Okay, so what’s the best way to use all those free study guides that I’ve been posting? Great question! These are not meant to be read (and highlighted) like a textbook. So I’m going to tell you how I recommend that my study guides be used to get the most value out of them.
Which ones to do first?
Start with the basics…literally. Each topic will have a study guide that reviews the “basics” for that topic. When you’re looking at Med-Surg topics, the “basics” is pretty much going to be about A&P. But trust me, it is essential to understand the A&P if you are really going to understand a nursing topic. There is not much point in trying to understand a disease process if you don’t understand the underlying A&P, you’d just be wasting your time.
So even if you think you already know the A&P, start with the basics study guides anyway. That way, if you really do remember the A&P well, then it won’t take you too long to go through them. In fact, it will be a nice review. But if it turns out that you’re a little shaky on the details…well, at least now you know.
It doesn’t matter too much which Basics topic you choose to start with. Just pick a topic and get started. But if you really want my recommendation, I usually start my tutoring students out with Endocrine Basics. I do this because most nursing students see the word “endocrine” and started shaking in terror. But I’ve learned through my tutoring experiences that most of that “endocrine fear” comes from having a fuzzy understanding of the endocrine glands and hormones. Once that understanding is clarified, the fear is gone (or at least greatly reduced).
The 3-Step Method
So you’ve chosen a Basics study guide to work with, now what? Now you use that thing you keep between your ears (that would be your brain), and start answering the study guide questions from memory. Remember, this is basic information that you should have hidden in your head somewhere. If you can’t find it, then just answer the best you can.
After you’ve exhausted your own knowledge, turn to your text book for the second pass. Double check the answers you thought were correct, and find the answers for the questions you either weren’t sure about or drew a total blank on.
By the time you’re ready for the third pass, you should have some pretty thorough answers on your study guide. So, finally, you can look at the answer key. The answer key obviously won’t be word-for-word the same as your answers, but the concepts should be the same. If the answers are completely different (or if you’re not sure), then you’re probably not understanding the material as well as you thought you did.
After the Study Guide
Now is the time to ask some questions and get some clarification from a teacher, classmate, or tutor. As a bonus, they will be more willing to help you because they will be able to see the effort that you’ve already put into trying to learn the topic. It will also be easier for them to help you, because you’ll be able to ask them specific questions about what you don’t understand. For example, when a student comes to me and says “I don’t understand Cardiac,” where do I even start? But if they come to me and say, “Could you explain a little more about cyanotic heart defects?” Now that’s a question I can help with.
So, to review. When using the Your Nursing Tutor study guides:
Step 1: Answer from memory (and write it down).
Step 2: Look up answers in textbook (and write it down).
Step 3: Compare your answers to answer key.
After you follow this 3-Step Method for a Basics study guide topic, feel free to move on to other topics in that category. For example, if you decide to do Neuro Basics, try out ICP next!
And one more note. These “rules” for using the Your Nursing Tutor study guides do have exceptions. When you find a study guide that is an exception, you will see some special instructions at the beginning of the study guide that tell you how you should approach that particular topic. So be on the look out for that.
Hope this gives you some guidance on the best way to use the Your Nursing Tutor study guides. Stay tuned for my next article, which will explain a little bit more about WHY I write my study guides the way that I do.