How To Study For Nursing Exams And Ace Your Tests


I used to stay up late at night, a day before my nursing exams and it was a really stressful experience…

I’ll admit it. It’s hard to study. And what’s harder is when you want to get high scores. You just have to work and study hard. There’s no way around it. But there’s definitely some “tips” and “smart” studying practices that you can use to help you ace your tests.

Studying For Your Nursing Exams the Right Way

The beauty of nursing subjects and topics is that it’s not all about memorization. It’s not like a history lesson or subject that needs a lot of memorization skills in order for you to pass.

Yes, you need still need to memorize formulas, drug names, standard values but it’s not as memory-based like history lessons. You can also use Mnemonics to help you retain this type of  information longer.

Let me tell you a story on how I studied for my nursing exams and was still able to get a very high score in both my NCLEX RN  exam and my Phil. Nursing board exam.

“When I was in elementary, I’ve realized that I love to read books, a lot of them actually. But when I grew older, my interests in reading books where limited to fiction and sports related books. I noticed myself being able to quickly comprehend and absorb the new ideas and topics if there was a story behind the topic…”

What am I saying here?

I’ve discovered that I can personally understand a particular topic much faster (and easier) if I can imagine, picture or “visualize” the lesson.

Let’s say the topic that I would like to study would be “MVP” or “Mitral Valve Prolapse” – a cardiovascular disorder that is a favorite topic on nursing exams.

What I would do initially (especially if this is something new), is to search online for pictures and videos in particular that would allow me to visualize what “MVPs” are. How does it really happen? What’s the treatment and management for this disease?

And when it comes to videos, this generation is very fortunate to have Youtube. I’ll just go online and start browsing on youtube. I’ll find videos related to my topics and I’ll usually find it there.  If it’s not available, I can also search Google or online libraries and check if they have available visual aids and video materials.

I would then reinforce this “initial” visual study with focused reading for an hour. Since I already have an idea of what the topic is about and how it would “actually” look like, I can comprehend the lesson a lot faster. It’s also easier for me to understand.

I’d rather spend tie comprehending my lessons rather than memorizing them, because as I’ve mentioned before, studying for a nursing exam would require critical thinking and analytic skills.

Prepare thy mind and body

Our brains are like sponges. It will be able to absorb the information that we put into it. But like any organ in our body, we need to take care of it in order for it to function properly.

There’s really 3 things that I do to prepare my mind and body for exams.

1. I eat the right foods. – Nothing greasy and sugar laden foods.

2. I exercise daily and do deep breaths 3 times a day – The brain needs oxygen. And the more oxygen that I can circulate to my body, the better I feel.

3. I pray – I believe in the power of prayer and meditation. By being at peace and calm, I can prepare myself well before my scheduled exam.

Studying for your nursing exams shouldn’t be a stressful thing.

It should be fun and at the same time full of knowledge. Some people are visual learners, while some people are audio learners. Make sure that you have identified, what’s the best way for you to study. Is it by watching videos? Is it by reading alone? Is it by studying in groups and forming an ongoing topic discussion?

Whatever your mode of learning is, the more you prepare the less stressful it will be and the higher chances that you’ll get to ace your tests!