Student Blogs

How to Train Your Brain to Study Better and Smarter

Written by Mishell Ganchala

The year 2020 has brought us many changes, and it’s fair to say that nursing school will not be the same for a while. As a student in an Accelerated Nursing Program, I had to get used to attending online classes. The pandemic taught us to find ways to study smarter and faster. 

Before the pandemic, going to the library or your favorite cafe was hassle-free. Now that we’re adjusting ourselves to study at home in a new normal, how can we work with what we have? How can we work smart at home? Here are some ways that have helped me:


Believe it or not, the first tools involve a good pair of noise-canceling headphones, a bright lamp, and a comfy chair. Grab your things and find a space in your house where you can always come to study. It’s essential to make this your designated space for all your study sessions and lectures only. Entering your study space trains your brain to stay focused in that particular space. By using a lamp every time you start studying, you can condition your brain to focus. These small routines serve as orders for your brain that eventually keep you focused when you are studying. 


Routines also help your brain get prepared for how your day is going to be. By waking up every morning and going through our schedule, we are giving our brain orders. Following these orders comes with gratification when completed, so it’s essential to balance studying and resting. Organizing and maintaining a schedule leaves more room for self-care as a reward, preventing the feeling of burnout. 


Just as there is a lot of work to do, studying from home also comes with many distractions. Distractions often lead to a lot of procrastination, which can be positive if utilized correctly. When we procrastinate, it is because we don’t want to do something or are feeling overwhelmed. Before classes, organize your study sessions and start strong on the first exams. It is towards the end of the semester when we begin procrastinating because we are catching up trying to bring our grades up. When you start strong on the first exams, you can prioritize what needs more of your time later on. Procrastination can give you this space to reflect and figure out where you need to focus.

Nursing school is different for everyone. Whether you have kids, working two jobs, or are first-generation students, it will come with its challenges. But never forget that you matter, and you deserve to take care of yourself. Nursing is a very giving career, but don’t allow student burnout to whip you out. We cannot learn if our mind is not free to absorb all the new information. So don’t forget to take care of yourself in the process. You got this!