Using a study guide seems simple enough, right? It has to be one of the best tools around… surely. No one can mess it up. It’s the answers to the test given to you before you have to take the test. That’s got to be helpful … doesn’t it?
Believe it or not, using a study guide often trips students up in ways they just don’t see coming until the exam. Why is this?
Too many students see study guides as the answer key to a test. In fact they are not.
Study guides are the question sheet for the test — not the answer sheet
Shifting your mindset about study guides in this simple way will make a tremendous difference in how you get ready for tests.
It’s hard to communicate how important this is. It’s a mind shift for sure. But it’s undeniably important for students to understand this if they are going to get the most out of this tool.Study guides are the question sheet for the test -- not the answer sheet. #testprepClick To Tweet
And that’s what study guides are. They’re incredible tools. They can help your study skills hit hyper-speed. But if you use any good tool the wrong way, it’s no longer helpful.
Try using a hammer to change a light bulb and let me know how it goes for you. Actually scratch that — YouTube yourself doing that. I’d love to watch the results.
So how do you use a study guide correctly? Try these three tips for starters to get the most out of using a study guide.
1) Make your own study guide before using a study guide from someone else
This doesn’t seem natural. Why would you make your own when your teacher has made one for you?
The process of summarizing, condensing, and reworking your notes into a workable review sheet is crucial for your test prep. One of the keys is that it forces you to create something of value for later on. It also forces you to hone in on the main concepts you should know for a test in your own words.
2) Use your teacher’s study guide as a quiz first
When you read through your study guide, try using it as a quiz sheet first. Actually write your answers on another sheet of paper. Anything that you don’t know will become points of focus. Anything that is on your own personal review sheet can be confirmed as important. And you can correct mistakes effectively.
3) Use any means necessary to fill in holes
Using a study guide correctly often means that you are primarily using it as a tool to find where you are weak. If you’re not sure about how to answer one particular portion of the question, you know that you need to study it.
It doesn’t matter at that point where you find the missing info. If it’s not in your notes, or your personal review sheet, try someone else’s review sheet. It’s not a problem if you want to use a review sheet to fill in. It’s just a problem when you expect that reading their notes will help you study.
It won’t. Trying these three steps is a much better approach to using a study guide correctly. Enjoy — then let us know how it works.