Many nursing schools are offering online RN to BSN programs to enable working nurses to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree without attending on-campus classes. Learning how to study effectively can be one of the major demands you face as an online nursing student. Here are some study tips for online RN to BSN students.
Completing nursing courses online requires being organized so that you don’t miss important due dates.
If you work best from hard copies, print all of your syllabi, get a calendar, and write all deadlines, exams, quizzes, discussion board post due dates, and papers on the calendar. Keep everything in an expandable and portable file so you can take your course schedule information with you as needed.
If you are a digitally-oriented person, enter deadline information into your online calendar and set prompts and reminders to keep yourself on track.
Either way, you will need to schedule time both to study and to complete assignments.
Plan and Prepare
Online RN to BSN degree programs typically encompass more writing than you might be accustomed to in your nursing education up to this point. Managing your time appropriately so that you’re not writing papers and discussion board posts last minute is very important. For example, if you know you have a paper due in two weeks, schedule time in advance. Write the outline one day, complete your research, then write the first half of the paper another day. Add a day to complete the second half of the paper and edit the entire draft on yet another day. You'll have fresh eyes each day, produce higher quality work, and not waste time with writer's block because you already have a plan in place.
Create Your Space
Create a dedicated studying, writing and posting area. Have your computer front and center with all of your links to your online courses and resources bookmarked for easy reference. Post your calendar, complete with all due dates and scheduled writing and studying, on the wall above or next to your computer. Organize your digital files in folders on your computer and follow a file naming convention that makes it easy to identify assignments.
We get stressed and frustrated when things do not work properly or we cannot find what we need. Having your area neat and tidy with everything easily accessible minimizes these occurrences.
Focus When You’re Studying
When you sit down to study, make sure it’s when you are alert. Reading when you are half asleep means you won’t retain the information. Read in short chunks, taking frequent breaks.
For example, if you have an exam that covers 100 pages of material, schedule yourself to go over the material in two to three hours and take a five-minute break every 30 minutes. Highlight the important things and schedule yourself to go over the highlighted material for an hour the following evening. Then, try to explain the material to someone else. If no one else is available, just say it out loud to see if it makes sense.
Additionally, study in a quiet place when possible. Let family members or roommates know that you need to study. Try not to have a TV on in the background. If you need some sort of noise, turn on a fan or download a white noise app on your phone instead. Light classical music is also another great option.
Black Out Social Media
When you’re doing all of your work on the computer, it’s tempting to pull up your internet browser to check Facebook, Twitter, or your personal email messages. The five minutes you were meaning to spend can turn into 30 minutes very quickly. Before you know it, you have wasted a significant portion of your planned study time.
During scheduled study times, don’t look at anything else but your material. Close all tabs except your online nursing information. Don’t look at social media during your five-minute break. Get up, walk around, get a snack, etc. Force yourself to go without any media at all for your allotted study time. If you do this, you will end up spending less time studying because you will be much more focused.
The studying required for an online RN to BSN program can be challenging, but following these study tips can help you manage it. With the right preparation, organization, study space, and focused, social media-free study time, you can complete your BSN efficiently, minimizing your stress and maximizing your success.
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