How to Pass Nursing School: 6 Tips That Will Help

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The challenges of nursing school can drive you to ask the question, “How to pass nursing school?” While nursing school can be difficult, there are many helpful tips you can incorporate into your routine that ease the struggles and set you up for success.

nurse with stethoscope

As you begin your nursing program, you may feel overwhelmed by the courses and workload, leaving you asking, “How to pass nursing school?” Nursing school requires a significant time commitment and will present new challenges as you pursue your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

If you have entered an accelerated BSN program, such as Harding University’s accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing (ABSN), the full breadth of a BSN program is condensed into 16 months. This can make the coursework feel especially overwhelming.

Nursing school is supposed to be challenging, so don’t let the stress deter you from your goals. Below are some helpful tips and tricks to ease the stress and prepare you for success.

1. Understand Your Learning Style

Is nursing school hard? For many, it is — but what lies ahead is a rewarding career as a nurse. The key to passing nursing school is understanding your learning style so you can develop habits and routines that best suit your needs.

If you’re unsure which learning style suits you best, the VARK Questionnaire, which stands for Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic, can help you identify which studying and learning strategies would be the most effective.

Once you understand which learning styles you prefer, you can prioritize helpful studying strategies and avoid wasting time on strategies that are not. Remember, nursing school is intentionally difficult to prepare students for the challenges of a health care career. It is simply a natural part of the journey.

nursing student working with sim manikin

Curious about what nursing school is like? Read more about what you will learn in nursing school.

2. Remain Organized

A lack of organization can make coursework feel overwhelming. It can be easy to lose track of assignments and responsibilities when students are juggling lectures, clinicals and simulation labs.

Staying organized is critical to understanding how to study for nursing school; however, it does not come easily for everyone. Fortunately, there are simple tricks that can help. For example, writing assignments in a planner and mapping out exams on a calendar will help you keep track of due dates and ensure you have time to prepare.

Keeping documents and notes in course-designated binders, notebooks or folders will also help you stay on top of your coursework, but don’t limit organization to physical notes. If you prefer to take notes or study on a computer, keep your documents organized in folders for each course. Organizing previous semester work in folders will also make referencing past work much easier.

3. Make a Schedule

Routine is the key to forming helpful habits, so establishing a study schedule that works for your lifestyle is instrumental to learning how to pass nursing school exams. As you determine a schedule, remember that one size does not fit all, and a schedule that works for a fellow classmate might not easily fit into your life.

harding nursing students on laptop

Consider your class schedule, personal responsibilities and preferred learning style to set aside time during the day that suits your attention span. When you have a schedule that works for you, you can build the confidence necessary to meet the challenges of nursing school.

Use your study time to review notes, assignments and prepare for assessments and the NCLEX. It is important to remain consistent and stick to your schedule, so that you can build on the knowledge acquired through your courses.

4. Study with Your Cohorts

One of the most essential nursing school tips is studying with other students taking the same classes as you and are training for a career in health care. Forming study groups with classmates allows you to hear new ideas, better understand the material and draw attention to concepts you might have otherwise forgotten.

Study groups will also hold you accountable. Sometimes it can be difficult finding the motivation or energy to sit down by yourself and study; however, with a study group, it can feel more like an event and may even be fun.

Bring snacks to help make it through the study sessions or study in coffee shops, libraries or a location that is convenient for everyone. If unable to find a central location, try studying online over a video call to maintain the feeling of comradery in the group.

5. Don’t Cram for the NCLEX

Since passing the NCLEX is the end goal, it may feel like the days leading up to the exam are the time to start studying as much as possible. However, this may have the opposite effect.

According to a 2021 study on how study habits relate to performance by The American Society for Cell Biology Life Sciences Education, cramming before an exam is not a significant predictor of the exam’s outcome. Ultimately, studying under a time crunch might not be as helpful as you want it to be.

When you stay up late the nights leading to an exam, cramming as much studying as you can, you create a lot of additional stress for yourself. Losing sleep will cause you to make mistakes you otherwise wouldn’t and can make it difficult to recall certain information.

Nursing students gathered around table with books

If you have stayed on top of your coursework and consistently set aside time to study throughout nursing school, you should have built a solid foundation to serve you throughout the exam.

6. Take Practice Exams

Practice exams are the best way to familiarize yourself with the NCLEX. They allow you to become comfortable with the question styles you might otherwise not have seen. The exam includes a series of multiple-choice questions that require you to apply knowledge of nursing and medicine.

Use each practice exam as a learning opportunity. Determine which types of questions and subject matter you have difficulty with and adjust your study plans accordingly. Don’t get discouraged if you struggle with the practice tests. Once you become familiar with the question styles, you will improve over time.

Harding University’s ABSN Nursing Support

Harding University strives to support students through all aspects of their ABSN education, from admissions to NCLEX preparation. Prospective students can reach out to admissions counselors to ask questions and get assistance throughout the admissions process.

As students pursue their ABSN at Harding University, knowledgeable and experienced professors and clinical instructors are available to advise and support students in obtaining their BSN. Students can confidently sit for the NCLEX-RN, knowing they have been guided and supported by the talented community at Harding University.

Harding ABSN student standing in lab smiling

Still unsure whether nursing school is right for you? Here are 6 reasons why getting a BSN is worth it.

Start Your Nursing School Journey Today

If you wish to transfer to the nursing track, Harding University’s ABSN program may be the right fit. Through a combination of online courses, in-person clinical rotations and simulation labs, students can take advantage of Harding University’s ABSN nursing support and earn their BSN in 16 months.

Contact an admissions counselor about enrolling at Harding University and jumpstarting your health care career today.