Studying for nursing school exams and finals

study nursing school

Well, it’s that time of year again…time for finals (for most of  you, anyway…I honestly have NO CONCEPT of how the quarters-system works…I’ve only ever done semesters). Anyway…time to buckle down and study up! Which is why I want to share with you today one of my BEST study tips and a key way for how I stayed confident throughout all my nursing school exams…including finals!

So there you are, studying for your nursing school exams and you realize you have a TON of information to review. You can either:

A) cry
B) call a friend and go out for a beer instead
C) waste precious time reviewing material you already know while bumbling through the material you still don’t understand
D) study the “Straight A” way and STILL have time for that beer!

If you chose “D” then keep reading…we are kindred spirits!

The key to studying for nursing school exams

If you read my book (available here) then you know I talk a lot about paring down the information until you get to the core nugget that you need to study. As you pare things down, they are relegated to long-term memory so that by the time you get to the exam, you really just need to “remind” yourself of a few key concepts.

The idea is that as you study, you re-write/re-organize your notes into shorter and shorter versions…until you are finally left with about 1 page per topic. No, that is not a typo! For example, as you can see here…I’ve got all my notes for cardiac/respiratory assessment down to 1 sheet (front-and-back…I wrote really big, ok?) So, instead of carting around tons of notes and books…I just had to bring this handy sheet and I could study for my Assessment exam anytime, anywhere. Pretty neat, huh?

nursing school exams

Oliver sighting!

And below you’ll see how I got all of Inflammatory Heart Disease notes on one sheet of paper…yes, it’s a nifty system…I agree!

Now, I know some of you are going to email me asking me for copies of these super handy, super-condensed notes. Sorry…it doesn’t work that way. I wrote my notes based on the information that I needed to trigger my long-term knowledge of these topics…the things that will help you unlock and access that knowledge are going to be COMPLETELY different. Plus, the act of actually MAKING the one-sheets is a huuuuuuuuge part of the learning process. So get out your colored Sharpies and make some gorgeous study sheets so you can rock your nursing school exams like a boss!

And, on a personal note

So, for those of you who like to know what’s going on in my world…the floors got refinished (finally!) but we are still dealing with chaos since the baseboards aren’t back in yet. So, I’ve still got all my china and glassware sitting in boxes in my upstairs hallway, a pantry door outside the guest bedroom and a garage full of tools. I’m trying to be patient since my husband spoils me rotten 99.999999% of the time…what have I got to complain about? Pretty much nothing, to be honest.

in the process of all this chaos (and with an overwhelming schedule that includes working full time, blogging, podcasting, misc writing commitments and doing MOST of the things that keep our lives running smoothly – grocery shopping, laundry, bill paying, etc…AND being hit with a nasty autoimmune flareup) I hit a wall a couple of weeks ago. So, if you’re wondering why I haven’t posted in a bit…there you have it.

Being a seeker of knowledge, I did what a lot of people do when they don’t know where to turn…I bought a book. This book:

Affiliate link…clicking through helps support this website!

I am telling you…reading this book had been an EPIPHANY of epic proportions. Yes, I know that having an organized and de-cluttered home are important…and believe me, I have organized and de-cluttered a million times. But that’s the point…why do I have to keep doing it over and over and over? Because I have TOO MUCH DANG STUFF!

You’ll just have to get the book…but basically, you go through your items not by room or location, but by category. When you see the sheer number of sample-size Scope mouthwashes you have (about 15) you realize  you don’t need them and it’s a heck of a lot easier to toss them out! Plus, she encourages you to keep ONLY those items that bring you joy. So…even though she suggests starting with clothes, I started with the category that has been driving me absolutely bananas…toiletries and bath products.

I kid you not, I got rid of 6 grocery bags FULL of items…four went in the garbage (they were either too old, too gunky or actually EXPIRED) and I have two full bags of nearly-new or brand-new products I’ll never use just waiting for a home. My bathroom counter used to be almost FULL of beauty/bath products…scrubs, moisturizers, masks, peels…you name it, I had it (or two or three). Now there’s so much space I bought a darling little lamp so that I can shower in the morning by lamplight and not the harsh overhead light (4:30am is TOO early for that malarky….right????). It sounds weird, I know, but that little lamp makes me so darn happy. It’s the little things, isn’t it?

So…what does this possibly have to do with this blog, you ask? I started thinking about how much work, time, effort I put into this website and it is extraordinary…I might as well be working TWO full-time jobs (I am NOT exaggerating!) And basically, the blog is a volunteer project (in fact, it costs me a fair amount to keep it going)…so the return on investment really has only been measured by your wonderful emails telling me of your success.

With that said…I need some balance in my life. I can’t work two full-time jobs and get paid for one of those jobs in the currency of nice emails (though I do love them…keep them coming PLEASE! I was at the END of my rope the other day and got the nicest note from someone…it really did re-energize me, so THANK YOU!). I am re-vamping both the blog/website and the podcast to post less often (once per week) WHILE ALSO working on premium content for you guys! This will enable me to create a revenue stream that will keep this blog going AND keep the highest-quality content coming at you on a regular basis.

The Konmari method of de-cluttering/organizing/tidying (whatever you want to call it) has really helped me notice which things in my life and home truly bring me joy. This website is one of them…your kind emails and notes are also one of them. And because I love them so much, I have been trying to kill myself to pay it back to you guys with loads and loads of new posts, podcasts and whatnot. I can’t keep that pace up forever so before I start to dread working on the site, I am pulling in the reins and keeping it right where it needs to me…which is near and dear to my heart.

Thank you for all your support…I wouldn’t be doing this without you 🙂

Nurse Mo

4 thoughts on “Studying for nursing school exams and finals

  1. HB

    Studying for mental health nursing final as we speak with sharpies in hand! I laughed out loud that you used the same markers – colors and nice writing make me happy. I use the pare down method and it works! Thank you!

  2. sd

    I too re-write my notes as well except I have done poster board size for each system. It has helped tremendously cause sometimes I have to refer back to basics and all I have to do is pull out my poster board instead of going through notes. I also appreciate your blog and helpful information. You are very organized. I hope you are feeling better and looking forward to your future posts.

    1. Nurse Mo Post author

      Thanks so much! Sometimes I pull out those one-sheet notes and am amazed at how much I knew (at one time…haha!).


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