may actually hurt you.

I hope you don’t make the same mistake I did.

So I have put together six tried and true strategies to help you get an A on your nursing exams.

Be sure to sign up to receive strategies 5, 6, 7 and 8 next week – you do not want to miss this!

1. Focus on the important information that your professors outline in lecture.

Depending on how your lectures are set up, these may include learning outcomes, key points in the power point, a study guide or outline, or important case studies.

When you have a list of main ideas, then you can tailor your reading down to those main topics.

It is highly unlikely that your instructors will test you on information that is buried somewhere deep in your textbook.

2. Only read the sections of the book that you struggle with.

That is, if you need to know about the conduction of the heart, but you remember it from A&P, move on to the next topic. Don’t waste valuable time re-reading what you already know so that you can have more time learning about what you don’t know.

3. Highlight important material as you read.

Highlighting in different colors may also help you to categorize the information easier in your mind.

Use one color for information that you must know, such as material directly pointed out by the professor during lecture. Use a second color for material that you should know but may not have been directly addressed in lecture. You can use a third color to highlight key words or acronyms that you are unfamiliar with and need to look up.

4. Take notes from your highlighted information directly on your lecture notes.

Double whammy! Not only did you highlight important information in the textbook, but now you are taking notes on what you highlighted in the textbook. You are sure to rock your nursing exam! 

This keeps all of your notes in one place, which prevents time being wasted from going back and fourth between your textbook and your lecture notes.

Make sure to use a different color for this, that way you know what information came directly from the professor and what information came from the textbook.

Which of these nursing exam study strategies helped you the most? Is there another way to learn the information that you have found helpful?