Managing Heavy Content & Workloads

“Wait, I must have read that wrong. They want me to read how many pages? BEFORE class even starts? This is not what I had in mind when deciding to take a summer class in college!”

I knew nursing school wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t think it would be this demanding! My name is Emily and I am an intern at SOAR®. I am a junior at Oakland University’s School of Nursing.

After receiving my syllabus, I began to panic. Knowing this class was very important, I immediately began to doubt my abilities.

study skills let me survive nursing school

Study skills help me understand my nursing class materials in minutes, not hours. Study skills are useful in all careers!

Fortunately, I started my internship at SOAR just as this class threatened to hit me like freight train. From my coworkers, I learned that surviving heavy loads of school requires learning efficientlylearning more in less time.

To get through this class successfully, I needed to use these strategies:

  • Preparing
  • Communicating
  • Reading a textbook
  • Taking effective notes
  • Organizing
  • Believing in my abilities


I learned the importance of preparing for class.

I learned that just going to lecture is not enough. To fully absorb what the teacher says, I need to read beforehand.

Reading the assigned text before class allows our brain to create a structure for learning new material. When the instructor is lecturing, our brain connects new information from the instructor to old information we previously read.

I learned that all learning is connecting new information to old information, already in our brain.


Many students don’t want to be noticed by the instructor. Big. Mistake.

I learned that developing a relationship with my instructors is beneficial. I do this by introducing myself, asking questions in class, being on time, and sitting in their view.

When I have an issue with an assignment, I feel more comfortable approaching my instructor because they know me. I know they take my concerns more seriously than the people who slack off.


A lot of my peers in school make the mistake of using a spiral notebook and pen when reading a textbook. They take a ton of notes, basically recopying the textbook in their own words.  Feeling overwhelmed, many of them give up after one chapter.

I learned an approach to reading textbooks from SOAR® that allowed me to identify the most important parts of the chapter, before reading anything.  This helped me understand the chapter in minutes, not hours. The secret lies in “reading the visuals.”


After using the SOAR® method of tackling a textbook, taking notes became much easier. Having previous knowledge of the material helped me determine what concepts to focus on.

My notes became great study tools when preparing for tests and quizzes. Most of my friends in school prefer to type their notes. But, I find it harder to remember content from typed notes. Apparently, I’m not alone. (To see our article, “Writing vs. Typing Notes,” click HERE.)


How will you sort those notes you just took? The days of buying a separate notebook or binder for each class are gone.

You will not miss all those bulky notebooks… I know I don’t!

Using one binder lets me keep track of all my assignments. This cuts down the amount of space needed and time spent switching class materials.

No to mention the time wasted and anxiety brought by grabbing the wrong notebook for class! That situation sets you up for disorganization!  (To learn more about why the SOAR® Binder System works well, click HERE).


I was hesitant to change the way I had been studying and preparing for school. I had been doing things “my way” for so long. (Even though that way didn’t always turn out positively.)

But, I knew something had to change, because my workload just kept increasing. I decided to jump in head-first. Knowing that it was my only chance to be successful.

The strategies and methods that I learned from SOAR® saved me from hours of tears and frustration.

SOAR® empowers students to become confident in their abilities. When I received that first assignment, I was flooded with self-doubt.

That reading assignment seemed impossible. Now, it’s complete! I am ready to take on more courses and believe in my abilities as a student and future nurse.

Would you like to learn more about how easy it is to acquire these skills?  Check out the possibilities with the SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills App by clicking HERE.

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