In developmental research to devise a strategy to identify students who may benefit from assistance with learning habits, approaches to study were explored in undergraduate nursing students ( n =122) enrolled in a compulsory first-year course in physiology at a regional Australian university. The course constituted 30 credits (25%) of their first year of study. Using the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory (ASSIST), students were identified as adopting a deep ( n =38, 31%), strategic ( n = 30, 25%), or a surface ( n =54, 44%) approach to study. Internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha [ α ]) for deep, strategic, and surface was 0.85, 0.87, and 0.76, respectively. Subsequently, a cluster analysis was done to identify two groupings: a “surface” group ( n =53) and a “deep/strategic” group ( n =69). The surface group scored lower in deep (33.28±6.42) and strategic (39.36±6.79) approaches and higher in the surface (46.96±9.57) approach. Conversely, the deep/strategic group scored 46.10±6.81, 57.17±7.81, and 41.87±6.47 in deep, strategic, and surface styles, respectively. This application of the ASSIST questionnaire and cluster analysis thus differentiated students adopting a surface approach to study. This strategy may enable educators to target resources, for example additional tutorial opportunities, peer-assisted study support, and tutor-led seminar sessions aimed at encouraging students to adopt a less superficial approach to study.