August 16, 2007


On someone asked about the "highlighter system" and how to use the different colors. I know this is a biggie for all new nusring students. Some may scoff at this,think it's stupid and it kinda is, but keeping organized is key during school. So this is my reply for anyone who may need some ideas. This has always worked for me:

I always have one color for what the instructor reads from the book, sometimes it's a lot, sometimes it's one sentence from a paragraph. From my experience at my school, our tests are from the instructors lectures, not from the book necessisarily. I use another color for items pointed out that they "said" would be on the test. This doesn't always mean they'll put it on there, but you can never be certain. I use another color for key terms, lab values and meds etc... that we are told to know.

I always record lecture on my digital recorder and I listen and write down almost every word they said in a set of notes that I mix with my book highlights (above) and any handouts. Once I have all of my notes made from handouts, lecture (recorder) and my book notes/highlights I ONLY study that. I also put it in the order in which it was taught. This repetition helps me remember and recall info. During tests I've actually visualized the page and where on the page I had certain info (top, middle etc..) If you're a visual learner than you'll find you will do this as well.

Helpful Hint:I know this sounds cooky, but I will sometimes draw some silly something at the top of each page. (Smiley face, stars, etc..). It also helps me recall the page during a test and remember what content was on the page. (It works for me!) There have been countless times where I will have 30-40 pages, front and back, of hand written notes for one test, so anything that helps is good. My friend and I also made characters (drawn-horribly-ha!) for people with certain illnesses, mosty for the neuro section because all of the diseases started to run together. Ex: Parky Parkinson . When we took the test and we had questions on that particular illness we would think to what they looked like (shaky hands, shuffled gait etc..) I know it sounds like rubbish, but this helped us distinguish between the different illnesses. It's no different that making up silly ways to remember lab values etc...

Back to the notes: I put all of my notes in ONE place so when I start to study, it's all there, organized, in my notebook and I don't have 14 different things to study from. I also highlight the main topic of every section and put 3 stars next to anything I know to be highly important. This system has always worked for me, hopefully it will work for me this semester as well...

I know everyone has their own style, and you should find what works best for you. These are just some things that has always helped me to remember, since I don't have a mind like a steel trap . Good luck to you!!!

p.s. As for your calendar of events, keep it all on a planner or on a calendar. Highlighting test dates in one shade and another shade for skill tests always worked well for me. Believe me, you won't forget when you have something important due or to do, highlighter or no.

This stuff about the characters that my friend and I made up it totally true. Weird, but true. I remember one specifically and her name was Britney Brain Abcess. This was right after Britney Spears shaved her head so we gave our character a shaved head and she had a big ole lump on it. Ha! I remember during the exam thinking back to the picture we drew and the story we made up about Brit being dizzy and it helped me answer a couple of questions. I'm very much a visual learner and have used those tools countless times during tests. So far, so good.

Good luck to all who are starting their nursing school journey and congratulations!