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Study Schedule Example

June 25, 2019 0 Comments

If you are studying for a nursing school entrance exam, there are several subject areas you may be trying to master. Most all exams will cover math, science, and language in the form of reading and/or writing skills. For the HESI, you may be taking subject specific exams for your requirements. If you are unfamiliar with the breakdown of these exams, feel free to refer to our previous article Nursing School Admissions Tests.

When you are trying to begin your study regime, Smart Edition knows that you are likely feeling overwhelmed. It’s even more nerve wracking to try and sort the information you need for your nursing school entrance exams. This is why we have put together this simple step-by-step solution with a sample study schedule which you can tailor for your exam.

So where to begin?

Take a diagnostic test. There are many ways to go about this, but following along with any of our nursing school entrance exams, or any of our other test prep materials, Smart Edition creates multiple practice exams with the intention of having students use one as a diagnostic test. If you prefer paper-and-pencil format, there is always an exam available in print. However, we recommend using one of our easily accessible, online exams which provides a score and thorough breakdown of how well you did. These scores give insight to which specific content you need brushing up on for your exam. Simply put, a diagnostic test can help you know what you do and do not know.

By scoring a practice exam, you will have a better idea for where you stand before you begin studying. You know what subjects and content will be presented in each are, but now you should put your existing skills to a test to get an idea of how you will score before you begin.

As mentioned above, there is a lot of specific content to know. But the diagnostic test is meant for you to prioritize your studying for each subject area. Even if you feel 100% confident in one subject over another, you should still set aside some time to review and familiarize yourself with the question styles. Taking the diagnostic test will merely help you prioritize which subjects to study first, as there may be material you need to learn, versus just brushing up on. As you study, you should see yourself getting more and more practice questions right, getting quicker at answering, and seeing improvements on the tests you practice with.

Creating a Schedule (Must Do's and Extra Tips)

Now that you know where you should be prioritizing your time, you will want to create a schedule. While you may have a limited amount of time until your exam, every test taker should have a reasonable amount of time available to dedicate towards acing their test. Studying should be a priority for your spare time. If you compile a list of your daily and weekly responsibilities only to realize that you barely have spare time, you are going to need to prioritize your activities or rethink your test date. Make sure to take the necessary time to truly evaluate your unique situation.

For more information on creating a schedule, follow our link to our information article Create a Study Plan for Your Schedule.

You’ll want to create a schedule to study so that you can set goals for yourself. It is very easy to say that you’ll study and get distracted by a million other things going on. You can make up the time on the weekend, but the reality is you can easily get distracted then too. You want to avoid cramming because overloading your brain will not help you understand the material and such practice will only add to your feelings of being overwhelmed. It is much better to spread out your studying over a course of time and make it reasonable.

When you create a schedule, make it visible. Write it down and hang it up somewhere as a visual reminder to help pace yourself appropriately. It can also serve as a reminder of both what you must do, but also the progress you make along the way.

And remember that diagnostic test we told you to take? This is where it really comes into play. When you’re creating your study plan, prioritize the subjects you struggle with the most. Look at your diagnostic scores to best approximate how much time you should be spending learning and/or reviewing material. As a general rule, if you have about five weeks until you are looking to take an exam, dedicate a week to each subject area with review days in between and leading up to the exam date. However, if your diagnostic test reveals that you might not know at least half of the content material in a certain area, it would be wise to extend that subject area week a few more days in exchange of another topic that you are very strong in.

*Keep in mind, that spending a week to each subject area is subjective to the amount of instruction you’ve had in the past and how long it will take you to understand the content. Our study guides provide an in-depth view at the content you will need to know to do your best. However, if you find that the content is completely new and you have never seen it before, you may need additional instruction or at least, time to fully understand the concepts you will be tested on.

We recommend customizing your study materials. Every student is a unique type of learner and Smart Edition Media knows that. Beneath is our reference guide for you to determine what type of learner you are.

Learning Style Variations

Visual-Spatial – Do you like to draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream? Creating drawings, graphic organizers, or watching videos might be useful for you.

Bodily-Kinesthetic – Do you like movement, making things, physical activity? Do you communicate well through body language, or like to be taught through physical activity? Hands-on learning, acting out, role playing are tools you might try.

Musical – Do you show sensitivity to rhythm and sound? If you love music, and are also sensitive to sounds in your environments, it might be beneficial to study with music in the background. You can turn lessons into lyrics or speak rhythmically to aid in content retention.

Interpersonal – Do you have many friends, empathy for others, street smarts, and interact well with others? You might learn best in a group setting. Form a study group with other students who are preparing for the same exam. Technology makes it easy to connect, if you are unable to meet in person, teleconferencing or video chats are useful tools to aid interpersonal learners in connecting with others.

Intrapersonal – Do you prefer to work alone rather than in a group? Are you in tune with your inner feelings, follow your intuition and possess a strong will, confidence and opinions? Independent study and introspection will be ideal for you. Reading books, using creative materials, keeping a diary of your progress will be helpful. Intrapersonal learners are the most independent of the learners.

Linguistic – Do you use words effectively, have highly developed auditory skills and often think in words? Do you like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories? Learning tools such as computers, games, multimedia will be beneficial to your studies.

Logical-Mathematical – Do you think conceptually, abstractly, and are able to see and explore patterns and relationships? Try exploring subject matter through logic games, experiments and puzzles.

Perhaps your learning style will incorporate multiple forms of learning. Most students prefer to use multiple mediums to help emphasize points and gain new understandings to increase their depth of knowledge. What’s important is that you do what is best for you.

While you gather your materials and begin cracking down on your study plan, make sure you set aside time to hand-write notes on the content you may not understand. Students are more likely to retain information that they have written down versus the material they’ve read once. And while we don’t want students to hand write a textbook, it is useful to take notes, utilize flashcards, and possibly color code body diagrams in the areas you need to improve on.

For the lessons you are learning and seem to be struggling with, do not be afraid to look up tutorial videos or use a math checker to see how to complete a problem. Print out the in-depth 3D picture of the body system you need more visuals with to understand its intricacies. Utilize multiple resources and take time to understand.

Using Your Guide and Other Tools

Once you have divided out the subjects among your days, follow a study guide to ensure that you are reviewing proper material. While there are many study guides and tools available both in print and online, Smart Edition has prep books available which provide comprehensive lessons, practice questions, and full-length practice exams. Use the lesson reviews to completely understand the subtopics that may be asked about on your test. Writing increases knowledge retention, so create a hand-crafted study guide or flashcards of important lessons that are essential to you. If you have read the lesson and are struggling to create your personal study materials, utilize other online materials to emphasize the lessons you struggle with. Many educational videos may be located at Khan Academy to provide even more depth to difficult lesson material. Once you feel confident in the lesson material, take the practice quizzes at the end of each section to exercise skills. Mark the questions you incorrectly answered and identify the lessons these questions come from. Is there a trend in which lessons your incorrect questions are coming from? If there is, review that lesson material again. Perhaps you’re missing a key word or concept that is creating a gap between your knowledge and the questions. If there isn’t, perhaps there was a small detail you overlooked in the questions your answered incorrectly. If you completely understand lesson material and you are still answering questions incorrectly, more times than not, it stems from misunderstanding the question. Take a small work break to refresh your brain. After you have completed lesson reviews, quizzes, and extra review, continue doing practice problems. Although it seems repetitive, practice is the key to doing well on these tests.

Many students do not consider themselves good-test takers and unfortunately, there is no immediate remedy. Even if there is no alternative solution for such tests, practicing the material in test format will only help review the content and increase confidence. These tests are supposed to be an indicator of student success within nursing programs. The end result of every program will direct a student towards a standardized nursing exam, also known as the NCLEX. Understanding the necessary habits for conquering the exams now will be beneficial not only for gaining acceptance, but during, and after the nursing school process.

Sample Schedule

Beneath, is a sample schedule along with an hourly breakdown in order to fully understand the time dedication needed for appropriate preparation. Reference the calendar below for a visual example of a potential study breakdown following Smart Edition’s Full Study Guide.

*Please note that the calendar follows Smart Edition’s ATI TEAS Full-Study Guide as a point of reference. For simplicity, the schedule has been compiled for continuous full-time studying. While mentioned earlier, it is not recommended to cram information and the schedule is heavily dependent on full-time studying with no major outside alternative priorities. In order to utilize the sample schedule best, we recommend taking our “days” and applying them in your schedule where it best fits. As you fit the plans into your schedule, try keeping subject matter together while staying consistent. Hint-hint: Do not study every day for three weeks and then take a month off before the test.

Hourly Breakdown

Diagnostic Test: Practice Exam 1 (≈4-6 hours)

  • Access a full-length practice exam and complete the assessment. Utilize your score card to discover which sections of your upcoming exam should be prioritized and which content areas within the subjects may need more attention. (≈3-4 hours)
  • Take note of specific questions and sections in areas you did not score well and convert into an individualized plan. (≈1-2 hours)

Section 1: Reading (≈12-24 hours)

  • Complete each reading chapter of our guide and customize your study materials. Take notes and incorporate additional sources as needed. (≈1-2 hours/chapter)
  • Review your notes and complete the chapter review quizzes. (≈1-2 hours)
  • Take notes of incorrect answers and review lesson modules to enhance your custom study guides for further review. (≈1-2 hours)
  • Review study guide and notes. Go through additional content, especially in areas of incorrect quiz answers and material less comfortable with subject matter. (3+ hours)

Section 2: Math (≈14-22 hours)

  • Complete each math chapter of our guide and customize your study materials. Take notes and incorporate additional sources as needed. (≈2-4 hours/chapter)
  • Review your notes and complete the chapter review quizzes. (≈2-3 hours)
  • Take notes of incorrect answers and review lesson modules to enhance your custom study guides for further review. (≈2-3 hours)
  • Review study guide and notes. Go through additional content, especially in areas of incorrect quiz answers and material less comfortable with subject matter. (4+ hours)

 Section 3: Science (≈14-24 hours)

  • Complete each science chapter of our guide and customize your study materials. Take notes and incorporate additional sources as needed. (≈2-4 hours/chapter)
  • Review your notes and complete the chapter review quizzes. (≈2-4 hours)
  • Take notes of incorrect answers and review lesson modules to enhance your custom study guides for further review. (≈2-4 hours)
  • Review study guide and notes. Go through additional content, especially in areas of incorrect quiz answers and material less comfortable with subject matter. (4+ hours)

Section 4: English (≈12-24 hours)

  • Complete each language conventions chapter of our guide and customize your study materials. Take notes and incorporate additional sources as needed. (≈1-2 hours/chapter)
  • Review your notes and complete the chapter review quizzes. (≈1-2 hours)
  • Take notes of incorrect answers and review lesson modules to enhance your custom study guides for further review. (≈1-2 hours)
  • Review study guide and notes. Go through additional content, especially in areas of incorrect quiz answers and material less comfortable with subject matter. (3+ hours)

Subject Review: Day 1 & 2 (≈2-4+ hours/subject)

Cycle through each of your section quizzes. Reiterate your understandings for the subject material of the questions answered correctly and review material for the questions answered incorrectly. Utilize additional resources and customized notes. *Individuals may review two sections a day with in-depth comprehension reflection, or review all four each day with general to more in-depth reflection. If two sections are to be reviewed/ day, student can choose if technical subjects and language usage should be studied together or separated based on comfortability.

Practice Exam Day: (≈6+ hours)

  • Take the full-length practice exam (≈3-4 hours) and utilize answer keys and score cards to direct further review (≈2-4 hours).

Subject Review: Day 3 (≈1-3 hours/ subject or exam)

  • Return to lesson content from incorrect practice exam answers. (≈1 hour/ subject or exam)
  • Review subject content and incorporate other resources when necessary. (≈1-2 hours/ subject or exam).

Subject Review: Day 4, 5, 6 (≈2-4+ hours/subject)

By this point, there has been much time dedicated towards the practice questions and review of more difficult materials. Take these days to cycle through your customized materials to your benefit. If you know the answers to your questions, take the time to study charts or review math equations. Apply your understanding for language in your personal reading to proactively think about technical reading and writing conventions. These days are to be helpful, not burn you out.

*Optional: revisit Practice Exam 1. Although it was used for your diagnostic test, you originally saw it prior to any of your studying ambitions. Feel free to revisit it and compare score cards. If you notice that your scores are not indicative of what you are hoping for, look at the score card. The answer sheets may indicate that you’re improving, but may need to review just a tiny bit more. Or perhaps they show something off- don’t let it alarm you! You may just need a mental break for a moment!

When the test is just around the corner…

The days leading up to the exam are nerve-wracking. Even if you are following a study routine, it may seem that there is endless material and time is quickly passing. The key is to stick to your study routine. Adding an extra twenty minutes of review to make you feel more confident about a subject may be beneficial, but do not panic and begin overexerting yourself. Cramming a month’s worth of review into a single night is not an ideal solution, especially the night of the exam. Alternatively, do not stop studying altogether. Pick certain materials to study from, whether it is your notes, flashcards, or a practice exam just to keep everything fresh.

The night before the exam, there are several key tasks you should complete. Besides reviewing your materials, make sure to eat a good dinner. Food satiation is a key component for your memory and general well-being. Avoid coffee, alcohol, or any other substances that may disrupt sleep or your stomach during the night. Do not take any medications or drugs to help you sleep. Prepare for the big day ahead to avoid stress in the morning. Lay out comfy clothes to wear to the exam. Wearing easy layers is always recommended as your exam room may be chilly which can make it hard to concentrate. If your test room doesn’t have cool air, it’s easy to remove a sweatshirt for comfortability. Pack your bag with healthy snacks and water for your breaks. Ensure you have all necessary test registration items such as a confirmation receipt and ID. If you are not sure what you need, check with the testing center or your registration. Double check where your testing location is, map out your route and confirm your transportation method. Plan an appropriate amount of time for travel, parking, finding your exam room, and one more bathroom break before you are required to sit for the test. Make sure to set your alarm and allow for a minimum of eight hours of sleep before it goes off.

Wake up early on the day of the exam to allow ample time to do all the things necessary before heading to the exam. You do not want to be rushing out the door which can cause unnecessary stress. Eat a healthy, well-rounded breakfast and drink water before leaving. You should have plenty of time to travel while accommodating for traffic and parking. When you arrive, check in for the exam to ensure you are in the correct location and you can settle down. Give yourself a moment to breathe and stay positive!

Reviewing Your Scores and Submitting Your Application


The online TEAS test will be scored immediately following the test and a hand-written version will be scored within 48 hours of ATI Nursing Education’s receiving the exams from your test site. You can review your scores and the identify the topics of missed questions on your ATI Account.

Your TEAS exam results will be automatically sent to and viewable by the school the exam was administered at. If you wish to submit your scores to another school, you will need to purchase the transcript and send it officially through the ATI website.


HESI results will be provided with a score report via the official testing site where you registered. The results should be available immediately, as it is a computer-based test. However, students should allow 24-72 hours for the report. The report is available for download. Students will be sent an email regarding results with remediation availability.


The computer-based testing of the KNAT provides progress reporting, or updated scores every time a question is answered. Students may receive a print out of their scores following exam completion. Schools may access their scores within their partnered systems.

Make sure your school has your test scores and double check that you have all the necessary materials for your application. Review your essays and letters of intent for any final typos or just to finalize all the documents your schools and/or programs of choice require. You’ve put in all the time and effort, so make sure one detail is not the source of an incomplete application.


Moving Forward: The Journey to Becoming a Nurse

Smart Edition Media / Nursing / Published: July-01-2019