I really should be studying, but first, I’m sharing my tips on taking notes and memorizing information (nursing school edition).
How My Nursing School Journey is Going
So far, so good. I really can’t complain. I think my purpose in life is to learn and share what I learn with other people. Possibly, haha!
There’s a ton of information that I’m trying to intake (and keep in my brain), so I’ve been working on my note-taking and memorization skills.
This week, I learned that there are 206 bones in the body (knew that), and they all have names (didn’t know 199 of those names). So now, I’ve got to make room beside all this knowledge I now have about muscle tissues and cells (past few weeks of lessons).
On top of that, I’m momming and job hunting like a crazy person.
About My Tips for Taking Notes
These are tips that work for me, and I’m sharing them to inspire you to figure out what works best for your way of learning.
If you have suggestions or feedback, I’d love to hear about it!
So let’s do this!
Make a list of things you need to get done for the day.
This really helps you narrow down your tasks and prioritize what’s important.
For things that are not as urgent, put them on the bottom of the list. This way, if you don’t get through the whole list, you will have at least done the most important things and better prioritize next time.
I make my lists in my planner. I plan out my week on Sunday, so that I’m not worrying about it throughout the week. I can just go for it.
This time around, I’m really enjoying grid paper. I’ve done lines, dotted grids and blank paper. I started out the term with blue lines on white paper and have moved onto white lines on light gray paper.
I find that the contrast isn’t harsh on the eyes, and it helps my writing and drawings stand out. I have a post all about the paper I use - I created it on Photoshop and I print them at home on regular copy paper.
For 2019, I created a Student Printables and Digital Planning set that you can grab here for free.
The pens that I use have been carefully curated by yours truly. I am a self-proclaimed pen addict. I love a good pen, and my kind of pens write thin, fine and smooth. These are some of my favorites:
Discover Your Note Taking Style
I was talking to my best friend the other day and showing her my notes. She asked me, “does it have to be so neat? That would stress me out.” This friend is a straight A science prodigy who is an RN and scribbles for her notes.
I said, “yeah, it’s kind of like therapy for me, plus it helps me with recalling the information. I can just browse my brain for the image and remember what it says. If I wrote messy, then I wouldn’t be able to find any of it.”
Everyone is different, even best friends.
I suggest taking the time to see what helps you recall information better. Some people like to make notecards, others may like to highlight in the book and read from there, while some take straight up photos with their brain (I’m jealous of you, if you can do that).
Try different styles and test yourself to see which way(s) work best.
Mind Your Environment
I don’t study in my bedroom, if I can help it. With children running around, some days, it can’t be helped. Most of the time, I study at my desk in silence (for about 5 seconds until the kids realize I need silence).
My desk faces the window where I get a nice view of trees swaying and people rushing to and from work. It’s pretty sweet and helps me focus.
Don’t mix work and rest areas, otherwise you may confuse your body and hinder your information-absorbing powers.
To Music or To Not Music
I have never been able to study with any kind of background noise - music, white noise, etc. I needed complete silence. Oh my, how that has changed now that I don’t have that option anymore.
I’ve come to enjoy background noise. I have this app called Sleep Pillow. It helps me sleep with nature sounds, and now, I use it to help me study. I have a different set of sounds for sleeping and studying, which helps my brain differentiate.
Today, I found this playlist on Spotify called Deep Focus, and it’s really helping inspire me to churn out blog posts. It’s not distracting, and it is quite soothing.
There are channels on Youtube that do Study With Me videos, where the person records their study session to share so that it’ll be like you’re studying together. I’m considering making some videos like that if there is any interest, but we will see.
Enhancing Memory Recall
I go through my lectures like this:
Read the chapter to get an idea of what I’m going to be learning about.
Go through and take notes on all the bold terms and draw diagrams.
Complete the online homework and quiz questions.
Reviewing for Exams:
Complete Lab reports. This lets me review lecture and lab at the same time.
Go back through the chapters and answer the “thinking questions” and learning objectives. This helps me recall what I’ve read and taken notes on.
Read through notes and study diagrams.
Day before exam:
Browse through notes and anything I’m unsure of.
Use most of the day to relax and let the information absorb into my brain.
Taking Tests Efficiently
When I go in for an exam, I go in with a positive mindset. I have prepared for this. I am ready, and I will do well.
I go through the exam and look at all the questions.
I answer all of the questions I know for sure and mark the ones I don’t know or am not sure of.
I go back through and answer the ones I marked.
Sometimes, professors give you hints throughout the exam that will help you answer the other questions.
When I’m done, I look over the exam to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
Turn it in and go home.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Do I always do well? Nope, and I’m okay with that. I use this for fuel for next time.
I consider what I did and what I can do differently to do better. Next time, I do better.
So there you have my tips on taking notes and memorizing information. I hope you found this useful in your study journey or satisfied your curiosity on how I go about my student days.