How To Use a Study Guide Effectively

A study guide is a summary of a topic that is being studied.  It lists down important points, key ideas, topic outlines, charts and diagrams, and other information that help the student understand a subject more thoroughly.  Though a study guide aims to make the student learn easier, it may cause the student to fail in comprehending the subject by relying on a study guide alone.  Here is how to use a study guide effectively.

  1. Read the study guide from start to finish.  Reading the whole study guide gives you an idea of how the topic you are studying is structured.  It focuses your attention on things you need to know and remember.  It makes you aware of things you are not familiar with, thus you can prepare yourself to find out more about these things.
  2. Read the study guide before you study.  Don’t rely on the study guide alone, since the guide may leave out important information that you only get from studying your books and notes.  Knowing the contents of the study guide before studying makes you pay more attention (and remember them more easily) when you encounter the same contents in your books and notes. 
  3. Read the study guide while studying.  If you have read the study guide before studying, you may have forgotten some of the details.  Constantly rereading it as you study makes it stick to your mind more.  It clarifies unfamiliar information in your study guide as you study along.  Make additional notes to your study guide to complete missing information.  Study reading techniques to get the most out of your books and study guides.
  4. Read the study guide after you have done studying.  A study guide doesn’t give everything you need to study, thus you must study your lessons and use the study guide only as a reviewer.  Use the study guide as a notes guide, and review the study guide along with the notes you have made while studying your lessons. 
  5. Use the study guide as a checklist.  The study guide lists information that you are supposed to know.  While studying, mark a check to each item in the study guide when you have comprehended it.  After studying, review the study guide to see if you have left items unchecked.  If yes, use other sources of information and research on the item you still don’t understand.
  6. Look for more study guides.  A topic can have many study guides written about it.  Reading a variety of study guides about the same topic makes you understand it more.  Collect study guides from different study authors as you can.
  7. Never rely on study guides alone.  As previously mentioned, study guides are by no means complete, and you should not treat it as the only source of information to help you pass your subject.  Pay attention during your study activities in school to help you make the most out of your study guide.
  8. Make your own study guide.  Make your own study guide by compiling the notes you have written as you were studying. This study guide composes of the study guide your teacher has given you as well as your additional notes.  Putting the material in your own words makes you understand the topic more.  Study teaching techniques to be your own teacher.

A study guide is a useful tool for those who want to excel in class.  Use these tips to increase the effectiveness of study guides that your teachers give to you.


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