Study Guide to Studying

Being a perfectionist with neat handwriting is a blessing and a curse. I love writing by hand, so I don’t carry my laptop to class. I feel like a dinosaur whipping out my notebook and pencil case that I can't even zip up anymore, but, as soon as I flip to my crisp, clean page to begin my notes, everyone gazes in awe. 

I probably spend more time making my notes and study guides look aesthetically pleasing than I do actually paying attention to the content they possess; I have a method to my madness, I promise: 

 

1. Color code E V E R Y T H I N G.

You know those tweets that make fun of the girls that show up to class with 27 different colored pens and use all of them? Yes, I am that girl. But, when it comes time to study for the exam, who's most prepared and knows exactly where to find specific information? Me! 

At the start of each semester I assign each class a color. I use those specific colors to write assignments and important dates in my planner and on my various calendars. When I get to the point in the semester where I begin to make study guides, I make sure to use that same color to help train my brain that this material is associated with this color. 

 

2. Use your best handwriting.

It's simple: if you rush through taking notes in class, then how will you be able to read your handwriting later on when it comes time to ace the exam? Most of my professors post their slideshows on Canvas, so, during class, I focus on what's being instructed and jot down anything that had a lot of emphasis. 

I love taking the time to write my notes and study guides because it makes me feel like I've accomplished something; also, have you ever felt paper after being written on both sides with a nice gel pen? (It's easily in my top ten faves.)

 

3. Make sure to highlight key points.

My favorite way of beginning a study guide is looking through the material and pulling out key terms and defining them - it helps clear any confusion that may come down the line. When I create a study guide, I use the color associated with that class, and any complementing colors to help pop on the page for important key points or for material I know I'm struggling to grasp. 

This year I'm taking classes very involved in my major and the exams ask very specific questions about examples we read in the textbook or talked about in class. I like to make that noticeable in my study guides so I remember how prominent it was on the page when I read the question on the exam. My favorite method recently has been to make cute curly arrows to draw attention to examples. Writing in different styles and incorporating fun designs in your study guides helps your brain remember the content. 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I might spend an absurd amount of time making sure my study guides look pretty, but I do make sure to learn the material! It's helpful to type them up as well after handwriting, and repeating the information makes it easier for your brain to remember it. With midterms creeping around the corner, I hope you find inspiration and take the extra time to make an in-depth study guide to help you ace your exams!