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A study guide is a great way to condense important information you need to know for a test. This lesson will detail some tips and strategies to create the best study guide possible.

What Is a Study Guide?

Whenever you have a large test coming up, it is often easier to prepare using a study guide. A study guide is a condensed version of all of the important information you need to know in order to do well on a test. There is an art to creating a study guide that is both useful and efficient. This lesson will tell the story of one student who is an expert at creating study guides.

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Follow along as she makes a guide for an upcoming test so that you can learn helpful tips and strategies for making your own study guides.Alicia has a very important history final coming up. For this test, she needs to study all of the information she learned from the beginning of the semester. While this may seem a near impossible task, Alicia is an expert at making useful and efficient study guides. She is going to use her skills to make the best study guide possible to help her pass the final.To help remind herself of what she needs to do when creating her study guides, Alicia has created a checklist that she calls the ‘5 Cs.’

Collect Materials

The first thing Alicia always does is collect materials that she needs.

She gathers all of her notes, papers, and books she used throughout the semester. This helps her get a big picture of the information she is going to need to put into her study guide. It is important to include as much information as possible in this initial step, or you might miss some crucial parts of your test.

Create Categories

After Alicia gathers all of her materials, she begins creating a rough outline of the information she needs to study.

She does so by sorting notes into larger sections and she will create categories. For example, for her history final, Alicia finds it is useful to group information by sets of years. This allows her to break her notes down into more digestible chunks, which will make creating and using the guide much easier.

Combine Notes into Categories

Now that she has broad categories, Alicia begins to combine notes into categories. At this step, Alicia begins paring down her notes to only the most important elements. If you attempt to include everything you ever wrote down during class in your study guide, it won’t really be a study guide.

You will just be re-writing your notes all over again.Sorting her notes is the bulk of Alicia’s work when creating study guides. It is during this step that she begins to see the general outline of her guide. She also begins deciding what form her study guide is going to take. Because there is a lot of information that can easily be sorted into categories, Alicia’s study guide for history is going to be a typed outline.

Cut Out Unimportant Information

Remember, when it comes to actually making the study guide, try to cut out facts.

Alicia tries to keep her study guides as short, but as dense as possible. After all, the purpose of the guide is to help you learn just what is important to do well on your test. Extraneous information is only going to make studying more overwhelming.

Construct the Study Guide

Alicia has her broad categories decided and notes sorted, so she can begin to construct her study guide. Which form the study guide will take depends on what kind of information you need to study for a test. For example, if Alicia was making a study guide for a vocabulary test, she might be making flash cards.

The form of study guide is also dependent on your preference for studying. If you prefer to break up studying into smaller chunks, flash cards might be more suitable. However, if you’d rather move through the material slowly and deliberately for long periods of time, an outline would be much better.

Lesson Summary

Creating a study guide is an incredibly important part of condensing information to prepare for a big test. By following Alicia’s progress, you were able to see what steps are important for making the best study guide you can.

Remembering the ‘5 Cs’ helps Alicia (and can help you) create the best, most comprehensive study guides possible.The ‘5 Cs’ are:

  1. Collect materials
  2. Create categories
  3. Combine notes into categories
  4. Cut out unimportant information
  5. Construct the study guide

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