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Is there any really good way to make a study guide?

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8 Answers

Hi

 I always found that an effective way to make a study guide for myself was to read the material I needed to know out loud and record myself as I read.  I would then play the reading over a few times as I went about my day such as in the car, eating lunch etc.  Hearing the information a few times really helped me to digest it and recall it easily when it came time to take the test. We have used this technique with several of my students who have found it to be a great way to really understand the information thoroughly. Hope this helps.

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It will also depend on your learning style and the type of tests that your teachers give you. Are you more of a visual, kinesthetic, or auditory learner? Do your teachers tend to give you questions on tests that come from homework assignments, the book, or in-class notes? I like referring to this site to help students realize their learning styles and what they have to do to be successful: http://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/

The two general pieces of advice that I have are:

1. Anticipate the questions and the style of the test
2. Review all past assignments: homework, quizzes and tests. What seems to come up often?

If your teacher tends to make you write out answers to questions, it is in your best interest to hand-write a study guide and write enough detail as if you were answering a short-answer question about each topic. That way, when you have to write a short answer or essay on the test, you will have already done so. If the test will mostly be multiple-choice, it might be best to do a very brief outline of the chapters and then go on your book's website and take multiple choice quizzes that are offered so that way you will have practice answering multiple choice questions. Another way to prepare is to use academic-oriented websites. Quizlet.com, for instance, is a wonderful site that integrates flashcards and quizzes to test your knowledge. You can search for already made flashcard sets or create your own. 

If you are a visual learner, for instance, you could create a PowerPoint and insert items such as video lectures or diagrams (Do not go straight to youtube. In addition to textbook websites, many college professors have websites and many professional tutoring companies have videos to showcase knowledge. You can trust these sources).  When you review your PowerPoint, you can go over the sources that help visual learners. 

I hope you walk away with the understanding that your study-guide can be multi-faceted and take advantage of technology. You can create a traditional hand-written study guide that takes the form of an outline and lists main points and the supporting details, and you can also create a second study guide that is more of a virtual resource guide that has links to sources you find useful such as: flashcards on quizlet.com, a song you found on a legitimate academic site that helps explain a topic, a game on quia.com, or your textbook's website.

It has never been a better time to be a student because teachers tend to "teach to the test," meaning you have a lot of insight regarding what topics and type of questions will appear on the tests, and there are resources for all types of learners.

Your teachers or tutor can help you figure out what method(s) will be best for you. 

Comments

Thank you for the advice! 

I visited the website, and I think I am more of logical and aural learner. 

When i have time, I like to take a big index card and write down all the definitions and main points of the chapter on the index card. It helps a lot. 

However, I will try out the PowerPoint method. Thank you! 

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Hi, it really depends on the type of learner that you are and how apt you are in absorbing various types of information. However why not try this:  take your notes from each subject/class. Highlight the pertinent info (like info that might be covered on the exam), narrow the notes down to three topics for each subject, then fold a sheet of notebook paper in however many sections you need, then write the notes that you selected from each content area. I find that by organizing your notes and analyzing the information it helps you to focus, not become overwhelmed and create a comfortable way to memorize the information needed on order to succeed. Good luck 

The best way to make a study guide is to use charts and graphs to show the material. Also use flash cards and color code the subject to be studied. Also include a drawing or symbol to pair up with it. It helps you remember the information better.
                                       Nancy N.

Hi Annie! This is a great question for every student to ask, because everyone has different learning styles. In one of your comments you said you're more of a logical and aural learner and that writing index cards helps a lot, so for you I would suggest a a couple of things. First, you could try creating review outlines for yourself. This is something my highschool promoted a lot, and sometimes teachers would give us extra credit on our tests if we passed in a study outline beforehand. Depending on the subject, you organize everything you've learned into sections. For example, if you're taking a test in History you might want to organize your guide based on dates or major historical events. Then break down each section with the important dates, facts, people, events, etc. that you know you'll need to memorize for the test.

Here's an example:

American Civil War Study Guide

A. Pre-war, Slavery, Expansion (1846–1855)

1) Events

1846 Wilmot Proviso attempts to ban slavery in the West
1849 California and Utah request admittance to the Union
1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom’s Cabin Franklin Pierce elected president

2) People

Zachary Taylor - 12th U.S. president; avoided slavery issue; died sixteen months into term
Millard Fillmore - 13th U.S. president; stepped in for deceased Taylor
Lewis Cass - Democratic presidential candidate in 1848; proposed popular sovereignty as means of determining free/slave status of western states

 

What I find helpful about this is that it organizes all your information into a way that is easy and quick to read, which makes it easier to memorize. 

My second suggestion, since you are also an aural learner, would be to work with a study partner. I am an aural learner too, and I remember after studying with other people in my class I would be taking a test and I would remember information clearly because someone had said it recently, and I could replay their words in my head. You could work with one or more people and everyone could create questions to quiz each other on. This is always fun, especially if someone is in charge of snacks!

I hope this was helpful! Good luck with everything! 

Best,

Jill 

Annie,

My advice to you is to highlight key information that may be on the test. If you have taken notes in class it is possible the information will be on the exam. After highlighting key information write down on a piece of paper questions and answers. Then write questions and answers on index cards. Answers on one side and questions on the other. Study the information first then have someone quiz you. TAKE YOUR TIME! I always found it beneficial to take my time on studying as if I was sitting down in the classroom taking the test. Make sure when you write key information you also write down detailed information at the bottom of the index card and circle the answer. You can write in A B C, ETC form for the answers. The purpose of having the piece paper is to have the one quizzing you mark whether you got the questions correct or not. This will help you challenge yourself  to quiz yourself again until you feel confident enough to take the test. 

 

 

Hi Annie: For what class are you preparing a study guide? Is this a math class or a literature or history class? Donna Ann P.

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I always used the outline/flowchart approach.  Use bullets to highlite the important facts, and leave space to add words or phrases which will help you recall the information.  You can sometimes find your outline already done for you in the preface or in the back of the book.  Use what you have first!