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Study Habits of Successful Nursing Students

Ever find yourself wondering about the study habits of successful nursing students? While no two students are exactly the same, the most successful nursing students often share these habits. As a nursing instructor, I have had the privilege to see these students in action. Here is my take on the study habits of successful nursing students and how you can copy these habits for yourself!


Successful nursing students are organized. They pay particular attention to what needs to be studied and when. These nursing students always seem to know exactly what chapters will be on the test and what experiences are available to make the most of clinical rotations.

Copy this habit:

Get yourself organized. Pick a calendar app or use good ol’ fashioned pen and paper, and start keeping track of what you need to know and when. Write down test dates, assignment due dates, chapter readings, and anything else that needs to be done so you are always up to date on the expectations of your course.


Successful nursing students are consistent.  They set aside time to study every day or at least every week. They don’t try to cram because they have been consistently spending time on studying.

Copy this habit:

Staying on top of studying in nursing school can be achieved by making a study schedule and sticking to it. Reach for that calendar again and block out time every week to devote to your studies. Instead of trying to squeeze study time, make studying the priority and work your other activities around your study schedule so you know you have time to study on a consistent basis.

Don’t Take Short-Cuts

Successful nursing students don’t look for or take short cuts when it comes to studying. They read the assigned materials and pay close attention to course expectations.

Copy this habit:

It might be tempting to skip the week’s reading or simply gloss over the assignment instructions for the week. Don’t do it! Devote the time and energy you need to in order to do things right. Read the assigned materials and don’t look for ways to cut corners. Sure, there are ways to study efficiently and you should look into how to make the best use of your study time. But, don’t look for ways to cut corners. Yes, it can be tough but taking shortcuts can lead to mistakes that can negatively impact your success.

Speak Up

Successful nursing students ask questions. They aren’t afraid to raise their hands in class and seek clarification about course content. They reach out to others for ideas and suggestions.

Copy this habit:

Raise your hand or stop by your professor’s office during office hours. Speak up about things you don’t understand and get the assistance you need to feel confident with your learning. Get in contact with other nursing students to discuss what you are learning to see how they are understanding the material. Use your resources to improve your study approach by speaking up about what’s not working for you.

Seek the Link

Successful nursing students are good at finding ways to build upon what they already know or apply what they are learning to their future as a nurse. They are able set their understanding of new material by creating these associations.

Copy this habit:

Learning isn’t about memorizing.  Learning is about building knowledge. Look for ways to build upon what you already know or have experienced with what you are currently learning. Use strategies to form connections between what you are learning now and what you want to be doing in the future. It is easier to retain new information what you have connected it to some other knowledge or experience.


There are many study habits that contribute to being a successful nursing student. Not everyone will pick up on all these habits but striving to incorporate them will help you make it through nursing school successfully and meet your educational goals.

About Stephanie

Stephanie is a contributor to the NCLEX-RN Blog at Magoosh. She has been a registered nurse for 13 years. She earned her AAS in Nursing from community college before enrolling as an online student at Grand Canyon University, where she completed both her BSN and MSN with an emphasis in Nursing Education. Student success is her top priority and she is committed to working with her students to see them thrive. When she isn’t teaching the nurses of tomorrow, Stephanie enjoys traveling with her family to warm, sunny places.

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