Browse the links below to find tips and strategies for brushing up on several academic skills that are essential for nursing students to have.
You can also contact us at to meet with a peer tutor or peer mentor to work on your skills in any of these areas.

Learning how to study BETTER instead of just MORE will save you a lot of time and stress during nursing school! To assess your own study skills and look for places you might need to improve, you can start by completing the Study Habits Questionnaire. Feel free to schedule an appointment with a Peer Tutor or Peer Mentor to go over the results and discuss more effective strategies.

It's also important to understand that studying is a process. Short, frequent study periods that occur on a regular basis throughout the week will help you remember the material far better than "cramming" sessions will. Take a look at the recommended Study Cycle below. Also, be sure to consider your study space. Is it as good as it can be? Click on the YouTube video below for some tips on making it more organized and productive.

How to Create an Organized, Productive Study Space (12:07 min.)


Learning how to manage your time and get organized is VITAL to success as a nursing student. Be sure to check your Canvas calendar regularly to see what assignments are due. Also, if you aren't yet using a planner, get one! An app like Google Calendar can be a life-saver for busy students. If you need some help on how to get started, use the links below.

How to use the Canvas calendar (2:30 min)

How to use Google Calendar (7:44 min.)


Another important piece of time management and organization is setting and prioritizing your goals. You can use a SMART goals worksheet like the one below to help you get started.

SMART Goal worksheet.docx


Successful nursing students not only

complete all their assigned readings on

schedule, but they also understand and

retain what they've read. Spending several

hours reading but not actually learning the

material is wasted time, so it is important to

develop skills to read both effectively and

efficiently while in nursing school. One good

method for improving reading retention is

the SQ3R approach shown in this chart.

In Supplemental Instruction sessions, students
can also work on developing reading strategies to improve retention of difficult course content.

Tests are an unavoidable part of school. Particularly in higher education, you must first demonstrate you’ve mastered material in order to build on it with new information. Tests show what you’ve learned and identify your strengths and weaknesses. They can be indicators of where your passions lie and where you need to do some extra work. Rather than viewing tests as roadblocks, embrace them as opportunities to show your stuff and tools to help you improve.

You’ll see some resources below that we hope will be helpful in improving your test-taking skills as nursing students, particularly with regard to the NCLEX. 

Back to school boot camp: Top test-taking strategies. Live webinar recorded 9/1/20 hosted by best-selling NCLEX-prep authors Linda A. Silvestri, PhD, RN, FAAN and Angela E. Silvestri, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC-C NE. 

Test Taking Strategies for NCLEX-Style Questions. This 2019 YouTube video from Nurse Tutors covers how to understand and answer questions correctly.

20+ NCLEX Tips and Strategies Every Nursing Student Should Know. Web-article on published 1/27/16 by Matt Vera, BSN, RN

Test Taking Techniques for Nursing Students. This tutorial is divided into three parts: 1) Test Taking Techniques for Multiple Choice Tests, 2) Challenging Verbs Commonly Found in the Medical Setting, and 3) Health Idioms. Parts 2 & 3 may be particularly interesting to students whose first language is not English.

Why Did I Fail That Nursing Test? This YouTube video from 2013 covers reading test questions, noting keywords, and the process of choosing the best answer. If you're a student who can narrow your answer down to two choices but always seem to choose the wrong one, this just might be the help you've been seeking.


Everyone learns in different ways. While there is no single best method of note-taking, different methods work better with different subjects. You should try out different styles for taking notes from the textbook and from lectures and see what works for you. Some methods that the Student Success Center can help you practice include:

  • "Write on the Slides" Method
  • Sentence Method
  • Outline Method
  • Cornell Method
  • Charting Method
  • Mind Map Method
  • Flow Method

Remember: the best method of note-taking is ultimately whichever one helps YOU learn the material!


You can view the diagram below for a quick summary of good note-taking practice.

 Learning styles are different approaches to or ways of learning. Many people have a dominant learning style:

  • Visual (learns by seeing)
  • Auditory (learns by hearing)
  • Tactile/Kinesthetic (learns by touching or doing)

Some people learn with a mixture of more than one style. Knowing your own learning style can help you maximize your study time. If you would like to determine your preferred learning style, you can start by taking the quick online Learning Styles Assessment. Once you determine your result, click on the included link to learn more about your preferred learning style.

Peer Tutors and Peer Mentors can also work with you on developing good studying and note-taking strategies that will use your learning style to maximum advantage.