Getting into nursing school is often the first big hurdle, but passing nursing school brings its own set of challenges. With intense coursework, long hours, and high-pressure clinical rotations, nursing school requires commitment, organization, critical thinking, and stamina.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer to passing nursing school: Prioritize self-care, utilize all resources available, stay organized, develop critical thinking skills, and practice NCLEX-style questions.

In this comprehensive 3000 word guide, we will cover everything you need to know to be successful in your nursing program, pass the NCLEX, and kickstart an exciting career in nursing.

Manage Your Time and Prioritize Self-Care

When it comes to passing nursing school, managing your time effectively and prioritizing self-care are essential. Nursing school can be demanding, but with the right strategies, you can stay on top of your workload and take care of yourself at the same time.

Create a schedule and stick to it

One of the most effective ways to manage your time is by creating a schedule and sticking to it. Plan out your study sessions, class time, and any other commitments you have. By having a clear schedule, you can better allocate your time and ensure that you are dedicating enough time to your studies.

Designate study spaces

Having a designated study space can help you stay focused and minimize distractions. Find a quiet area where you can concentrate, whether it’s a library, a coffee shop, or a dedicated study room. Make sure your study space is well-organized and free from clutter so that you can stay focused on your work.

Take breaks

While studying is important, it’s also crucial to take regular breaks. Taking short breaks can actually improve your productivity and prevent burnout. Use your breaks to relax, stretch, or engage in activities you enjoy. This will help you recharge and come back to your studies with a refreshed mind.

Get enough sleep

Sleep is crucial for your overall well-being and academic performance. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Lack of sleep can affect your concentration, memory, and ability to retain information.

Prioritize getting enough rest to ensure optimal learning during your nursing school journey.

Eat healthy meals and stay hydrated

Proper nutrition is essential for maintaining energy levels and focus. Make sure to eat balanced meals that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day.

Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine and sugary snacks, as they can lead to energy crashes and hinder your ability to concentrate.

Exercise and meditate

Physical activity and mindfulness practices can help reduce stress and improve mental well-being. Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, whether it’s going for a walk, jogging, or attending a fitness class.

Additionally, consider practicing meditation or deep breathing exercises to help calm your mind and enhance your focus.

By managing your time effectively and prioritizing self-care, you can navigate nursing school successfully. Remember to create a schedule, designate study spaces, take breaks, get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, and engage in physical activity and mindfulness practices.

Taking care of yourself is just as important as excelling academically, so make sure to prioritize self-care throughout your nursing school journey.

Take Advantage of All Available Resources

One of the key factors to successfully pass nursing school is to make use of all the resources that are available to you. By utilizing these resources, you can enhance your learning experience and increase your chances of success.

Here are some ways to take advantage of the resources at your disposal:

Attend lectures and labs

Attending lectures and labs is crucial for gaining a solid understanding of the nursing concepts being taught. Paying attention in class, taking notes, and actively participating in discussions will help you retain information better.

It is also important to review your notes regularly to reinforce your learning.

Utilize office hours and tutoring

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your professors during their office hours if you need clarification or additional help with the course material. They are there to support you and can provide valuable insights. Additionally, if your school offers tutoring services, take advantage of them.

Tutoring can provide personalized assistance and help you grasp difficult concepts.

Form study groups

Studying with peers can be incredibly beneficial. By forming study groups, you can engage in discussions, share different perspectives, and test each other’s knowledge. Collaborating with others can help you fill in any gaps in your understanding and improve your overall comprehension of the subject matter.

Leverage your school’s academic support services

Most nursing schools provide academic support services to assist students in their studies. These services may include workshops, study skills sessions, or academic counseling. Take advantage of these resources to enhance your study techniques, time management skills, and overall academic performance.

Use supplemental books and online resources

In addition to the materials provided by your nursing school, consider using supplemental books and online resources to further enhance your understanding. These resources can provide additional explanations, practice questions, and real-life case studies that can deepen your knowledge and help you prepare for exams.

Remember, passing nursing school requires dedication, hard work, and utilizing all the resources available to you. By taking advantage of lectures, office hours, study groups, academic support services, and supplemental resources, you can enhance your learning experience and increase your chances of success.

Stay Organized

Staying organized is essential for success in nursing school. Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your coursework and assignments:

Use a planner or calendar

One of the best ways to stay organized is to use a planner or calendar to keep track of your schedule. Write down important dates, such as exams, assignments, and clinical rotations. By having a visual representation of your schedule, you can effectively plan your study time and avoid last-minute cramming sessions.

Take effective notes

Taking effective notes during lectures or while studying is crucial for retaining information. Develop a note-taking system that works for you, whether it’s using bullet points, diagrams, or highlighting key concepts.

Review and revise your notes regularly to reinforce your understanding of the material.

Track assignments and deadlines

Missing deadlines can be detrimental to your grades and overall success in nursing school. Create a system to track all of your assignments and deadlines, whether it’s using a physical planner, a digital calendar, or a smartphone app.

Set reminders for upcoming deadlines to ensure that you submit your work on time.

File papers and handouts

Keep your papers and handouts organized by creating a filing system. Use folders or binders to store your materials for each class. Organize them by subject or topic, making it easier to find specific information when you need it.

This will also come in handy when studying for exams or writing research papers.

Keep clinical materials together

For nursing students, clinical rotations are an important part of their education. Keep all your clinical materials, such as scrubs, stethoscope, and any other required equipment, in one designated area.

This will help you stay prepared and prevent any last-minute scrambling to find what you need before heading to the hospital or healthcare facility.

By staying organized, you can reduce stress, manage your time effectively, and improve your overall performance in nursing school. Implementing these strategies will not only help you pass your classes but also set you up for success in your future nursing career.

Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is an essential skill for nursing students to master in order to succeed in their studies and future career. It involves the ability to analyze and evaluate information, make sound judgments, and solve problems effectively.

Here are some key ways to develop critical thinking skills in nursing school:

Think through nursing concepts

One important aspect of critical thinking in nursing is the ability to think through nursing concepts thoroughly. This means understanding the underlying principles and theories behind different nursing interventions and being able to apply them to various patient scenarios.

By delving deeper into the concepts, nursing students can develop a more comprehensive understanding of the profession and enhance their critical thinking abilities.

Apply the nursing process

The nursing process is a systematic approach that helps nurses assess, diagnose, plan, implement, and evaluate patient care. By familiarizing themselves with this process and applying it to different case studies and clinical scenarios, nursing students can sharpen their critical thinking skills.

They will learn how to gather relevant data, identify potential problems, and develop appropriate interventions.

Improve clinical judgement

Clinical judgement is an essential component of critical thinking in nursing. It involves the ability to make decisions based on available evidence, experience, and intuition in a clinical setting. Nursing students can improve their clinical judgement by actively participating in clinical rotations, observing experienced nurses, and seeking feedback from mentors.

This hands-on experience allows them to develop their ability to assess patient conditions, identify potential complications, and make informed decisions.

Practice scenario-based questions

Scenario-based questions are commonly used in nursing school exams and licensure tests. These questions require students to apply their critical thinking skills to analyze a given patient scenario and choose the most appropriate course of action.

By practicing these types of questions regularly, nursing students can enhance their ability to think critically under pressure and make quick and accurate decisions.

Learn to prioritize and rationalize interventions

Prioritization and rationalization of interventions are vital skills for nurses, especially in fast-paced and high-stress environments. Nursing students can develop these skills by practicing prioritization exercises and discussing case studies with their peers.

They will learn how to determine the most urgent needs of patients, devise a plan of care, and justify their decisions based on evidence-based practice and patient outcomes.

Developing critical thinking skills is an ongoing process that takes time and practice. However, by actively engaging in these strategies, nursing students can enhance their ability to think critically, make sound judgments, and provide safe and effective care to their patients.

Practice NCLEX-Style Questions

One of the most effective ways to prepare for the NCLEX exam and succeed in nursing school is to practice NCLEX-style questions. These questions are designed to mimic the format and content of the actual exam, helping students become familiar with the types of questions they will encounter and the critical thinking skills needed to answer them correctly.

Use NCLEX review books and online resources

There are numerous NCLEX review books and online resources available that provide a wide range of practice questions. These resources often include detailed explanations for the correct answers, helping students understand the underlying concepts and rationale behind each question.

Some popular review books include “Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination” and “Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN”. Online platforms such as UWorld and Kaplan also offer extensive question banks and practice exams.

Focus on practice questions to reinforce knowledge

While it is important to study the theoretical aspects of nursing, focusing on practice questions can help reinforce the knowledge gained. By actively engaging with the material through practice questions, students can identify areas of weakness and further enhance their understanding of key concepts.

Moreover, answering practice questions regularly can improve critical thinking skills, time management, and decision-making abilities, all of which are crucial for success in nursing school and the NCLEX exam.

Take assessment tests to identify weaknesses

Assessment tests are an excellent tool for identifying areas of weakness and tracking progress. These tests can pinpoint specific topics or content areas that require additional attention and review. By identifying weaknesses early on, students can allocate their study time more efficiently and focus on areas that will have the greatest impact on their overall performance.

Learn effective test-taking strategies

Developing effective test-taking strategies is essential for success on the NCLEX exam. Beyond knowing the content, understanding how to approach different question types and manage time effectively can significantly improve performance.

Strategies such as prioritizing questions, eliminating obviously incorrect choices, and utilizing the process of elimination can help increase the chances of selecting the correct answer. Students can find valuable test-taking tips and strategies in books, online resources, or by seeking guidance from experienced nursing educators or professionals.

Simulate the testing environment

Simulating the testing environment during practice sessions can help students become more comfortable with the actual exam conditions. Finding a quiet and distraction-free area, setting a time limit for each practice session, and adhering to the same rules and regulations as the actual exam can create a realistic test-taking experience.

This approach can help reduce anxiety and improve focus and concentration when it comes time to take the NCLEX exam.


Nursing school presents unique challenges, but being prepared with strong study skills, critical thinking, time management, and self-care will set you up for success. Make the most of all resources available and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.

With focus, determination, and practice, you will pass nursing school and advance in this rewarding profession.

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