Binder Organization

With all of the other things nursing students have going on (e.g., kids, significant others, work, volunteering, cooking, cleaning, shopping, appointments…I think you get the picture), we do not have a lot of time to deal with a mess of handouts and notes.

Before I started my first semester of nursing school, I found Maryam Moradi on YouTube, and she totally revamped my study zone. There was one video in particular that was helpful regarding binder organization. I added my own mind-blowing touches to her technique that will amaze you. Prepare yourself!

First of all, I purchased two separate binders (with sleeves) for lecture and lab each semester. I quickly discovered that 1 1/2″ binders would simply not cover the pile of notes I would accumulate during the semester, so I recommend getting the 2 or 2 1/2″ binders right from the start (eek, I know).

At the beginning of the semester, you will receive a course calendar outlining all of the juicy details that will be your life for the next four months. Keep this. If possible, ask for a digital version so that you can edit it if needed. Last semester I took the regular theory class along with pathophysiology and pharmacology, so I combined the schedules into one document. Just rotate the pages as the semester progresses, and you’ll be on top of it all!


Each day outlines where I need to be, what I am there for, and what topic I need to study beforehand. I suggest highlighting exams and due dates so you can see them coming and there are no surprises!


The back sleeve of my binder is where I place my monthly calendars. The only information I include on these calendars is exam dates and times, due dates for projects and papers, and simulation days. This allows me to see the crucial stuff at a glance and further in advance than the more detailed schedule at the front of my binder.


I separate the content with 16 tabs, one for each week of the semester. You could divide it by exam content, but I find it easier to locate each lecture’s content if it is separated by the week.


In my program, we receive a lecture outline that includes the assigned readings, learning objectives, and any online content to view prior to the lecture. I put this sheet in my binder before the PowerPoint printout.

Our instructors post all of the PowerPoints or lecture outlines online for us to download. I print them out (duplex style) with two slides per page (see picture below). I do this because I like being able to actually read the words (it’s kind of difficult when you print 4 slides/page!), and I also like to take A LOT of notes! Setting your printer to print two slides per page can be a little tricky the first time, so I wrote instructions for you! Props go out to my classmate, Gina, for enlightening me on this process!

Select “Print” > Select “Properties” > Select the drop down box next to “Multiple Page” or “Pages per Sheet” (depending on your printer program) > Select “2 in 1” or “2” (depending on your printer program) > Select “Duplex” > Select “Ok” > Select “Ok” again to print.


If I receive any additional content from my instructors such as articles, tables, or study guides, I place them behind the PowerPoint printout.

If there is content on the class’s website that I cannot print, I will put a sticky note on the front of the divider to remind myself to view the online content.


Well that is it, peeps! I hope this helps. Share your tips in the comment area!

4 Comments, RSS

  1. Kimberly Zalewski July 4, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

    Amy, I love how you organize your calendars. I am going to adopt your techniques for 3rd semester. Sometimes the only reason I knew a due date was coming up was because I heard about it from my classmates!

    • becomingrn July 4, 2014 @ 8:14 pm

      Happy to help, Kim! Hope you’re having a great fourth!

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