Studying is a huge part of any school program, but it’s bigger than most if you’re studying healthcare, because everything you learn is essential to future patients’ wellbeing.
Whether you’re an OTA or nursing student in Utah—or anywhere—you have a lot to memorize, practice, and read. You only have a certain number of months to learn and master all the knowledge required to be a nurse. As a result studying often takes many hours every day, in addition to everything you learned and spent doing in class or clinical. Because it’s something you have to do, studying feels like a chore, but you can make it more pleasant with these five study strategies.
One of the many benefits of having a cohort in nursing school or any program is the fact that you’re doing everything together. You’re learning the same material, up against the same deadlines, and (frequently) stumped about the same problems. Studying can feel isolating, which only makes it all the more miserable—but one of the best study strategies is remembering you don’t have to prepare for every test and project on your own.
Invite a friend from class to study together at the library, a café, or your apartment. You can both review the material and identify the more challenging areas, and hopefully help each other work through and practice difficult concepts or skills. Larger study groups can also make the work more social and less like a chore, but be careful to stay on track. You’re all there to study, so make sure you do that before turning the focus to other things.
“Studying” immediately conjures up an image of being hunched over a pile of books, maybe under bleak florescent lights. Unless you’re a natural reader who curls up with a book every chance you get, the idea of pouring over words for hours and hours isn’t pleasant. Studying, though, can be more physical, engaging more of your body than just hands flipping pages.
Making flashcards, drawing creative diagrams, and acting out lab duties all require more movement than sitting with a textbook, and they all help you learn just as much, maybe more. Any good healthcare program in Utah and throughout the country will require a lot of reading, but even that can be made tactile. Highlight as you read. Take notes. Maybe even walk on a treadmill with the articles your instructor assigned. The more you move and engage your body as you study, the less it feels like a chore.
Choosing a study reward doesn’t just motivate your brain to focus on the material at hand: It makes studying more fun. If you know that after you review your lab values you’ll get to call a friend or walk outside and experience the beauty of Utah, you’re going to enjoy that study session a lot more. Whether it’s just 15 minutes with a flashcard app or five hours of preparing for the NCLEX, find a way to reward your efforts every time you study.
Related Resource: How to Choose a Carrot: Tips for Finding Your Study Reward
A lot of music will just distract you as you’re trying to focus on fabricating dental crowns or reading about pathophysiology. Most songs with lyrics can keep your brain from fully comprehending the material at hand, but it really depends on the students. One genre, however, has been proven to not just complement studying but enhance it: Classical.
The University of Southern California found that classical music “benefits the brain, sleep patterns, the immune system, and stress levels.” All of that comes in handy for any study session, especially end of term exams, but the pure beauty of Mozart and Brahms also just makes studying more pleasant. Even if you rarely listen to symphonies while driving or jogging, try it the next few times you study and see if it begins to feel less arduous.
Where you study matters, not just for knowledge retention but how well you enjoy studying. Sometimes you need to try a few different areas and places before you find the environment that best supports learning, but once you pick a spot, you need to make it a place you enjoy being. Proper lighting, some air-purifying houseplants, and comfortable furniture can help make studying less of a chore, and maybe even something you enjoy.
Related Resource: 10 Tips for Creating Your Ideal Study Space
At Joyce, we want to help our students be the best they can be, and that requires using effective study strategies to learn and master their material. In all of our OTA and nursing programs in Utah, we work alongside our students to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. If you’re interested in any of these programs, reach out to us! We would love to hear from you.