Study Tips and Tricks

Hey there! I’m here to show you how to efficiently study, and get ready for that next test/exam/midterm/final! These are some tips and tricks on how I personally study that have done wonders. So with a little technology, and organization, you can get that “A” you’ve always hoped for!

Notability

I have found this app to be very helpful every semester (especially all my prerequisites for nursing programs). Unfortunately you will have to pay for this app on the MacBook and iPad but it is absolutely worth every penny! I have used this app religiously in every class. Here are some screen shots of how I have organized my Notability app on my MacBook, iPad, and iPhone.

MacBook

NotabilityMac

iPad

NotabilityiPad

iPhone

NotabilityiPhone

There are so many great things you can do with this app. One of my favorites is to record lectures (when allowed), and as I’m highlighting/drawing/typing, the recording will sync with your modifications to the lectures. So, as your are listening to the lecture and want to skip around but aren’t sure when the professor mentioned “monosaccharides”, you can click on your text, drawing, or highlighting of where that slide is, and it will bring you to that point in the recording, awesome right?!

  • Side Note: While I’m listening to my lectures at home, I make more notes on the slides in case I forgot something.

You can also add pictures/videos/stickies, as well as change the size of your modifications with a simple pinch on the screen or track pad with the “dashed square icon” to draw around the part you want to make smaller or bigger. The search bar is great when you don’t have a recording but need to find information on one particular thing (ex. monosaccharides).

  • Side Note: Sometimes the search option doesn’t work depending on what kind of file your professor is using.

I personally use my iPad the most because of the option to use a stylus to draw or write notes. It is also very convenient to put in a bag/backpack instead of bringing a whole computer.

I use my iPhone is case of emergencies when I forget to bring the iPad or MacBook, and I can still record the lecture, as well as take notes on paper (it would look ridiculous trying to type of draw on a tiny screen).

  • Side Note: Lectures are downloaded onto the Notability App. I am able to download from my school’s site where the Professor has uploaded the lectures.

If your professor offers their lectures online, USE THEM!!! Either through the Notability App or print them out and write on them. Any information that is not mentioned in the slides, you should be writing down.

Outlines

I am a visual and kinesthetic learner, which means I have to either look at pictures, watch videos, and write/type notes over again.

Especially if the professor does not explain things very well; it is best if I rewrote their lectures with information I think/know will be important for the next text/exam/midterm/quiz… you get the idea! Microsoft Word has a fantastic template for outlines.

I like to start off my outlines with all the definitions at the top that I need to know that pertain to that lecture and every important subject after that with their sub-category/texts/lists/etc. Here is an example of my outlines:

OutlineLayout

When in Doubt… Write

When technology is not an option during a lecture, write what you can…

Different highlighters, pens, and whiteout are a must have. Using different colors have to do with the visual learner in me, as well as the kinesthetic learner with writing it down.

Unfortunately, I am not a reader because it bores me. I usually use the textbook in desperate measures (and I’m sure that will be changing once I start my nursing program). But if using the textbook is your thing, then I would suggest post-it notes, and rewriting anything you find informational (obviously). I don’t however condone writing and highlighting in the textbook (especially if it’s a rental or a book you plan on reselling).

 

As for right now, this is what I suggest using to stay successful! I will update by writing  another blog for when I’m in my nursing program. To see how I organize my school materials, see this post 🙂

Have a great day! 😀

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Binder Organization

I’m going to explain how I organize my binders for maximum use. If you are struggling on keeping your papers in order, keep reading!

“Applications for Nursing Programs” Binder

I don’t know what else to call this binder, other than my “Holy Grail” when I was applying to nursing programs. I felt so organized and had everything in one place.

IMG_2803

Here is a basic view of what my binder looks like (2 1/2″ Binder).

  • Pocket folders were dedicated individually to the nursing programs I applied to.
    • In the folders, I included information like:
      • transcripts needed for that program (one from each college I attended and my high school if needed)
      • the application
      • checklists that needed to be included with the application (provided usually online from the program website)
      • a checklist that I wrote of what I needed to do next
      • Post-its of important things I had to do or questions I needed to ask
      • Letters of recommendation/hours worked (paid and volunteer) (one from each place I worked)
      • Basically anything and everything that needed to be included with the application before handing it in
      • Any extra information I wanted to know for that specific nursing program (i.e. cost of the program, classes, etc)
  • Clear pockets were dedicated to:
    • Transcripts (opened and unopened) (EXTRA)
    • Class Descriptions (some programs required this in order to see if the class is equivalent to their prerequisites that they offer) (EXTRA)
    • Letters of Recommendations/Hours worked (EXTRA)
  • In the back of my folders:
    • I included any handouts/folders that were given to me from Nursing Workshops I attended or other BSN programs that interested me.
  • In the binders pockets (front):
    • Receipts for transcripts ordered
    • Various checklists of transcript orders
    • *I also had a document on my computer that I sometimes printed out that I used to keep myself up to date with the transcripts I ordered from the college or my high school/received from the colleges or my high school/sent electronically to the nursing programs/delivered in person to the nursing programs. This document also had questions I had and I answered them as I found out the corresponding information.
  • On the front of my folder:
    • I included an Excel spreadsheet of deadlines for each school. I used Disney character names to represent an example of each college’s information. It was a very easy a quick view for me to see what is up next. Here is an example:

ApplicationDeadlines

“Nursing Program” Binder

This binder is the one I am using to keep myself in order for the Nursing Program I got accepted into. It is a 1″ binder. Here is how it is organized:

  • Clear Pockets (Primary):
    • Included the Admission Packet that I took apart and put each page in a clear pocket. I then separated the pockets (with small post-its) and put them in sections that made sense to me. For example: Deadlines/Important Dates/General Information, payments on things I needed to have done like Background Check/Drug Test/CPR card (which I had)/TB tests/etc.
  • Clear Pockets (Secondary):
    • I have clear pockets behind the separated admission packet that included all the papers (individually) that I needed to turn into the Nursing Department in order to start the program. I kept extras for myself and extras that I will need to keep in my clinical folder.
  • Loose leaf paper:
    • Located in front of all the clear pockets, used to write down quick notes or checklists
  • 1 pocket folder:
    • Located behind all the clear pockets that includes any extra papers that aren’t necessarily important but good to have.
  • In the binders pocket (front):
    • Checklists of things I have already done and turned in
    • A list of what I have already purchased and the prices
    • Any paperwork I still need to take care of
    • Post-it notes of course, for questions I have/want to ask
  • On the front:
    • Just a paper that I have describing what the binder is for, for example: “Mickey Mouse Nursing Program – Handouts and Information”, and a cheesy faded motivational quote used as the background hahaha!

Any School Binder

I don’t use a big binder for school. I like to do my notes on my Notability app when possible. Other wise, I’ll take notes either in a notebook, or on loose leaf paper (that I will transfer into the notebook later on). This binder is 1/2″. Here is how it is organized:

  • Dividers:
    • Used to separate each classes syllabus and any important handouts given to me
      • I like the dividers with the pockets, so that you can put the handouts in the pockets or whatever is due the next class in those pockets.
  • Loose leaf paper:
    • For taking notes if I don’t have my notebook
    • To-Do checklists (which I will transfer into my school planner)
  • In the binders pocket (front):
    • Any old tests with its corresponding Scantron
  • Clear Pockets:
    • Used for quick access on things I want to keep protected and not lose. For example: in my medication calculations class, we were given a conversions chart for different conversions that we needed to remember.
  • *I also use one or two pocket folders for graded assignments/loose leaf notes/study guides/outlines I wrote/etc. These folders usually get huge over the semester, and I like to keep it separate from my binder because it is just clutter.

So now that you know my organization secrets, you can get started on creating the organized life you always wanted! You can do it!

Have a fantastic day! Ciao!

 

 

ADN vs. BSN Nursing Programs

There are pros and cons to ADN and BSN nursing programs. I’m going to talk about how I chose an ADN program over a BSN program. These are my personal pros and cons towards each program. You should make the decision that is best for you.

ADN Programs

Pros:

  • Only 2 years
  • Can still get a job without a BSN
  • CHEAPER

Cons:

  • Only achieve an Associate’s
  • Most hospitals require a BSN (or a plan to get your BSN)

 

BSN Programs

Pros:

  • Include classes not taught in an ADN program
  • Achieve a BSN (have the opportunity to get a higher education or stay at a BSN level)

Cons:

  • EXPENSIVE
  • 3+ years (depending on the route you take – accelerated program or not)

 

These are just some main “pros and cons” to each program. I personally have been going to my current community college for 5 years now, and I have realized that I have saved an enormous amount of money as compared to what I would have to spend at a (private) university. A private university was my first choice, but after thinking about it (and getting an offer for their waiting list), I declined the offer from that particular school, because I did not want to be in debt, and the distance was too far. I would have to end up staying in a dorm to not deal with everyday SoCal morning rush hour to get to classes on time.

I was fortunate enough to get accepted to the community college that I have already been attending for years (which was my second choice), and I am very grateful. I know the campus, buildings, policies, etc. Plus, I’m saving so much money and still getting the exact education (minus the leadership kind of classes you would get in your years in a BSN program). ADN programs also let you sit for your license and take the NCLEX exam. You can start working anywhere! Although, it is best to have a BSN degree because most (if not all) hospitals are starting to become “magnet”, which means they want all their nurses to have a BSN.

From what I have heard, you can get a job with an ADN as long as you are continuing your education. Some hospitals might even help you to go back to school. I have also heard of online BSN programs!

So again, it is up to you what route you want to take. If you are looking for a quick route, with no money problems, I would suggest to take the route of a BSN. If you are not looking into accelerated and expensive, I would take the route of an ADN. Either way you are almost getting the same education with the difference of a BSN offering some leadership classes and what not.

Choose wisely, and if you have any questions, please feel free to send me an e-mail! futurenursenicole@gmail.com

Have a lovely day! Ciao!