Studying can be a challenge for anyone, but there are some tools that students can use to help make studying less of an ordeal. We aren’t trying to say that creating a study guide will magically fix every study problem that you’ve ever had, but creating a useful study guide can be a great place to start studying for your next quiz, test, or exam.
In this article, we’ll be walking you through the benefits of a study guide and why you should take the time to create one. We’ll also be giving you some helpful tips and tricks to help you make the best study guide for you.
What is a Study Guide?
A study guide is a great tool to help you review for a quiz, test, or exam. It can be a single sheet of paper, a piece of poster board, or a whole pile of papers. A study guide is used to help you condense the information you have learned and will need to be able to recall and organize it in a helpful way.
Study guides can come in various forms and layouts, but the most common forms of study guide layouts are lists and concept maps. Some people like to incorporate flashcards into their study guide, while others don’t find that to be helpful. The physical study guide is only as useful as the information on it, though, so just make sure that you have a study guide that works for you.
The term study guide can refer to a few things. It can refer to an item that you create that is a condensed, short-hand collection of the information you will need to know. Still, it can also refer to a list of the general concepts that you should make sure you review, which will most likely be given to you by a teacher or professor. In this article, we’ll be focusing on the first style of study guide, which is to say one that you create for your own to use to aid in studying for a test or exam.
Why Create a Study Guide?
Creating your own study guide is a great way to start reviewing. The process of creating a study guide will also give you some insight into what information you know well and what information feels confusing to you when you rewrite it. Study guides can have tons of benefits, but you need to make the right study guide for you in order to get the most out of it.
Many teachers and professors will give you a study guide to help you prepare for a test or exam, but these study guides tend to mostly be a list of the information that you will need to know or potentially will need to know. The study guide that your teacher or professor gives you is a great starting point, but you will need to fill in all the information yourself and make sure that you have a good understanding of the material.
Creating your own study guide by hand is much more useful than typing out a study guide. For the same reason that teachers and professors tend to tell you that you should take notes by hand, you should also create a study guide and review by hand. The physical process of writing out the information helps you form pathways in your brain that will allow you to recall the information better during the test or exam.
Are Study Guides Useful?
As we’ve mentioned before, study guides have various benefits and can significantly improve your studying. Study guides are a great way to help your brain organize large amounts of information clearly and concisely, making them incredibly useful.
Making a useful study guide is a skill that will take time and effort to develop, but it can help you out immensely as you move through school. A helpful study guide can not only help you structure your studying time, but it can also make it easier for you to recall information during your test or exam.
What Should a Study Guide Look Like?
There is no one answer to what a study guide should look like. A useful study guide for you may not be the best study guide for your best friend, so personalizing your study guides to your style of learning is the best way to make a study guide work for you.
Some people love to use color for their study guides to help organize information and make it easier for them to recall later, while others find color distracting. Some students prefer a more freeform study guide with bubbles of thoughts connected, like a mind map, but other students find this to be distracting and prefer straight lines and columns of information. A study guide is a personal study tool so make it unique to you.
How to Make a Study Guide?
The first thing you should do if you want to start making study guides is to look up some study guide examples to use as inspiration. This can give you a good idea of how others have organized their information and can help you determine how to structure your own study guide. Like we’ve said before, no two study guides are the same, so making your study guide work for you is the most important thing.
Many students who create their own study guides like to have a template that they can use for a variety of classes. Some people like to handwrite a template, while others like to create their own template online with a program such as Word or GoogleDocs. Then, each time you need to make a study guide, all you have to do is print out a new template and start filling it in.
Creating a useful study guide template can be helpful for some students, but other students would prefer to create a totally new study guide for each test or exam. Either strategy can be effective as long as you choose the right strategy for you.
The most essential part of creating your own study guide is gathering the information that you will need to put in the study guide in order to review for your upcoming test or exam. This generally includes gathering all your notes for that section, collecting any quizzes or homework assignments that might consist of useful information, and getting your textbook or books to help you review.
Condensing all the information from a whole section onto a study guide can seem daunting, but if you break up the information into manageable sections, you’ll be well on your way to creating a useful study guide. Some people like to organize the information based on sub-unit, while others prefer to sort it into categories, such as vocab or important dates. How you organize the information you’ll be putting on your study guide can also depend on the subject, so don’t be afraid to make different study guide templates for different subjects.
The information on your study guide should not be just a copy of your notes or your textbook, but instead a short-hand way of reminding yourself of the information. Don’t try to fit every single detail into your study guide. If you need to review every single little detail, you will need more resources than just your study guide.
Keep a sheet of paper handy while you’re making your study guide to write down any questions that you might come across while you are studying. If you find some inconsistencies in your notes or something that you don’t understand, take a note of it so you can ask your teacher or professor.
Creating a study guide is something that can be done at any age. Being able to develop a practical study guide in college is a great skill that your classmates will be jealous of. Just remember that your study guide is designed for you, so it may not work well for others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t study together and each create your own study guide.
5 Tips to Creating a Study Guide That Work
There are so many ways that you can create a study guide that it can sometimes seem a little overwhelming. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to help you make your study guide work for you.
1. Make sure your study guide works with your learning style.
There are all kinds of quizzes online that you can take that will tell you what your learning style is, but most people already have a pretty good idea of what works for them. Since your study guide is made for you, you should make sure that it works for you.
The primary learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, but there are a variety of ways that these learning styles can manifest. Taking the time to figure out how you learn best can be really helpful, not just in creating a study guide but also in structuring the time you spend studying.
2. Connect the information
Understanding how all the information you are learning is connected is a great way to use a study guide. Some people like doing this by creating a mind map or a concept map, but this style of study guide doesn’t work for everyone. The main thing to keep in mind is that your study guide should help you see the connections across the material so you can give good, well-rounded answers when it comes time for your test or exam.
Most tests and exams require more than just recall of pieces of information, so it is crucial that you understand how all the information connects to the other information you have learned. This connection is essential as you get into higher-level classes, so make sure that your study guide helps you make these connections.
3. Include some review questions
Including some review questions that you’ve either written yourself, got from your textbook, or got from your teacher or professor is a great way to help quiz yourself. Creating a list of review questions at the end of your study guide gives you some information that you can go over either on your own or with others to help pull all the information together.
4. Go back to your study guide often.
Creating a great study guide is only half the battle. Once you have this fantastic study guide, make sure you use it, and you use it frequently. Studying a little bit every day is the best way to help your brain retain information in the long-term, so don’t wait until the last minute to start cramming for your test.
If you find it hard to make yourself sit down and study, try creating a study schedule to help hold yourself accountable. Creating both a study guide and a study schedule of when you plan on using your study guide is a great way to set yourself up for success on your next test. If you need help creating a study schedule, check out our article on that.
5. Handwrite your study guide
We’ve already mentioned this once, but it is so important that we’re going to say it again. Handwriting your study guide will help you retain the information much better than creating your study guide on a computer. While this might not be the most useful thing when you’re trying to study with others, it will be the most useful for you.
Handwriting your study guide also gives you total control over the final look of your study guide. This means that you can customize your study guide in whatever way will help you remember the information best.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Create a Study Guide
With the right tools to create a study guide, you can create a study guide that can help you prepare for your upcoming test, but it will also be able to make it easier for you to recall information during the test. Making a good study guide can take time, but we hope that this article has given you the tools you need to make the best study guide for you.