Guest Blog: Making an Effective Study Guide by Yulia Savine

Hi! My name is Yulia Savine and I am currently a sophomore in high school working hard to become the strongest version of myself. Things that make me happy are spending time in the band room playing the clarinet, dancing with the guard, painting, drawing, editing the school paper, taking care of our school chickens, and hiking with my dad (among many other things). Growing up, I have always found comfort in keeping busy and this has evolved into my interest in time management skills and effective organization. I love a challenge, and the academic environment that I have built for myself is definitely pushing me. My freshman year, Alicia reached out and offered a position where not only would I get the chance to help her out a little, but also learn from a successful entrepreneur and student with similar passions.

Earlier, I mentioned that I have been pushing myself quite a bit in terms of academics. I admit that I have been stressed this year, overwhelmed with the amount of content that was (and still is) on my plate. I started panicking and dwindling from my former effective study habits and entering a zone where I felt like I was drowning in classwork and new material. My notes were excessive, packed with what I felt was too much for me to memorize.

Somewhere around midway through the semester, I had a call with Alicia and I brought up my dilemma. In response, she recommended that I make a study guide to summarize chapters. This sparked something in my mind, and I recalled how I used to make summaries of units and chapters for my classes the previous year. However, this year I had decided that I had no time to make these study guides because I was too busy with learning the actual material, ignoring the fact that this could be what does end up helping me learn.

As a result, I have developed a general format of study guide. The following list is a general idea of what I usually include on my study guides.

  1. Words – important concepts or ideas
  2. 2-5 word definitions
  3. Equations
  4. Visuals – graphs, drawings, color! I find that I learn better when I have fun making these 🙂
  5. Explanations as needed – try to keep these at a minimum so that you do not overwhelm yourself by cramming too many words onto one page
  6. Previous mistakes/misconceptions – I add these to study guides after taking a test and understanding my mistakes so that I can review them again before the final exam

Here are examples of study guides for my economics class vs. my chemistry class.

Both include information that I have made mistakes on and very shortened definitions and notes on every concept. In general, I find that making an effective study guide can more often than not force you to process the information that you are rewriting rather than simply rewriting your notes. Depending on what works for you, you can be more word-heavy or more visual-heavy on these sorts of things because the ultimate goal is to make this for YOU. Starting an effective study guide a week or two before the test is most beneficial for me, and I often keep them stowed away and pull them back out for final exams.

In my life, I have found that I really enjoy getting creative with this method of studying, while taking the time to absorb and review what I have covered over a long period of time.

That is pretty much all I have to say on making an effective study guide. Let yourself have fun, and stay calm this finals season. Have a wonderful week!

Yulia 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s