Secret of : BEST study methods to score HIGH on exams

You will need to do well on pre-requisite class exams, admittance exams, nursing exams and the final NCLEX exam to receive your RN license. In order to do well on these exams it is prudent to follow what research says is the best way to study for exams.

What does the research say?

What is the most effective way to study?

A research study of 80 undergraduates studying scientific material was utilized.


Four methods of study were used:

1). Study once.
2) Study in four consecutive sessions.
3). Elaborative study: study, then create a concept map of what was read in the text.
4). Practice retrieval ( study, then use a free-recall test, restudy of the text and recall again
One week later students took a short answer test with direct conceptual and inferential questions .

What method faired the BEST? All strategies performed better than the single study period. Retrieval practice was the BEST strategy, it produced scores 50% HIGHER than the elaborative study.

This study was repeated with 120 Biology students which involved using two biology texts and two test formats ( a short answer and one requiring creation of a concept map). Two study methods were used: one with elaborative study method for one text and retrieval practice for another.

The retrieval method produced better results on both tests: 84% of students performed better with retrieval practice than elaborative study.

What is Retrieval method? ….What this means to you is: never skip the review questions at the back of the chapter. You will want to utilize study methods where you will need to retrieve the information. Either by using questions or having a partner ask you questions. Use Sample tests! Use books that are made for NCLEX review and are divided by subject matter. So when you are studying endocrine diseases you can go to this section of the questions and practice retrieval. Look online for manuals with nothing but nursing questions in them divided by subjects. And then don’t forget, restudy that information you did not understand and practice retrieval method.
Utilize the second best method : Creating concept maps based on your study, utilize them for the restudy and retrieve method. This way you have the best of both worlds!

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