How to Create a Successful Study Guide in 2024

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A study guide is a strategic approach so a student can prepare for their exams much more easily and an even better way to round up what they’ve learned.

Study guides are used a lot in the United States colleges as they help the student improve their test scores as much as 30%. But have you ever thought about making one? Do you know how to create it? And do you know what you’re supposed to do?

If not, then we have just the article for you so sit back and enjoy.

Organize Your Notes

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The first and most important thing to do to create a study guide is to round up your notes in an organized way that makes reading and following easy.

One of the most used types of study guides for this task is called a “summary sheet”. Making a summary sheet is nothing is very easy as all you need to do is make two columns.

On the left column, you’re supposed to add questions that lead to the information you put on the right side. Naturally, you’ll be connecting each question with its answer and thus create a summary sheet.

When adding information on the right side, do understand that this should be only important concepts that are worth taking into consideration as part of your notes.

The great thing about this method is that it’s a great way to summarize and review everything you’ve so far gathered as “key information”.

Essay Questions

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Essay questions are the hardest form of questioning. While some will disagree, the vast majority of college students won’t. Essay questions are also quite tricky as you never know how lengthy they can be and how much information they would require to be answered.

Thus, preparing for such answers is a great way to learn the exam material. To practice essay questions, there are two methods you can take.

The first one is to write down the answer and memorize or practice it. The second one is essentially the same thing but this time you’re not writing down anything.

Study Vocabulary

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Now, this one is great for those that love memorizing answers. Creating a vocabulary section is quite easy as you already have everything you need.

In most textbooks, the vocabulary section is written down on the last pages. So, all you need is to simply copy and paste them into your study guide.

This is called visual mapping. As we mentioned, it involves writing down your answer but you’ll be doing it in small boxes. Visual learners implement this method of learning quite often as it is a great way to memorize information.

Plus, there is a solid chance that you’ll be given a few of these to answer so it will work in your favor to go ahead with it.

When it comes to creating the study guide itself, do know that you don’t have to start from scratch. There are many wonderful services out there that help students prepare easily for their exams by having other students post their very own study guides. These services have their own platforms that you can create an account and look for relevant guides within your field of choice. Many of these platforms, like Docmerit, have a huge database of carefully constructed study guides for various subjects that will help you achieve your ultimate goal.

So, don’t hesitate to give it a try. But if not, then we move onto the next piece of advice and that is…


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Hard-writing sounds very much like hard copying, but they’re not the same thing. While the basis of this method is to write down the whole study material solely to find the most relevant and important pieces of information, your goal will be to write it as opposed to typing it on your PC.

This is what separates both methods, but we’ll also tell you why this is a much more successful method.

Writing it down, as opposed to typing, helps you more because you are effectively putting the information into your head. Writing is much slower than typing, so you’ll have more time to absorb the information you’ll be writing.

This is precisely why you should write it down as opposed to typing on your computer. Sure, it might be uglier and harder to read, but it will be worth it.

Use Your Learning Style

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Now, when it comes to this tip, it’s really up to anyone’s interpretation.

That’s because you should always create the study guide on how you see fit. Sure we might have given you some clear instructions on how to make one, but you should ultimately tailor it to however you see fit.

Everyone has different learning methods that we use to perform better during preparations, You should implement your learning style into the study guide and follow it because it makes it much easier.

If you’re a visual learner, then implement more of the visual elements instead of hard-writing. If your learning style revolves around reading or writing, then implement more of those methods.

But ultimately, you have to tip the scales and bring it more towards your learning style. There is no going against this one as anything else will significantly hinder your ability to prepare on time.

Lastly, you might also implement color coding if it gives you the edge. Color coding is something that millions of American college students implement to improve their test scores during exams.

This method is also quite straightforward, so we figured it doesn’t need a section on its own.


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Students sweat a lot when it comes to preparing for exams. However, if you have enough time to pull off everything you need to make the exam a success, then there is nothing to worry about.

Creating a study guide gives you enough flexibility to prepare for all sorts of questions that you might have on your college exam. It is a great way to prepare for any type of exam and why students use it so much.