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.