Between lectures and clinical practices, earning a nursing certification is no walk in the park. There is so much to learn, and it may seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to work, learn and have a personal life.
Regardless of your age, experience or level of education, there are a few study tips that will help you feel and perform your best.
First and foremost, plan several weeks in advance what you need to study and how much time to allow for each subject. When you are able to look at your studying as a whole and spread out each task, you’ll feel less stressed.
One easy way to coordinate your time is to color code your subjects. For example, use yellow for subjects you feel you’re struggling with (allow the most time for these), green for proficient, red for refresher subjects and add some blue for personal time.
Sleep Eight Hours
Regardless of how much you need to study, your body needs sleep more. You need to feel good if you want your brain to be test savvy, and a rejuvenating night of sleep is just the cure. You wouldn’t run a marathon on three hours of sleep, so think of your tests as a marathon of questions and prepare for it.
If you have trouble sleeping, treat yourself to a new eye mask, silk pajamas or freshly cleaned sheets, the goal is to make sleep exciting.
Remember to Breathe
Whether you’re a yogi, practice meditation or deep breathing, don’t forget to breath and make time for peace and relaxation. Some easy ways to create a relaxing atmosphere are to introduce calming sounds (a babbling brook, crickets, ocean waves) into a room, buy a plant or some flowers, and burn some therapeutic candles. Breathing in scents such as lavender, pine and vanilla can reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Rid yourself of negative thoughts and visualize the success of passing your exam. Where can this certification take you? What will you do with your newly learned skills? Visualize your desired outcome and make it happen.
Don’t skip meals
Your brain and body need nourished to function, and food is just important as sleep. That being said, the quality of food is also important. Even though you may feel stretched thin for time, taking the time to prepare a chicken salad would be much better for your mind and body than driving through a fast-food joint for a dollar cheeseburger.
Don’t skimp out on your workouts just because you’re studying. Feeling stressed? Run for ten minutes, or just dance around to some music. Not only will this relieve tension, it will improve blood circulation—resulting in a greater oxygen supply to your brain, which in turn helps you retain information better and improves concentration.
Avoid last minute studying, and don’t check your answers
Leave the notes at home on exam day. Trust in yourself that you prepared enough. The prep work is done, and now it’s just time to breathe, relax and answer those questions.
Then, once you’ve answered those questions, don’t second guess yourself, this often leads to overthinking and answering incorrectly. Just read the question carefully the first time and trust that you know your stuff.