How I Studied for the GRE

GRETo be perfectly honest, I really didn’t want to take the GRE. I am not one of those people who love standardized tests. But after speaking to one of my good friends, I was decided to take the exam. Although there are plenty of graduate nursing programs that do not require the GRE, there are schools that require the GRE.  To reach the highest academic level of nursing (PhD, DNP), majority of programs require the GRE.

I did well! Here are the tools I used to study at home and at my own pace.

1. Magoosh GRE 

I highly recommend using Magoosh, especially since the entire study program is online. There are detailed videos on how to answer math, verbal, and the writing section. There are over 1000 questions ranging from easy, medium, hard and very hard. The format and types of questions is nearly the same as the actual GRE so you’ll get plenty of practice from day one. And yes, you do get use a onscreen calculator, a pencil and scratch paper for the real exam.

They also have apps for the iPhone and Android so you can practice vocabulary on the go and watch videos!

2. 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

5lb book of GRE practice problemsThere is a verbal and a math diagnostic test to take to find out your weaknesses. Then I did every third question in the math to get through the book thoroughly. While it’s huge, I highly recommend getting the paperback copy.

3. Manhattan Prep: Reading Comprehension & Essays GRE Strategy Guide

51r7AA89kUL._SL160_This is great for reading comprehension and especially the writing portion. There are 2 sections: one is creating an argument and the other is to take apart an argument. This text is great with the general topics to break down. The GRE actually has every possible topic that could show up on the exam on its own website. The Magoosh blog has shortened the list to something much more manageable that you should practice brainstorming prior to the exam. Personally, I bought the kindle version and thought that it did the job.

I spent about 2 months studying while working full time. If you’re thinking about taking the GRE, go for it!! Let me know if you’re planning on taking it or need any help.

Also, this is my first time linking products from Amazon. If you enjoy reading my blog, at no cost to you, it’d be great if you could buy anything from Amazon through my link. I’d earn a small commission and really appreciate your help! Thanks.

How to Study in Nursing School

How to Study in Nursing School

A couple of people have contacted me to ask how I studied during nursing school. These individuals have completed a bachelor’s already (either recently or it had been awhile since they’ve been back in school), but felt that nursing school was different and wanted some advice.

Of course, this is just the way I studied. It is not the only way or even the best way. Just my way.

On the first day of school, you will receive a syllabus for each class. Right away, write down (or enter in) all of the exam dates and due dates for assignments. Personally, I put them into Google Calendar and have it synced to my phone. That way I have that information all the time.

There are 3 major steps:

  1. Prep
    • Minimum: Print out the powerpoint slides and read through it. This way, you’re familiar with the material and can follow along in class.
    • Maximum: If you have extra time, the syllabus will have readings that you’re supposed to do. Read the headings.
  2. Lecture and Take Notes
    • Go to lecture and take notes on the powerpoint slide. If the professor repeats it twice, then it’s super important!
    • Since you’re more familiar with the material from the prep work, you can ask questions on anything that doesn’t make sense to you.
  3. Review
    • Review all of the powerpoint slides and your notes as soon as you can after class (preferably within 24 hours). These slides are your keys to success.
    • If you still don’t get the material, read the text.
    • Once you feel comfortable with the material, do a group study. If you can teach it and talk about it, you got it.
    • Memorizing the material is helpful. Utilizing it will help you remember it forever.
    • Chances are, the textbook has NCLEX style questions at the end of the chapter or even online on the textbook website. Do them!
      • By the way, NYU has nearly all of the textbooks on reserve at the Bobst library. That means you can borrow it for 2 hours at a time. If no one else has requested that some book, you can re-borrow it over and over again.
      • Some students used additional NCLEX books. The one I liked the most was Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment by Linda LaCharity.
    • If that doesn’t help, make an appointment with the professor for office time.

Nursing school is really about gathering a working knowledge base. It is not about memorizing something, cramming everything in, and then forgetting everything you learned. Even if you spend 30 minutes everyday reviewing the slides, it will help you retain the information.

Review everyday or at minimum every other day. I did shorter study sessions and even studied on the go when I was busy. I tried to get in 1-2 hours daily. That doesn’t mean it has to be all at the same time. It was just 1-2 hours over the course of the day. Remember, quality over quantity!!

1 week before an exam, I would increase my study hours to around 3-6 hours per day, or even more (yes, I have woken up at 7:30am, got the library by 8am and studied past midnight… only to repeat it again the next day. It didn’t happen too often though… just for Adult and Elder 2 or Med/Surg 2.).

 

Studying on the Go

Traveling on the train is common in NYC. Instead of taking out all of my paper slides on the train, I whip out my iPhone to review the slides. The program I used is GoodReader. I downloaded the PDF version of the powerpoint slides onto GoodReader. You can do this through wifi, signing into the nyu.edu website and downloading it directly, Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Google Doc, etc. You can also highlight and write on the document  and create folders using GoodReader.

Anyway, good luck! Let me know what has worked for you.