A study guide is a tool that you can learn to do to avoid stress when studying. If you have a textbook, a binder full of notes from your reading, and lots of homework and worksheets, it can be difficult to know where to start. But by learning a few tricks, finding the right information in the right place, and using your guide to the best of your ability, you can study effectively. Read on to learn more about the topic.
Part 1 of 3: Format Your Study Guide
Step 1. Match the shape to the function
There are different types of study guides, each in a format to suit different topics and learning styles. No matter what you are studying, there is a guide not only for each topic but also for your needs. Organize the information in the simplest way you can.
- If you learn easier by visual methodsConsider using colored sections in your guides, or use an idea map to draw the information and make it easier to access.
- If you have a linear mind, organizes the information chronologically or alphabetically, to be able to learn one thing in a series and then continue with another.
- If you need to connect with the information emotionally To understand it, organize your notes narratively so that you can study them easily. Translate math concepts into stories that you can connect with, then organize your guides into a short story that you can recite to remind you of applying the formulas.
- If you can memorize information quickly, use a format that helps you memorize effectively, whether you record yourself reciting the words and definitions, and then listen to those recordings with your iPod all day, or create flashcards and use them throughout the day to see if you've learned.
Step 2. Draw concept maps to connect the main ideas and thus prioritize the information
Concept maps involve writing the main idea in a separate box and connecting it with other ideas by importance or chronological order. Then connect the associated information branches that arise from the main idea. This method provides a vision of how the material is interlaced.
- An example of a concept map for a history chapter on space flight may involve "The Space Race" as the main heading, which is separated into several categories for the United States and the Soviet Union, with more information for each specific mission., projects, successes and failures.
- A formal outline, like the ones you should use in essays, is an example of a concept map. If outlining work and organizing information is useful to you, do it to study. Formal outlines make great study guides, but only if they are easy for you to write. If doing one is too stressful for you, find another guide.
- Technical information diagrams can help you visually represent processes or procedures that have a series of steps. Start with the main concept and organize all the key factors from left to right in the order they should follow.
- Timelines are good for delineating a series of chronological events, most of these are used for historical, political, and biology topics.
Step 3. Use comparison charts to highlight differences in key concepts
Create study guides using comparison tables when you need to compare a related set of ideas. They are especially useful for organizing parallels in history and biology topics, or for comparing different writers in a literary course.
- For example, v a comparison table that collects information on different plant species should have the name of the plants in one column, with the kingdom, family, and other genus. This will help you organize the information for quick comparison.
- You can also use it to study literature, placing different characters from the novel in different columns with their attributes and other information below each one. You can also write the information from two different novels and organize it to compare them with each other.
Step 4. Use concept cards to memorize vocabulary
Flashcards can be created using 5 "x 7" flashcards, with as much information as you like, although they tend to be more effective at remembering individual words or defining specific concepts. For this reason, they are very effective for studying languages and history.
Write 1 key concept on the front of each card and on the back write the facts you want to associate with that card. Read the cards or have someone help you review them. To make sure you've memorized everything, read the front and back of each card. This is very useful when you want to learn words in another language
Step 5. Create a mock exam to help you study
This is a great way to analyze the content that you are going to analyze from two perspectives: if you think about what you think is going to come on the exam, you will be thinking like the teacher, and if you can anticipate those questions, you will be one step ahead.
- Try to find out if they will give you a multiple choice test, open questions, or if you need to write an essay. Prepare for each type of exam by writing the type of questions that will come on the exam.
- Many teachers are willing to provide old versions of the test (if they have them) for you to use as a guide. Textbooks also include sample tests that are very helpful. While it may seem a bit stressful to take the test more than once, this is a great way to study, and it can even give you a clue as to what questions will come up on the test.
Step 6. Study multiple study guides
Create a study guide in a combination of formats, using the main concepts and supplemental information that you have gathered from other materials. You can create these guides by hand, by computer in a word document, a spreadsheet or a specialized program to organize your information.
- Some students think that rewriting notes and organizing information by hand is more useful than by computer and makes your mind physically connect with the information. While this has no effect on memory, reading and rewriting the information helps you review; You read the information once when you see what you are going to write down and you read it again when you copy it.
- Alternatively, if you have problems with your handwriting (it is difficult for you to read), or you simply prefer to work on your computer, you are free to type the information in your study guide, make it as graphic as you want, print copies or read it through from your mobile device.
Part 2 of 3: Choose what to study
Step 1. Ask your teacher what information will come on the test
The first place to start studying is by talking to your instructor, teacher, teacher, or teacher aide to direct your attention to the right place. If it's not an important part of the class discussion, be sure to find out what information this particular test will include.
- Some courses are cumulative, which means that information in class is accumulated throughout the semester. While some courses are expected to put an examination of all the material at the end of the course, others are examining on isolated topics and chapters. Be sure to ask your teacher about the specific content that will come on the test to study just that information.
- If you have questions about what to study, be sure to study new information. While many teachers enjoy putting information they have seen long ago to test your memory, they are more likely to focus on the most recent chapters, readings, and information. Most teachers don't want to fool you.
Step 2. Read the textbook and any other reading materials you have
Depending on the class you are studying for, the most important source of information is the textbook and other readings assigned by the teacher. Many textbooks already indicate which are the most important concepts for you to study, which is why they are excellent sources of study.
- Reread your material to isolate the main ideas that you will include in your guide. When you are reviewing your material, it is not necessary to read it word for word. Instead, review the main concepts to remember what is being talked about and mark this information for inclusion in your study guide. This, in itself, is a good first step to start studying for your exam.
- Look for the chapter summary or study questions to guide the content of your guide. If the textbook has a list of questions and concepts, copy them into your notes for inclusion in your study guide. Even if your teacher doesn't base tests on the textbook, knowing extra information helps you prepare for the questions that may come up on the test.
Step 3. Gather and “translate” the class notes
Gather all the notes from your readings, including any guides and other supplemental materials the teacher has given you. Depending on the focus and content of the course, the lecture notes can be just as important (if not more so) than the textbook and the readings.
- Notes in class can sometimes be messy, confusing, and difficult to read, so it's good to just make a study guide as a clean version of all your notes. Save some time by re-copying your notes, but don't copy them word for word, just the most important concepts and ideas that the teacher pointed out. Translate them into something concise for your study guide.
- If you don't like taking notes, ask a friend for them. Just be very careful with them and be sure to return them in time. Return the favor in the future by making sure you take your notes well and let your friend use them.
Step 4. Look for definitions, explanations, and additional sources
Sometimes, for some topics, an external investigation can be useful or even necessary. If your notes and text aren't enough, make sure you understand the concept by looking for external sources to clarify issues you don't understand. Fully exploring a particular topic will give you a unique perspective and understanding of that topic to use on the exam.
If you are studying for a final exam, be sure to collect your past exams, study guides, and manuals. These can be used to form your study guide
Step 5. Focus on the main concepts of each chapter and reading
Identify the most important concepts in a particular section or chapter and make sure you understand that rather than more specific but less important information. Depending on the topic, some specific details like dates, formulas or definitions may be important, but the topic is much more important.
- When you are reviewing math or science topicsMake sure you memorize the formulas (if you need to), but remember that knowing how to apply those formulas is much more important. Understand how to use the formula and when to use it. The concept behind the formula is much more important than the formula itself. This is also relevant in physics, chemistry and other sciences, where it is useful to create practical examples that apply the material to real-life situations.
- When you are reviewing literature in SpanishMake sure you remember the names of all the characters in the book you are going to be tested on, but focus more on the plot, the meaning of the story, and other topics in the reading rather than the specific details. If you forget the name of a character and only put "the sister of the main character" it will not matter much if the essay is very complete and includes more important information.
- When you are reviewing historyIt is very common to spend a lot of time memorizing historical facts and vocabulary, but it is also very important to understand the topics of the history period you are studying, and why those facts are important. Understand the relationship between all names and dates, and you will never be wrong.
Step 6. Organize the information in order of priority
Condense all study material into sections, that will make studying more convenient than reading the entire chapter. Use bold headings for different sections of information, and consider organizing the information in a bulleted list so that you can access it quickly and efficiently.
Identify, explain, and demonstrate the relationship between the ideas and concepts in your guide by grouping the study guides into linked packages to study all related information. If you are studying for your final history exam, it would be good to put together all the information on the war in one study group, or all the information on several presidents in another group, so that you are just looking for common themes
Part 3 of 3: Use the Study Guides
Step 1. Include everything you need to study and then take that information with you everywhere
If you make sure you have everything you need for the test in your study guide, you can leave your textbook at home and only take a couple of sheets with you. This is especially important in cumulative exams, in which you will include a lot of information. Having to read all the chapters one by one can be very overwhelming, while just reading your notes will be faster and more efficient.
Take your study guide out on the bus or while watching TV. The more you turn the information over, the closer you will get to memorizing everything
Step 2. Underline the material that you find difficult to review again before the test
If you have trouble remembering a specific formula or remembering a concept, underline it in a color you already have designated, such as blue, and continue studying the rest of the material. When you go to review it again, start with everything you underlined in blue and make sure you learn it before the test. This can be a very useful way to remember not only what you have to learn, but also to have small goals that you must meet when studying.
Step 3. Study in more than one place
Some studies show that changing locations while studying can increase your ability to memorize information. In other words, if you just do more than study in your room, it may be more difficult to remember information than if you had studied a little in your room, a little more in the yard, and a little more in the cafeteria during school.
Step 4. Schedule your study
Create your study guides as soon as possible so that you have time to study them before you have to present. In a couple of weeks before the exam, divide your time to study all the topics and sections of each topic that you should study, to ensure that you have enough time for each specific area. Don't try to learn everything at the last minute.
- If you have anxiety problems and tend to panic before the test, it is a very good idea to create a program and set deadlines to learn all the topics. If you know that you should cover the first two chapters for this week, before moving on to the third and fourth chapters for next week, that means you have a whole week to dedicate to the first two chapters and you don't need to worry about the other chapters. until next week.
- Put your studies in different compartments and only focus on one at a time. Do not change from topic to topic, focus on one until complete and then move on to the other.
- Words that are underlined or definitions of words in textbooks are often key points and are very good pointers of material for your study guide.
- Keep in mind that each study guide format has different strengths and weaknesses, and there are also many different learning styles. Therefore, if you want a study guide to be appropriately adapted to your topic or different types of learning, you have to use more than one format. For example, maps and diagrams are more useful for those who find it easier to learn using visual means, while information cards are more useful for those who learn by aural means as they will be constantly reciting them.
- Try to be as concise as possible. Avoid using unnecessary information.