How to improve the way you study in nursing or medical school

Test Taking Skills

Simple strategies to improve test taking skills begin the night before. Learning research experts recommend the following preparation tips for the night before the test:

  • Get a good-night-sleep (as opposed to pulling “all nighters”)
  • Drink water. Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soda. Caffeine is a diuretic that dehydrates the brain and robs it of essential vitamins, like vitamin C that are essential for good thinking.
  • Load up on high protein foods. Avoid carb and sugar heavy snacks, foods that give you a burst of energy and increased concentration in the short term, but will leave you fatigued and lazy after they are processed by the body. The brain loves protein: beef jerky, nuts, fish, eggs and soy products are high in protein and help maximize brain activity.
  • Finally, get up and move around while reviewing your notes. Studying on your feet not only helps keep you awake but integrates fine and gross motor synapses in the brain. Remember, the more areas of the brain activated during the studying process, the more information is retained.

School Resources

Finally, nursing and medical school students who want to learn the best ways to study and learn should investigate the resources available through their university student services center. Online tutoring, both computer assisted, peer and professor led, as well as access to study group meeting rooms are some of the most basic amenities afforded by most nursing and medical school colleges and universities.

Consult the following list of recommended reading for additional information on learning to capitalize on your individual study and learning strengths

Additional Resources

  • Nurse’s Guide to Successful Test-Taking, Marian B. Sides, Nancy B. Cailles: J. B. Lippincott, Pub.
  • Test-Taking Techniques for Beginning Nursing Students, Patricia M. Nugent, Barbara A. Vitale: F. A. Davis, Pub.
  • Successful Problem-Solving & Test-Taking for the Beginning Nursing Student, Patricia Hoefler: Meds, Inc., Pub.
  • Math for Meds, Curren and Munday, W.I. Publications; Mathematics for Health Careers, Castellon, Baker, Stone: Delmar Pub.
  • Programmed Mathematics for Nurses, George Sackheim, Lewis Robins: McGraw Hill, Pub.
  • Math for Nurses, a Problem-Solving Approach, Sally Lipsey, Donna D. Ignatavicius: W. B. Saunders, Pub.