How I take notes in nursing school

Be addicted to your passions and not your distractions

Taking notes in nursing school is completely different and the reason being is that the professors usually don’t share power point slides and even if they do, it is pretty vague. They expect you to read the books and understand what they explain in lecture. There is no such thing as memorization in nursing school because all the tests and exams are applied knowledge based.

When I was doing my prerequisities all my notes were neat and clean. They were all rainbows and sunshine (literally!) because I had all the time in the world to decorate with different color pens, and highlight. I had to completely change my style of taking notes when I started my nursing classes. Pretty bummed by it because my notes aren’t as pretty but it’s organized.

Before taking notes, I always read the materials ahead of time. This keeps me focused in class and I understand what the professor is talking about. If I missed anything while reading or had any questions, I would write them down and get it cleared out at the end of class.

So here are the changes I made while taking notes this semester:
1. I use only one type of black ink pen for all my note-taking. It’s the zebra black ink in 0.5 mm tip and it keeps your handwriting neat. This saves my time since I am not constantly changing the colors of the pen in between writing.

The best pen for note-taking.

2. I use the Stabilo Boss highlighter to highlight main points. This highlighter does not smudge your ink and dries quickly. It gives the highlighting a clean finish.

The pastel color is my absolute favorite.

3. There are so many different ways to take notes and it really depends on the person. I feel like the outlining method works best for me and this is how I usually take my notes. I personally don’t like the Cornell method only because it tends to get messy for me.

Outline method

I write down questions on the bottom of my notes if I have any. Because questions pop up when you have covered a certain amount of topics.

I, also have a group study sessions with like 2-3 people and we usually meet up on zoom after we have covered the materials for exam on our own. That way we don’t waste time on going over everything but rather have all the questions ready in hand. It is always best to ask questions to your friends because they might understand a topic (that you’re having difficulty in) in a much simpler and better way and help you out with it.

If you have issues trying to figure out what note-taking methods work best for you, I’d recommend picking a few and giving them a try. See which one you like better and which one helps you take more meaningful notes.

Here are some note-taking methods that you can find online:
=>The outline method
=>The Cornell method
=>The boxing method
=>The charting method
=>The mapping method

As usual, if you have a different note-taking method that works for you, feel free to share on the comments down below! I’d love to learn more about it 🙂

Happy Studying!!

How I read from my textbooks and retain information

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader!

One of the hardest things about nursing school is that the professors are not lenient at all. You will come across very few who will care about you but some professors will not care at all. But you can’t take it to the heart because you are going to have to toughen up. Nothing in life comes easy.

You know how when people say you take things for granted till it’s gone. Well, one thing I took for granted was the PowerPoint presentations and study guides from previous semesters. As soon as I started my junior year of nursing school, I had to adjust to the different teaching methods. Some professors do not give out any PowerPoint slides or notes whatsoever. They expect us to read the entire chapters from the 2000-page textbook. It is ridiculous but you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do to pass.

At the end of the day, your grades lie in your professor’s hands and in your efforts. You can’t argue or change their teaching style. It does throw you off because now you have to build a newer strategy for studying. It was challenging for me to read the chapters from the textbook during the first week because I couldn’t retain any information. I was lost since I didn’t know what to really focus on. Everything seemed important but I wanted to know what was going to be in the exam!

So, three weeks into the semester, I developed a strategy/technique that has been working miracles for me while reading the textbook. I don’t know if it will work for everyone else but if you’re struggling, take notes.

This is how I have been doing my daily readings:

  1. Count the number of pages required for reading (this will tell you how much time you’ll need to spend).
  2. As you flip through the pages read the titles of the subtopics (this will help you to skim through the text).
  3. Read the summary/key points at the end of the chapter (this will let you know what to expect during your reading).
  4. Read the questions at the end of the chapter (just read them, you don’t have to find an answer, it will give you a glimpse of what to look out for).
  5. Read the first and last sentence of every paragraph and look out for any bold prints (this will give you an idea of what each paragraph is about and the bold prints will tell you what to keep in mind).
  6. Start reading the chapter ( this is where you begin).

I know this looks like a time-consuming technique but trust me it’s better than reading the entire chapter multiple times. After following steps 1-5, you can start connecting all the dots and everything will start making sense. You will even find answers to the questions that were asked towards the end of the chapter and have a better understanding of what the chapter is about.
If you do end up following my way of reading from the textbook and it works for you then don’t forget to share my page so others could benefit.
But if you’re using a completely different method that is working for you, don’t be shy to put it on the comment down below. I will definitely be more than happy to give it a try.


Nursing School: Week 1

……and so the journey begins!

Since I officially started with all my nursing classes, I will try to post every week or every other week with updates. I have been hearing how difficult nursing school is all along and now I am actually getting to experience it.

The hard bit about nursing school isn’t the course material but the amount of workload that is dumped on you. I started getting assignments from day one and the way I am staying on top of it is by practicing proper time management and planning. The moment all the syllabuses and weekly schedules were posted on blackboard, I started noting them down into my planner. I did it for the entire semester because I wanted to be able to get a head-start.

Sample monthly planner

This is how my monthly planner looks like. I got the one with big boxes and and an empty column on the right where I put down my weekly priorities. I have invested in multiple planners but this template seems to work best.

My planner looks a lot more busier than the sample one. I have something due literally every day and in three weeks I have my first three exams back to back. There is a lot of readings to do and some of the professors don’t like to share PowerPoints or even study guides.

This semester I took 17 credits (fundamentals of nursing, health assessment, critical thinking inquiry, cultural foundations of nursing, and a public health class) so I expect my schedule to be really hectic but I am mentally prepared for the challenge.

All my classes are online with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous mode of learning. However, my fundamentals class is in the simulation lab for now till we are ready to go to into clinicals which will be five weeks before the end of the semester.

So far, I got the hang of every class requirements and objective and, I am trying best to stop procrastinating because if I fall behind, I know it will be really difficult to catch up. I am making sure to read all the materials before signing into class. I started taking notes in the traditional way because last semester I realized that digital note-taking wasn’t for me. After every class is over I try to re-review everything.

I know it’s been only a week but I looked into my schedule and it only gets crazier with time. Click on the follow button and join me on this journey. My goal is to graduate by Dec 2022!