In nursing school it can be hard and confusing to study solely with your textbook. Even though you want to get the most use out of your expensive, lengthy textbook, to prepare for your exams and the NCLEX, it is helpful to have a collection of resources that you can use when your lecture notes and textbook just aren’t enough to make the grade.
1. A Comprehensive NCLEX Review Book
The ultimate goal of nursing school is to get you prepared to pass NCLEX. What is surprising about the NCLEX is that most of the questions can be traced back to the concepts you will learn in your Fundamentals course your very first semester. Therefore, to start nursing school on the right foot, it would be wise to have a comprehensive NCLEX review book that features brief, informative outlines of each subject you will learn as well as questions & answers with rationales. Follow along with the comprehensive NCLEX review book as you progress through nursing school to gain practice answering those difficult questions. The comprehensive review book will also be a great resource to have to complete your clinical paperwork and study for your exams in your other classes. Usually comprehensive review books highlight the nursing interventions you absolutely need to know for each subject, so pay special attention to these as you study for your exams.
2. NCLEX App
Truthfully, an NCLEX app should also be in your toolkit starting first semester of nursing school. One of the hardest things about nursing school is getting comfortable with answering the questions. How will you get better at answering those questions? Increase the amount of questions you attempt! The more questions you attempt, the stronger you will become at identifying the correct answer. It is not enough to solely rely on the questions on your nursing school tests to prepare you for NCLEX. You can easily increase your question count by having an app on your tablet or phone. Take advantage of wait times by knocking out 5 or 10 questions. You will be amazed at how many questions you can answer per day by using the app when you are waiting for food, waiting for class to start, etc.
3. Clinical/Pharmacology App
Pharmacology can be one of the toughest courses in nursing school. You will be expected to learn an abundance of drugs in just one or two semesters and it can be difficult to truly memorize the side effects, contraindications, warnings, and patient education required for each drug. Not only will having a pharmacology app save you ample time in clinical when you need to know something about a drug ASAP, but this is also a wonderful tool to study with because pharmacology books can be extremely detailed with information that you just don’t need.
Investing in a pharmacology app can also serve you well beyond nursing school! I still use the app I downloaded in nursing school at work when I’m not familiar with a certain drug and need to know the most important information in a pinch!
4. Content Review Book (for your weakest subjects)
As you progress through nursing school, you will soon identify a subject that seems tougher than the others to understand. For example, you may be confident about your Med/Surg class, but struggling to understand the basic concepts of Obstetrics. In this case, it would be wise to have a content review book specifically for Obstetrics that could highlight the important information in a condensed fashion.
In my case, I struggled to memorize the most important information about the common diseases in my Med/Surg class. My Med/Surg textbook was ginormous and it was difficult for me to pinpoint the critical facts I needed to know. After I purchased a review book specifically for Med/Surg, I would have that book open alongside my textbook so that I could highlight the most important portions of my textbook. Naturally, studying in this fashion boosted my understanding of the material and I saw a significant rise in my test scores.
5. Q&A Workbook (for your weakest subjects)
Used hand in hand with the content review book for your weakest subject, a Q&A workbook will give you the extra practice you need to feel prepared to tackle your weakest subject. The key to exceling in those weak areas is truly to devote more time to learning the content, and applying yourself by answering more questions. You will find that by challenging yourself to answer more questions, the exams in your classes may not be as intimidating anymore because you will be thoroughly prepared.
For example, after identifying my weak areas in Med/Surg, I used a Q&A book specifically devoted to Med/Surg topics to answer more questions. Not only did I feel more prepared after using my Med/Surg content review book (because I finally recognized the critical facts I needed to know), but when it was test time in my Med/Surg class, the questions seemed familiar instead of foreign because I had challenged myself in my studies.
Would you like to know the exact resources we used to keep up our high grades in nursing school? You're in luck because we made a checklist just for you!
There you have it! Try implementing these resources into your study routine and watch your comprehension improve and your test scores rise! :)