You would have to look very hard to find someone that’ll argue the fact that respiratory therapy students get stressed out easily during school. There is literally pressure from day one about making good grades, finishing all your projects and homework, and showing up for clinical rotations on time. Needless to say, life definitely isn’t easy for respiratory therapy students. That’s we are going to discuss some of the best tips for surviving Respiratory Therapy school.

While it’s impossible to eliminate 100% of that stress, there are a few things we can do in order to decrease it quite a bit. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to help make your life easier while in RT school. 

21 Best Tips for Surviving Respiratory Therapy School

1. Know why you’re here.

What’s the reason you decided to go to respiratory therapy school in the first place? I’d bet it’s something along the lines of: You want to better yourself. You want to enter a career that’s fulfilling, and one that will enable you to provide for your family. 

You must figure out YOUR reason because that’s what will motivate you to keep pushing when the going gets rough. So know your WHY and always keep that in the back of your mind.

2. Study a little bit every day.

Diving into the books for huge chunks of time is necessary sometimes, but not always. However, it’s much easier to study in small spurts, and we can all do that. Make sure you study, at least a little bit, every single day.

3. Prepare your books and materials.

Make sure to prepare your books and all of your things the evening before and actually take some time to study the chapters relevant to your next class.

4. Don’t skip classes.

It is extremely important that you attend each class to guarantee you don’t miss something important. If you need to miss a class for a legitimate reason ask a classmate to take notes for you or possibly record the lecture so that you can take your own notes.

5. Buy your textbooks as early as possible.

This way you won’t be running around like a chicken with its head cut off at the last minute trying to find the books you need. And, if you’re a super overachiever, you can get a head start on your studies.

6. Don’t put things off.

Always start your assignments as soon as you are given the necessary details. This will help you avoid lots of stress later on. There is nothing worse than trying to finish your work in a hurry, or worse, losing points for submitting a late assignment. Simply starting early could be the difference between a pass and a fail grade.

7. Take lots of note.

I mean a lot of notes, the more the better. You will obviously use them for the exam you will soon take, but you can also keep them to study for your final exams, and then even for the TMC Board Exam.

8. Rewrite your notes.

This isn’t for everyone, but science has proven that just by rewriting your notes, you can almost double the amount of information your brain is able to remember.

There are many ways to take notes in class. You could hand write them, type, or use a voice recorder, but whatever you choose, your notes are of no real use if you do nothing with them. It is a good idea to revise and rewrite your notes as soon as you get home. This helps reinforce what you have learned and also gives you a higher chance of retaining the information.

9. Stay organized.

If your stuff is cluttered, then your brain is also going to be cluttered. This goes for your schedule as well. Taking a few minutes to be organized can help you stay on top of upcoming exams, due dates for assignments, clinical rotations. And more importantly, you will also be able to see when you have some free time to have a few drinks hang out with your friends.

10. Crush it one night per week.

Try to set aside one night per week with absolutely no distractions that you can study your little booty off!

11. Ask for help.

If you don’t know something, ask for help! See if your friends or classmates can help you out. If not, then your instructor will be happy to. I’m still a pretty new respiratory therapist myself so I still have to ask for help sometimes.

And that’s perfectly okay! Always accept help when it’s given.

12. Don’t stress over the little things.

If it isn’t important then don’t worry about it, you can deal with it at a later date. Just remember not to worry about the things that are out of your control.

13. Form a study group.

If you find yourself struggling to study on your own, you could always join a study group or form one. Study groups are an excellent source of support and a great way to form connections with your classmates. This isn’t for everyone. I preferred to study on my own. Do whatever works best for you.

14. Cramming is okay.. sometimes.

I may receive some criticism for this one, but sometimes in school, you’re just going to have to cram for a test the night before. I know in my program, we had multiple tests every week; along with clinicals!

So yeah, sometimes you just have to cram the night before. This isn’t a good long-term strategy to retain the information, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

15. Get some rest.

What I mean is, don’t stay up all night before class binge-watching ‘Orange is the New Black’. It’s already hard enough to focus and pay attention during class. Add sleepiness to the mix and it’s darn near impossible. Go to bed at a decent hour.

16. Write down the critical information first.

This tip applies to your school tests, as well as the board exam. Look over your formulas or whatever necessary important information minutes before the test. Then as soon as it begins, write down this important information on your scratch paper so you will have it throughout the remainder of the exam.

17. Take your time.

You won’t get bonus points for being the first person to finish the exam. Take your time on each and every question. Read each answer thoroughly and make sure you fully understand the question before answering it.

18. Don’t know it? Skip it.

When you come to a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t spend too much time trying to work it out. Just mark it and move on to the next question. You can always come back to the ones you skip after you have answered the rest of the questions.

This is also one of my top hacks for taking the TMC Exam from out book, Hacking the TMC Board Exam.

19. Still don’t know the answer? Pick C.

This is scientifically proven to work. Just kidding. This is just something I always do. I keep my guesses consistent by choosing the same answer on each of the questions that I absolutely do not know.

Now, for the most part, you should be able to narrow the choices down to the best two. This tip ONLY applies for the ones that you just absolutely do not have a clue about.

20. Read back through your exam.

Once you have finished your test, don’t be in such a hurry to hand it in. Take a moment to go over it, make sure that you have answered all of the questions and you are happy with the answers.

21. Don’t change your answers.

After you finish your test and you are going back over it for one last review before submitting, do not change any of your answers. I’m a little indifferent to this one, because there were times when I did change some of my answers and it worked out well for me.

But I feel that for most people, you should just leave them alone. Your first instinct is normally spot on.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know the best tips to get through respiratory therapy school, you should be able to lower your stress levels and earn better grades on your exams.

Although stress is frustrating, it can be useful to give you that push of motivation that you need in order to get things done. Whether you are still considering a career in respiratory therapy or you are halfway through your program, follow these twenty-one steps to help survive respiratory therapy school.

Bonus Tip:  Don’t try to go at it alone, let us help you! Use the Test Bank for your exams. Need help with the Egan’s Workbook? We have the answers for you. Studying for the TMC Exam? Our TMC Test Bank and TMC Study Guide can help.