Knowing your learning style will help you succeed in nursing school. Follow these essential study tips based on how you learn.
All of us comprehend things in unique ways. Understanding your learning style will help you succeed not only in nursing school, but in your future jobs. Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate. You entire career as a nurse you will be learning new processes and instruments.
This guide will be an essential tool that you’ll use for the rest of your life! Keep reading and learn study tips that are tailored for your exact learning style.
Study Tips for Every Learning Style
No matter what learning style you have, here are some universal study tips that can help you retain more knowledge.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Your brain is fueled best when it has balanced nutrition. This means that you should plan ahead to ensure you’ll be fueled and nourished. Meal prep is an excellent strategy to do this. Healthy eating is critical for nurses and nursing students, so if you’re one that likes to snack while studying be sure you have lots of healthy snacks on hand so you don’t resort to junk. Air fried tortilla chips are a great option. Pair it with some guacamole and clean salsa, and you’ve got brain fuel for hours.
Dehydration can cause you a ton of issues. You will feel tired and be less able to move energy and oxygen throughout your body if you are dehydrated. Lack of hydration can also lead to digestion issues and constipation. There are links between the brain and the gut that we are just starting to understand, but it’s clear that if your gut is not healthy you will not be healthy.
Take Frequent Breaks and Move
You might think that propping yourself in a comfy place for 4 solid hours and reading non-stop is the best way to cram all that nursing knowledge in your head, but it’s not. You need to take frequent and energizing breaks to keep your brain focused, your body healthy, and to stay alert. Some great ways to do this are:
- Go to the farthest bathroom in your house (staying hydrated will help you do this more often)
- Use a standing desk
- Set a timer and do squats or jumping jacks every 20 minutes
- Do a 2 minute plank every hour
- Take a 15 minute walk every 2 hours
Pick a combination of these and incorporate them into your study routine and you’ll find you retain more information and feel less bored while studying.
Use Supplemental Study Material
Textbooks and notes aren’t always the best tools. In fact, when I was in nursing school I found that I would actually fall asleep while trying to read nursing textbooks. Fortunately, technology has grown by leaps and bounds since then and you now have nearly endless study tools at your fingertips.
My favorite nursing school study resource is Nursing.com. It has tons of lessons on every topic you need to master that include videos, pdfs, audio, and more. They focus on the critical knowledge you need and eliminate the fluff. You might not even need your textbook with their tools. I have written a full review of nursing.com, if you’d like more info.
I also highly recommend FreshRN courses. If you’re in your final year of nursing school, you likely have a lot of things distracting you from your studies. There is a great (and FREE) Mission Accomplished course that will help you stay on top of all the things you need to do so you have the adequate mental capacity to actually focus on your studies, and aren’t distracted by all the stuff you need to do to make it to the finish line of nursing school.
4 Learning Styles
There are generally four main learning styles. As you read about them and their tips, remember that lots of people have more than one main learning style. What works for you might be combining a few different styles and making your own study habits.
That’s the beauty of self-discovery! The better you know yourself, the more success you will have as you study and learn new concepts in nursing school.
1. Visual Learners
The visual learning style is also called the “spatial” learning style. People who learn through sight comprehend information better when it is presented visually. This includes seeing things like pictures, diagrams, and written directions.
Do you doodle as you take notes or does color-coding help you remember concepts better? Then you might be a visual learner.
If you are a visual learner, then you need to study diagrams and charts. Draw your own diagrams and pictures of the concepts you are learning. It will really help you to color-code your notes so the information that you need for the test stands out.
2. Auditory Learners
Auditory learners prefer to listen to lectures than read the notes. This also means they will learn better when they hear themselves saying the definitions and details out loud, over and over. When the information is reinforced by sound, it sticks in their minds better.
If you are an auditory learner, then you should use sounds to help yourself remember important concepts. The best way to do this is to get in a study group with other auditory learners and quiz each other. Explain the definitions and lessons to each other. When you hear yourself and your friends talk, you will remember it better.
Another very important tip is to use a voice recorder in class. Record the lectures and then listen to them again later.
3. Tactile Learning
This learning style goes by a few different names. Tactile learning is also called kinesthetic learners or hands-on learners. These people learn by doing and experiencing things. When they act something out, it sticks in their mind better. These types of learners have a difficult time sitting still during lectures and they excel at physical activities like sports or dance.
If tactile learning sounds like you, then here are a few tips that will help you learn, even if you have lots of book-work to do.
Take frequent breaks. Get up and move around. Do exercises while you repeat things that you need to memorize. Add actions to them if you have to. Another thing that will help is to invest in a white board or chalkboard and write out the things you have to memorize.
The act of moving and connecting the ideas to physical actions will connect it all together in your mind.
4. Reading/Writing Learners
Finally, reading and writing learners prefer to simply read things – that’s how they learn best. There is some overlap with this learning style and visual learners. The difference is that reading and writing learners comprehend new ideas best when they read words. Visual learners can learn through words or charts and pictures.
Nursing school is already catering to this learning style. If you are still struggling to comprehend some of the definitions, try reading about them online or in different books. Sometimes, just changing what you are reading helps it click!
Another tip is to write out the definitions multiple times. Reading/writing learners memorize things faster if they write them down multiple times.
Know Your Learning Style
The best thing you can do for yourself while you are in nursing school is to discover your learning style. This brief 10-question quiz will help you see which learning style is the strongest for you. Keep in mind that you might have more than one learning style – and that’s ok! Combine any of the tips above and use the methods that help you learn best.
More Nursing School Tips
As you work your way through nursing school, here are some more helpful tips! You aren’t in this alone – all nurses have been there!