Disclaimer: I wrote this blog during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Everyone is currently on home quarantine, if you are reading this and the pandemic is over, thank God because it sucks.
Hi everyone, how’s everyone doing with their quarantine? I haven’t published anything in so long, although a lot of you had been in contact with me regarding NCLEX. I see that a lot of my readers are curious about the studying habits I did before I took the examination, how I got ready and how I aced it (thank God because I don’t want to be in that room any longer nor be in that room again!).
So how do we really prepare for an important exam?! I think there is really no proper preparation, this will depend on how you work as an individual; study habits, eating habits, activities of daily living and mental preparation, your available time (which you should have now that we’re all in quarantine, no excuses!) and your motivation.
I am giving your THREE MAJOR TIPS to maximize your learning! This may sound simple and easy, but if you really incorporate this to your learning habit, you will surely pass your NCLEX!
First, let’s talk about your study habits: Ask yourself these questions before you head on to your study table!
- How do I usually function as an individual? Am I a morning person or a night owl?
Now why do you have to ask yourself this? Its important to know how your brain process and retains information. Personally, I enjoy studying at night when everyone’s asleep and I could do my own thing without anyone disturbing me. I also value my long periods of sleep and I hate waking up early. You have to understand your body process, this is a trial and error practice. I’ve mastered the habit of studying at night way back when I was in high school and retained this till college. If you don’t know your studying habits and the best time that you retain information, now is the right time to start!
TIP: Try studying in the morning from 5am-9am with breaks and 10am-5pm with breaks, after those hours do everything you want for the rest of the day! Forget about studying, let your mind rest and sleep early! Do that for a week and see how your brain functions. This would be the same with the night time routine (7pm-11pm with breaks and 1am-4am with breaks!) with this, you have to be able to sleep in the morning or at least had naps in the afternoon so your brain can function well! Personally, I drink a cup of coffee when I’m already extremely sleepy while studying at night and then I succumb to a 20 minute nap, I wake up energized and my brain working well. This is because coffee takes in 20 minutes to actually kick in, so if you ingest a coffee when you know you are extremely sleepy and wake up 20 minutes after, you are maximizing the effect of the caffeine.
- What kind of a learner am I?
- Visual– I prefer to see visualizations in order to learn; charts, drawings, and any graphic presentations of how I can connect the scenario to a specific answer.
- Auditory– I prefer to sit down in a class, listen to youtube videos, watch and hear someone talk, and then repeat these points out loud to myself or in a conversation with someone that reviews the same thing (group studies) in order to retain the information.
- Reading/Writing– I like to read a lot of materials and write down important information, keywords and clues that I can remember for easy retainment. I also like making my own review materials and answering them with rationales so I can explain myself for a better understanding.
- Kinesthetic- I like to assign information to certain things/people; e.g. Apple is red, therefore it is blood. When you see, touch, eat, or do certain activities with that information, the brain retains it. Other than that, I like to put the information I learned into action for better retainment (e.g. performing CPR on a dummy)
So have you figured out your type? I am personally a visual and a reading/writing kind of learner. I usually sleep in class, copy my seatmates notes and usually ask questions when I don’t understand the written notes. I then write this extra information so I could remember it well.
TIP: The same thing when I was reviewing, I like to look at MNEMONICS (visual) and make my own (reading/writing) and post it on my wall so I can remember it. I also like to read books, write important cue and information for better retainment. I make sure I use two kinds of colored pen, blue for writing and red for the most important data. This trains your mind to remember the stuff better and the color “blue” keeps your brain awake and interested.
Read more: The VARK Modalities
- How do I prioritize my time during review hours?
Lastly, you should be able to know how you would prioritize your time and maximize learning.
TIP: Always study generally in a day, DO NOT focus on a topic and take as much questions as you can. Example, take at least 100 practice questions a day. After the answering the practice exam, you would be able to gauge your learning with the different topics that you have answered that day. Use this information to know on which system/topic you should put your focus first.
- Maternity: 2 out of 10 questions are correct.
- GI questions: 6 out of 10 questions are correct.
Decide afterwards if you want to master your GI since you have more correct answers than wrongs, or learn more about Maternity since you have more errors than your correct answers. With this, you would be able to gauge how much time you would want to spend on a topic. The more you know, the lesser the time you can spend on it, you can of course do this on lazier days or if you want to incorporate some studying on your “non-study” time; e.g when you just want to scan, you’re originally a night owl learner but had a boost of mind energy in the morning, do that during that time. But, the lesser your know, the more time you have to spend on it so make sure you plan out how your study session would go.
That’s it! 3 MAJOR TIPS for you to digest so you can train your mind in becoming a better student! What else would you like me to discuss after this? I am thinking….
UP NEXT: Study Materials for NCLEX, based on your learning type!