How to study smart, Not hard

Study smart, not hard – Take a break when you need a break:

If you’re feeling like you need a break from studying, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to power through and keep cramming. You might think more = better, but studies have shown that taking a break can actually make you more productive.

Know your own learning style:

Many students may make it to the college-level without even knowing what their unique learning style is, but for sustained performance tailored to your receptors, it is critical to get acquainted with your learning preferences, i.e. verbal, visual, auditory, kinesthetic, spatial, etc.

Reward yourself:

Advice from a 26-year-old labor and delivery nurse Danielle Smith: Her biggest tip is to set rewards for studying. For example, she suggests that if you want to watch the new episode of “This is Us”, you should tell yourself you must first finish your flash cards for a chapter or complete at least 25 practice questions, etc.

“Other rewards could be a date/night out, or even a treat like your favorite candy bar, but not unless you accomplish something for school first,” Smith says. “This worked wonders for her!”

Avoid cramming:

Make sure you give yourself enough time to study all the content before your test! Cramming is never good. You should normally start studying a week before your class and always do a little bit every day, no matter what. You MUST get into the habit of using a planner, so you know exactly when your assignments and tests are due, and pen in study time, chores, leisure, etcetera on your calendar to hold yourself fully accountable! Another tip is to do a lot of practice questions. That’s helped many students immensely in knowing how to answer questions on their Board exams. Amidst the stress, I must emphasize the need for self-care.

Schedule that study time:

Second-year nursing student Kelly Carson, 25, says that time management and prioritizing are everything. And the real key? Scheduling out a time to study—don’t just leave it until you feel like it.

The assignments are never ending so make sure you have a place whether it’s on the computer or an old fashion planner to write down your assignments for the entire semester. Also, getting a head start at the beginning of the semester will help you to not get behind on readings and assignments!


Diffuse oils for concentration:

If you need a little pick-me-up before studying, try some essential oils. Lavender, rosemary, and peppermint oils have all been studied and have been shown to increase concentration and retention. Try diffusing the oils or dabbing a little on your wrists before sitting down to a study session.

For music aficionados, the “Mozart effect” cannot be underestimated. Works by Bach, Brahms, Mozart and others are effective aids that improve sleep patterns and reduce stress, studies find. As the season of cramming and finals approaches, you can get help with a healthy, easily accessible study aid — classical music. (best music for concentration and study alpha waves mp3 download)

Try the 45-15 study strategy:

If you’re having trouble focusing on your study sessions, try mixing things up with the 45-15 study strategy. The strategy is simple: set a timer for 45 minutes, then take a break for the next 15. The key is really, really focusing during those 45 minutes (no social media, folks!) and then really, really taking a break. Get up, get moving, talk a walk, and then get back to it. The strategy is a good way to prep and take advantage of the natural ebb and flow of concentration in your brain.

Create a study ritual:

Pay attention to how you feel when you sit down to study—are you dreading it before you even begin? Groaning internally? Exhausted just thinking about it? It may be time to re-evaluate your study environment. There is no reason to make study time something you absolutely hate; instead, try to set up little rituals for yourself before and while you study to make it more enjoyable. Try setting up a special corner, lighting a candle or even stashing your favorite snacks nearby for a little treat. And on the flip side, if you’re a creature of habit while studying, you could also try mixing up your environment. Get out of your house or apartment and visit a new coffee shop or deli to get some new sights and sounds while you study.

Don’t study solo:

Just like nurses and healthcare workers out in the field depend on their coworkers to survive, so too do nursing and healthcare students. You develop an odd little family with your peers because you are together more than anyone else. Find a few people who you mesh well with, this is what will get you through nursing school. Support each other, encourage, and hold each other accountable.

Use each other to study, quiz, vent, give a different perspective and discuss how nursing school is affecting your family life, and you as an individual. People who have never experienced nursing school cannot relate to what you’re going through. The stress, demands, assignments, working for free, being away from your family, and when you are home, doing nothing but read or study. These guys will know exactly how you feel because they are going through it, too. Many students couldn’t have done it without their nursing crew.”

Prep before class:

Chances are, your typical study style might look something like this: go to class, take notes, review the material, study, take test, right? Well, Shelby B., a second-year nursing student who runs the account @coffeeandcareplans has a different strategy that I think is genius. In an Instagram post on her page, she explains how she actually reviews the course material before class so she knows exactly what to listen for during the lecture and is even more prepared to get clarity on the concepts she needs more help with.



Fall 2020 Applications- Health Science and Nursing

The last of the 2019 school year programs have been seated and we are now shifting our focus to Fall 2020/Spring 2021 admissions.

First, we wanted to congratulate all those that applied for and were accepted into their program of choice. For all those that met the requirements but were not offered a seat, we ask that you review our competitive admissions post to learn how you can strengthen your next application.


Most Common Reasons Applications were not moved forward for Ranking, things to avoid

We wanted to address those applicants that applied without having met the stated entry requirements, or that failed to provide required documentation. It is important that you only apply if you have met those requirements. Unless you have in writing prior to applying an exemption to some requirement, your application will automatically be rejected. In the interest of fairness to your fellow students, who took the time to meet the entry requirements waivers are not granted to any entry requirement. Applicants are weighed against one another at the time of application. Often the very thing you are asking to be waived is one of the ranked items for a program.

We follow the mantra that you should not assume you have met any requirement. Verify that you have met the requirements by reviewing your own record to see that items have been correctly posted, that all test results are available and that transfer credit is posted to your account. In addition, you should provide documents when requested i.e. high school transcripts, ATI TEAS results, etc.  It is good practice to over provide documents than under provide.  You can always email from your student email and confirm that a document is on file. When doing so include your NOVA ID number, and the specific document or requirement you have questions about.

Avoid questions such as” have I met the entry requirements? can I apply now?”. Generally when we get an email that only asks that it almost always means a student has not reviewed their account, the entry requirements, information session or application page.

A better question would be: “Is my high school transcript from (school name) on file and have I met all the high school level requirements”. It is in your best interest to ask pointed specific questions that demonstrate you have done your due diligence in sourcing information from the information session or application page.

Student Failed to regularly check the student email addresses and respond in a timely manner to request from application processing staff.

Application Team emails requesting documents ignored until after the student’s application was marked not eligible.

Missing high school transcript

(nursing and dental assisting)

The student assumed that their high school transcripts were either on file or not needed because they had submitted college transcripts

International High School Transcripts not evaluated or not evaluated course by course.

(nursing and dental assisting)

Students assumed that a translation was sufficient and didn’t have either or to evaluate their high school transcripts course by course.

Missing a high school level Chemistry


      • Students assumed they aged out of the high school level requirement
      • Students assumed a C- would suffice
      • Students assumed their GED would waive the requirement

ATI TEAS Scores below the threshold

        • Students assumed that scores would be rounded up
        • Students assumed that scores taken after the deadline would count
        • Students assumed passing one or two sections with 100’s would exempt them from passing other sections

The student did not attach the correct ATI TEAS Test Report

The student did not follow the steps outlined in the Health Science and nursing TEAS information document, and failed to provide the correct format

The student was missing an entry course

The student assumed they could apply if an entry course was in progress

A Snapshot of a Career In Health Information Management/Clinical Data Coding

  • Ensure the data quality integrity and compliance
  • Protect the security of medical records to ensure that Privacy and confidentiality is maintained.
  • Review records for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with regulations.
  • Manage and audit user access of patient medical records.
  • Assign the patient to diagnosis-related groups (DRGs), using appropriate computer software.
  • Process patient admission or discharge documents.
  • The certificate may be international
  • Informational interviews:


  • Health Information credentials:
    • RHIT (associate degree) RHIA (bachelor’s degree) encompass all of coding plus…management, legal compliance, informatics, analysis, EHR, and reimbursement.
  • Coding Credentials:
    • CCA (entry-level credential both out and inpatient)

Mastery Levels (specialized) CCA plus one (1) year of coding experience

  • CCS (inpatient, long term: Acute Care, residential, assisted living)
  • CCS-P (outpatient: higher-level codes)

Career Direction:

Coding and Revenue

  • Auditor, clinical documentation specialist, HIM revenue cycle auditor, and Benefits coordinator
  • HIM Supervisor

Information Governance: Who sees the information and how

Data Analytics: Data Quality Assurance roles

Informatics:  Getting the information: Data analyst, clinical coordinator, and research and development

Salary: AHIMA Salary snapshot:

Career Resources

NOVA’s Program: 


Explore all the options after you graduate! We welcome you to attend our Fall Transfer Fair 2019. Please see the details below:

MEC Transfer Fair
When: October 22nd
Time: 11:00am-1:00 pm
Where: 1st Floor MEC Campus

Excelsior College ♦ University of Mary Washington ♦ Shenandoah University ♦ George Washington University ♦ George Washington University School of Nursing ♦ American Public University Systems ♦ Bellevue University ♦ Old Dominion University ♦ UVA School of Nursing ♦ Old Dominion University ♦ James Madison University ♦ University of Mary Washington ♦ Radford University

Registration will be through Eventbrite. Please click on the link below

MEC Garage Changes! Coming September 9th, 2019

Our colleagues at NOVA Parking have announced some exciting changes to how you pay for hourly parking.

Coming September 9th, 2019



The MEC garage will be moving to a new Pay Station System for Hourly Parking


Hourly Customers will now Pay Upon Arrival to the MEC Garage

    • No More pulling tickets or waiting for gates!


    Permit holders simply enter and park on their respective levels
    Hourly Customers enter and find a numbered space on either Level 1 or 5
    Take note of the space number where you parked
    Pay for the amount of time you wish at one of the Pay Stations
    The Pay Stations are located inside the Main Entrance on the 1st floor
    No need to display anything on your dash. Just Pay and Go!

*You will need your receipt to add additional time*


The pricing has not changed:
$2.00 Per Hour – $10.00 Daily Max
You may pay with your phone using our Passport App –

Or at the Pay Stations which accept the following payment types:
Coins- $1, .25¢, .10¢, .05¢
Credit Cards– Visa, Mastercard, AMEX

*Please Note the Pay Stations DO NOT accept Bills & There are NO  refunds*

As always Parking is still:
FREE after 3:45pm on Levels 1,2,3 & 5!



Contact MEC Parking Services at 703-822-6688

Do I Need SDV 101?

Current Application page:


I am reading some of the evaluations of my SDV 101 faculty and some students will make the comment that they have already taken SDV 100-College Success Skills.

The following students are exempt from taking SDV 101 for program admission:

  • You have already taken SDV 100 or another SDV course at NOVA
  • You have transferred in an SDV elective from another college (verified by NOVA transcript evaluation)
  • You have a transferrable associates degree or higher from a U.S. college or university (verified by NOVA transcript evaluation)
  • You have passed the NOVA SDV ABLE Examination

All first-time college students interested in MEC are encouraged to take SDV 101 within their first 16 credits at NOVA.  You can take the course on MEC campus or online through NOVA Online.

The SDV course is centered on college success skills.  Often students misinterpret the 101 courses to be Health Science 101 or Nursing 101.  The discipline is STUDENT DEVELOPMENT.  The learning outcomes are the same as SDV 100 courses but we adjust our instruction, textbook, and assignments to students who are interested in healthcare careers.

You have the opportunity to learn more about MEC admissions if you take the SDV 101 course.  You can also experience the campus environment and some facilities if you take the in-person courses in Springfield.

Limited staff Friday 8/2/2019

Expect longer wait times for advising at the MEC due to limited staffing Friday, August 2nd, 2019. We thank you for your patience. Advising questions can also be sent to MECCOUNSELOR@NVCC.EDU . We recommend that you use your NOVA student email address and include your NOVA ID number. This will allow our advisors to review your records.





To survive and thrive we all need:




The pressure to succeed and move on with their life is a very real thing for our Health Science and Nursing students at the Medical Education Campus (MEC and across Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA).  For some, their time at NOVA is the bridge between a difficult life and a comfortable one. For others, NOVA is a low-risk environment to explore an interest or a jumpstart their bachelor’s degree. Whatever the need, NOVA stands ready to help students along their path.

Each student’s personal narrative is different and the path unique. Staff and Faculty at the MEC realize this and have taken strides to alleviate some of the non-academic pressures a student may face. Nationally 1 in 3 undergraduate students faces food insecurity issues[1]. At NOVA our students also face these issues on their pathway to success. Our Student Life Office (HE116) under the direction of Patricia Martin-Mattocks and her excellent staff, maintain a food pantry to assist students. Their office is a central hub of student engagement on campus, promoting cross-discipline activities and leadership opportunities for our students. Any student facing food insecurity should reach out to her without hesitation.

NOVA also operates a Financial Stability Program[2] that can help students with:

      • Child Care Services

      • Energy Assistance (Fuel, Crisis, or Cooling)

      • Food Assistance (SNAP)

      • Health Care Coverage

      • Temporary Cash Assistance

      • Legal Assistance

      • Immigration Assistance

      • Emergency Cash Assistance

      • Employment Assistance

      • Clothing Assistance

      • AND MUCH MORE.

Students should log into to see their eligibility for financial assistance[3].

In addition to our food pantry, NOVA is committed to the success and well-being of her students. The office of NOVACARES[4] has reporting tools that allow individuals to inform the college if they or someone they know is having difficulties or has been a victim of sexual assault. Reports are confidential and handled by trained staff who will decide on the appropriate response.

Please know that we are here as guides and mentors along your path. Students are our greatest credential and source of pride.


MEC Counselor



Stay in Touch! Health Science and Nursing LinkedIn Showcase Page

We wanted to extend an invitation for you to join our campus  Health Science and Nursing LinkedIn showcase page. We developed this page with the support of our college marketing team to serve as an outreach and retention tool. The page will provide a space for our campus community to stay connected and informed. We hope to share relevant career advice, job opportunities for alumni and posting information about current and upcoming healthcare industry topics. We also invite faculty and staff to send any relevant topics, ideas or articles they would like share with our campus community.  In addition, an affiliated group page serves as a virtual space for MEC alumni and students to network.

We are excited to launch this initiative and look forward to your ongoing support as we serve our students and community.

LinkedIn Showcase page NOVA AllHealth Science & Nursing,

LinkedIn Medical Education Campus Group,

If you are on Facebook we recommend that you like our page and follow our post at

Advising/Counseling/Student Success at NOVA MEC Campus