10 Tips for Preparing for Nursing School

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When preparing for nursing school, it’s important to consider changing your study habits, finding new ways to get organized, and creating a structured routine. Be sure to have a solid support system and to take advantage of the resources the admissions staff can provide.

nurses talking together while standing at hospital desk

If you’re considering pursuing your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, you need to make sure you’re ready for everything you’ll undergo during your time in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. Preparing for nursing school is the key to setting yourself up for success in our 16-month program.

While exciting, applying to nursing school can feel like a daunting undertaking. A BSN is a significant investment, and you'll want to have a plan in place by understanding how to prepare for nursing school.

Keep in mind that you will face challenges when you first start nursing school, and it might take some time to work out the specifics of your schedule. Although there isn't a set way to succeed in nursing school, we can give you some key nursing school tips for success.

1. Fine-tune your study habits

Adaptability will serve you well when studying for nursing school. While you may have had study tricks that worked for your previous education, it’s important to remember that the pace of an accelerated nursing program requires you to find a way to learn and retain information much more quickly.

Remember, our success coaches are also available to meet with you and assist you in developing study techniques if you are unsure of how to start studying for nursing school.

two ABSN students working in sim lab

So, how does an ABSN program work? We’ve got all the details in this blog post.

2. Create a routine

The next tip on preparing for nursing school is that while nursing school is challenging, it can be easier to manage if you implement a routine. It’s important to begin developing good habits and incorporating systems that support efficiency from the very start of your nursing education.

Here are some examples of how you might benefit from a solid routine in nursing school:

  • Set a consistent wake-up time and bedtime each day.
  • Schedule certain times to do your online homework.
  • Instead of cramming, study frequently on most days of the week.
  • Schedule particular study time on the weekends.
  • If you enjoy exercise, schedule a regular time each day.
  • Consider your strengths while scheduling your study time. For instance, if you concentrate better at night, plan an evening study schedule.
  • Plan extracurricular activities so they don't conflict with your key study times.

3. Get organized

The College of Mount Saint Vincent's ABSN program consists of nursing coursework, hands-on labs, and clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities. Each learning component has its own homework, quizzes, due dates, and expectations, so organization is key to keep track of everything.

Using a planner, online spreadsheet, or app can help you manage your schedule and keep you on track for all assignments, study periods, and deadlines.

4. Be prepared to commit your time to nursing school

The Mount’s ABSN curriculum is rigorous, and it requires the same time commitment as a full-time job. It’s not uncommon for nursing students to put in more than 40 hours a week on their studies and assignments.

Nursing students practicing on a manikin

As such, we do not recommend working full-time while pursuing your BSN. Keep your eye on the prize, and stay committed to learning. This will help you get the most out of your education and finish the program on an accelerated timeline.

5. Take advantage of resources

Preparing for nursing school means utilizing the many resources that are available to you. Our admissions staff can help you get all the information you need before you start the program. They’ll help you understand how to submit your application, explain what requirements and prerequisites you’ll need, and answer any questions you might have about the ABSN program.

Connecting with our staff is a great way to discover what you need to know about nursing school. They’ll help quell any anxiety you may be feeling about starting this new chapter of your life.

6. Take it one day at a time

Because the Mount Saint Vincent ABSN program operates on such a condensed timeline, you’ll need to understand a lot of new information in a short amount of time.

Your first day will be busy, and it may be overwhelming to see all the assignments, quizzes, lab work, and clinicals you’ll complete over the next 16 months. Try to remember that you can do this one day at a time, and although it will be challenging, you can succeed.

7. Understand that ABSN programs are unique

It’s important to prepare yourself for this new experience as just that — a completely new educational experience. While earning your previous degree may have come with some wiggle room, the accelerated path toward nursing does not. Even missing just one class can set you back. If you absolutely have to miss a class or lab period, make sure to communicate with your professor and get notes from a classmate.

Nursing students practicing on a manikin

8. Lean on your support system

You’ll need a strong support system to succeed in accelerated nursing school. Loved ones are often unabashedly encouraging in difficult times, and this is just what you need to keep going. Open up to them, and keep them involved in your day-to-day life.

Another important component of staying well is connecting with loved ones about their lives and activities. Hearing about things other than pharmacology and IV-line placement will keep you grounded and remind you that there’s a whole world outside of school.

If you have children at home, they can also be great at grounding and encouraging you. After all, if Thomas can succeed at saving all the trains, then you can surely study for this one exam.

9. Be prepared for the NCLEX

It’s vital you go into nursing school understanding that you will have to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Passing the NCLEX is key to earning your licensure to practice as a registered nurse. The exam can pose anywhere from 75 to 265 questions and last up to five hours.

Although your nursing school coursework will help prepare you for the NCLEX, it’s recommended you start intentionally studying for the exam about two months before you take it.

10. Remember why you want to be a nurse

The best way to reach your goal of becoming a nurse is by staying passionate about pursuing a career spent helping others. Nursing school will challenge you in ways you’ve never experienced, but remembering why you want to be a nurse will make all your hard work worth it.

9 nursing students smiling over a practice manikin

Start today

Now that you know how to prepare for nursing school, it’s time to get in touch with us at Mount Saint Vincent about leveraging your previous education to earn a BSN in as few as 16 months. Contact our admissions team at the College of Mount Saint Vincent’s ABSN program today.