How did you learn to tie your shoes as a child? Repeatedly tying your shoes.
How did you learn multiplication tables in elementary school? Practicing those flashcards again and again.
How did you learn the lyrics of that new song as a teenager? You put the song on replay and heard it over and over until you memorized the words without even trying.
And now in nursing school, how do you learn anything so that it is retained and ingrained better, both for you nursing school exams and your nursing school career? The answer is reviewing the information you are learning again and again until it becomes a part of you! Whether the task is mastering a practical skill or an intellectual concept, in due time with continual practice, that information will become second nature to you.
The powerful part about review is that it pays dividends to review what you have already spent valuable time learning. Reviewing boosts the productivity of your study time tremendously because it cements that studied information in your brain more and more with each review.
Let’s be honest. Who wants to limit the potency and effects of arduous study time in nursing school by simply failing to refresh the brain with that new information? Review may not be fun as it takes discipline and hard work, but it certainly isn’t as hard as re-learning the information all-together. And the beautiful part it, review gets quicker and easier each time it is done. Eventually the information you are reviewing will “click” and become so easy to recall (like tying your shoes) that you won’t have to review it as often or as long for that information to be readily available at your brain’s beck and call.
Review is an investment that will not go wasted – an investment into your study time, your overall learning, your career, and your sanity!
Here are 3 Keys for Reviewing:
- Have a dedicated time for review – unless you actively prepare a time for review, it probably won’t happen. Planning a time for review includes knowing what days and at what time and for how long you will review. “Daily review” at least 5-6 days a week for 10-30 minutes a day is a good goal to aim for, but even if you only have 5 minutes some days, something is better than nothing. What is most important is regularity, consistency, and habit formation.
- Have a specific review plan – keep your plan simple rather than complicated. The newest and hardest information for you should be reviewed very regularly, and the easier and older information you have learned can be reviewed less and less frequently, such as every week, every month, or just right before the final exam. Once information you have been reviewing “clicks” and you can effortlessly recall it, stop reviewing that information as frequently and spend that time solidifying information that is not sticking with you as quite as easily yet. Of course, it would be extremely overwhelming to review everything you have ever learned in nursing school. That is not the point. Focus on reviewing only the information you are currently learning in the classes you are currently taking. More than likely, future classes and clinicals will build upon that previous knowledge as you progress through nursing school.
- Have the review material easily accessible – having review material distinctly marked is imperative so you don’t waste precious review time merely trying to find what you need to review! If you use flashcards you can use small designated ziplock bags for those items that need review. If you use handwritten notes or printed PowerPoints, you can mark areas for review with sticky notes such as yellow sticky notes for daily review and blue ones for weekly review. If you use electronic notes, you can highlight areas that need more active review.