Coming Around on Study Buddies (Kind Of)
I’m deep into my second semester now, with only six more
weeks of class and three more clinical weekends. With everything quickly coming
to a head, it’s gotten to the point where it feels like I’m taking a test or
turning in an assignment every few days. I’m sure many students are dealing
with the same issues, and so I thought it would be appropriate to discuss study
Generally, I prefer to study alone. I’m an outliner. Even if
a teacher provides me with a PowerPoint outline, I outline that outline. It’s my
process. I like retyping my notes, having Google and my book on hand to flesh
out any confusing aspects. Once I’m done doing that, I get the best results by
reading aloud to myself, explaining things as if I were preparing to give a
That’s just my way – at least it has been since I started my
first tour of college back in 2004 (before that, studying was less a process,
more a cramming session or mere fluke happenstance). Up to this point, it’s worked
really well for me.
Despite this, I recently have come around to the idea of
study buddies. I’m not a total convert. I’m not meeting up with my group every
week or anything like that. However, I have become a big fan of meeting up with
a group think tank two to three hours before a scheduled test.
Theoretically, I believe this to be more effective than
studying together. If we had done so, we’d all have focused on the same things
and would essentially be of the same mind. In this way, we all bring our separate
studying experiences to a meeting and then compare knowledge, helping fill in
the gaps for one another.
For instance, a few weeks back, I mentioned the ABCDE method
of assessing suspicious lesions to a friend during a session. He had overlooked
that aspect during his studies, and so I gave him the rundown (Asymmetry, Borders, Color change, Diameter, Elevation/enlargement). On the ensuing test, that topic presented
as a five-point fill-in, and he was able to answer it with no problem. I have
benefited in similar ways – I came to realize I had majorly misinterpreted my
notes on fetal positioning during the birthing process by listening to another
student discuss the idea at a recent meeting, and so when a question popped up
on the test, I was ready for it.
With finals looming, I encourage anyone looking to improve
their study habits to give this method a shot. Not only does it help improve test
scores, but it also seems to aid in knowledge retention, which is the ultimate
goal and should go a long way toward improving our abilities as nurses.