5 Ways to Successfully Study from a Study Guide

5 Ways to Successfully Study from a Study Guide

“I have a test this week. Luckily, my teacher gave us a study guide.”

“Awesome. What are you going to do with that guide?”

“Um, read it over a few times. It should take me about 15 minutes.”

*Me crying quietly in the corner.*

Listen people: Study guides are worth their weight in gold. The teacher has already narrowed down all the content to the most important concepts, people, places, etc. But most students don’t know what to actually do with the study guide to make it effective for studying.

Way too many students follow the example of my tutoring client above and just read over a guide. However, reviewing a study guide ≠ studying.

Let me say that again for the folks in the back. Reviewing or rereading a study guide is not studying. In fact, it’s a waste of your time.

Instead of trying to shove information in your head by rereading, you want to get information out of your head. What do you actually know about the topic? So, let’s jump into 5 different strategies you can use to study successfully from a study guide.

5 Ways to Successfully Study from a Study Guide

study guide

Complete it

Many guides come in the form of questions or a list of terms and important concepts. The first thing you want to do with this kind of study guide is actually complete it.

Grab some paper and a pencil ‘cause you remember information more when you write it down as opposed to typing it. Read over the questions first and mark all the ones you can answer from memory. And then answer them. For the questions where you need to check, open your book or notes and answer those. Be sure to double-check those ones you answered from memory at this point!

This document is just for you, so you don’t need to write in complete sentences – phrases are fine. Outline answers to questions that require longer answers.

BTW, if the teacher hasn’t provided a study guide, you can make your own!

Refresh Your Study Guide

Just like you can refresh your own notes, refreshing a study guide is a form of studying. Highlight the most important names and concepts. Draw small visuals next to your answers. Add annotations in the margins. Write summaries for each section, focusing on the big ideas.

See What You Know

study guide
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The next time you sit down to study, grab a blank copy of that study guide and try to redo it from memory. After you’ve filled in everything you can, take a different colored pen and the original guide you completed. Compare the two versions and add any information to the 2nd study guide with the other colored pen.

If you’re working on a monster study guide, this probably won’t be possible. Focus on smaller sections one at a time and work your way through the entire guide.

Condense It

Try to condense the information from the study guide you completed into a single page. Not by writing smaller, but by writing less. Focus on the most important ideas, concepts, and vocabulary in the unit. Not all information you learned is equal; some of it is more important.

You can also make connections between this unit and a previous unit – that’s some higher-level thinking that will be important when it comes time for the final exam!

Make It a Game

Get yet another copy of the study guide and cut it up into strips, but question or topic. Put all the strips into a hat or bowl and pick one out at random to answer. (I got this suggestion from Leslie Josel at Order Out of Chaos and I love it!) This is great if you become bored easily, but can also be great for a study group as well!

The next time you receive a study guide from a teacher, you have multiple methods to utilize it for studying. So, don’t just stare at it – so something with it!

How do you study from a study guide? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: Create Your Own Study Guide, How to Be Successful in a Class You Dislike, Study Breaks to the Rescue: 6 Ideas for the Best Breaks

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