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Study Tips for Online Nursing Students

Nalea Ko, MFA
Updated August 29, 2022
    Getting through online nursing school can be a challenge, particularly for working adults and parents. Can you do online nursing school? Read these 10 tips for online success.
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    Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

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    Online nursing school offers many benefits to modern students who need to earn a paycheck while they receive an education. Busy working students need flexible courses to accommodate their schedules. As a result, many online nursing classes take place in an asynchronous format, which allows students to complete their coursework and assignments when most convenient. This differs from synchronous programs with fixed class times. In some cases, programs may feature both asynchronous and synchronous formats.

    Online learning requires students to be independent, self-directed learners. Without personal interaction between peers or instructors, students may fall behind. It takes about 3-4 years to complete a bachelor’s in nursing and about two years to earn a master’s in nursing. Throughout that time, online learners must possess strong time management and organizational skills to succeed.

    To help learners improve their study skills, we have gathered 10 tips for online success.


    1. Take Student Assessments

    Every student learns differently. To learn more about your personal strengths, you can take a diagnostic student assessment through your college. Schools often use learning assessments to place students in math or English classes, or to identify learners who may need tutoring help or increased accessibility.


    2. Get Organized

    Organization can improve your studying habits. The independent nature of online learning means students have the sole responsibility of keeping deadlines for papers and assignments. Being organized includes tidying your computer desktop, creating digital folders for each class, backing-up your devices to an external hard drive or cloud, and using a print or digital calendar.


    3. Manage Your Time

    Without in-person instruction, students often struggle with time management. The Pomodoro Technique can help students eliminate distractions and stay on task. This strategy advises students to study nonstop for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Students then repeat this process until study completion.


    4. Set Boundaries

    Going to college does not mean eliminating your social life. Succeeding in online nursing school means balancing school, work, and play. Make time for studying and enjoyable activities, such as social media and spending time with friends and family. Many apps like Stay On Task and OFFTIME help students to unplug from their devices to focus on their studies.


    5. Join a Study Group

    Reach out to your classmates to form a study group. You can hang out virtually or meet in-person, if everyone lives locally. Keeping in contact with your peers helps with accountability and staying on track with deadlines and assignments. The camaraderie of meeting regularly with classmates also gives you a community of support after college.


    6. Tidy Your Study Area

    Every student needs a designated study area, whether they use a desk or a kitchen table. The space should also have adequate lighting and space for books, a computer, and materials. Organizing your study space makes focusing on your homework easier, especially when you take remote classes.


    7. Read Out Loud, Write It Down

    As many studies have shown, reading material out loud helps students process information into their long-term memory. This studying trick also helps students spot typos or confusing sentences in their writing. Writing your studying notes by hand with a paper and pen also enhances long-term memory.


    8. Ask For Help

    Studying nursing online does not mean you have to do everything alone. Many colleges offer online tutoring services for a variety of subjects. Make appointments before assignment due dates. It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes on your essay or help you prepare for an exam. Instructors also hold online office hours for students to seek additional help.


    9. Practice Self-Care

    Arrange a specific time in the day to study and do not give into distracting thoughts. Set daily or weekly goals for yourself. When you reach those goals reward yourself with a treat, such as a walk outside or a cup of coffee. Researchers have found continuous studying to be ineffective. Taking breaks not only makes you feel better, but it can help you improve your concentration.


    10. Find Nursing Exam Study Guides

    At the start of your educational journey, graduation seems like a distant dream. However, school ends faster than you can imagine. Nursing students do not take the NCLEX until after they graduate, but they can get a head start by reviewing the Pearson VUE exam software or browsing NCLEX informational factsheets.

    Feature Image: FG Trade | Getty Images / Getty Images