Do you ever find yourself bored from reading your textbooks or endlessly going over your notes? There are other effective methods to learning, retaining, and reviewing material, such as study groups! Here are my top 10 tips on how to make the most out of a study session—from one nursing student to another!

1. Come prepared.

Make sure you bring all the necessary tools to effectively study. Before leaving the house, spend some time organizing all of your materials. It may be beneficial to mentally run through everything that needs to be covered to ensure you have the proper books, notes, and worksheets. Don’t forget a pen and paper just in case you want to write down some notes.

2. Study beforehand.

Review your notes, watch some Sketchy Nursing videos, and do some reading before going to the study session. This will help you feel more prepared and ready to tackle concepts you did not understand the first or second time around. 

3. Have an agenda in mind.

Before starting the study session, make sure everyone is on the same page about the topics that need to be reviewed. This will help the study group be more efficient and effective by staying on task. Often important concepts that may appear on exams are highlighted in the syllabus or an exam study guide.

4. Come with questions.

While you’re studying ahead of time, jot down questions to bring to the study group. There’s always loads of material to cover before exams, which makes it easy to forget questions. Write them down so you can gain clarification with the group! 

5. Bring brain food.

Don’t forget to bring snacks, water, and caffeine to help you power through the study session. There’s nothing worse than showing up to study with an empty stomach or struggling to stay awake.

6. Find colleagues who think differently than you.

It’s helpful to gather diverse opinions and thought processes. Studying with people who have different perspectives than you may help you see a contrasting point-of-view or better understand a concept. 

7. Ask for help.

Find classmates that are at the same level of knowledge or thoroughly understand concepts that you may be struggling with. This can be beneficial to ask questions, get clarification, and help you master tough topics. 

8. Time the study group.

Only allot a certain amount of time to study with a group, anywhere from two to four hours. This helps the group stay on task and study hard for the entirety of the study session.

9. Pick a quiet spot.

Suggest a location that is free of distractions for everyone, like a library or quiet coffee shop. This will help everyone focus on the meeting!

10. Know when to fold.

If the study session is not productive, don’t be afraid to excuse yourself. Thank everyone for their time, but do what is best for you and your studies!

Meaghan Foster, MD
Family Medicine 
Jasmine D. Thompson, MD 
Emergency Medicine
Austin E. Carmack, MD
General Surgery 
Alessandra Petrillo, MD
Internal Medicine 
Future Plans: Heme/Onc Fellowship
Arjan Ahluwalia, MD
Internal Medicine 
Future Plans: GI Fellowship
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