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How a Good Study Guide Helps

Jun 29, 2008
Today there are a plethora of resources for students preparing to take a particular exam. The question then becomes how to choose the right study guide and how they can help. Some students discount the fact that study guides are proven to increase grades, promote concentration and give tips for test taking. Not all study guides are made equally though and the student should strive to find the best one possible.

Depending on the type of exam will determine the type of study guide that the student needs. If it is a particular exam such the SAT or other college entrance exam there are several to choose from. One of the important factors that students should keep in mind is the fact that the test material must be covered, but the study guide must prepare the individual as well. Several of the study guides only address the information on the test, not the actual preparation of the student. Granted the content of the test is important, but the mental preparation of the student is equally important.

A good study guide will walk a student through the information and also give them some test taking hints that can help them have a positive experience. Tips such as rest before the test, proper nourishment, and concentration should all be addressed. Though many of us believe that we already know some of this information it is important to have those little tips and tricks with us when taking a test. After all many of these tests carry large price tags for us!

The most frequently asked question about testing is what to expect and what type of information is on the test. The unknown seems to be the most anxiety causing factor when taking a test. The student doesn't know whether the test is difficult, tricky or not too bad. Though a study guide will not give detailed information about the test, there are practice questions and other information that will help the student understand what's in store for them on the big day.

Practice tests are a great way to determine whether or not a student is ready for an exam. Some students assume that they are ready and go in to bomb the test, while others feel that they need tons more preparation, yet ace the test. This is a good way to get a feel for the test and address the areas that the student needs to work harder. For example, if a student is taking a multi-part exam they may test and find that only one area needs more preparation. This saves time and allows the student to focus on the weak areas of the test.

One of the least favorites of a study guide is the practice reading. This part may not be fun, but it is very effective and here is why. Students have a habit of speed reading or skimming the surface of the paragraph, book or excerpt. This is a bad habit because not only is critical information missed, but also the student is likely to score poorly on the questions about the reading. This part of the study guide helps the student slow down their reading and helps them practice their skills of identifying what is important in the reading. Practice makes perfect and the more we read, the more that we get out of it.

The writing practice of the study guide is another great way to prepare for an upcoming exam. Taking a topic and building an outline and essay around it is a good way to be prepared for what ever the test may throw your way. Not only do practicing writing skills help beef up the old skills, it also helps the student put their thoughts on paper. Sometimes with computers, word processors and other technological advances in society individuals come to rely on them, therefore allowing their skills to slip. This can be seen with employees, students, workers and the general populations writing skills. When we do not use our writing skills our grammar, spelling and punctuation suffer. So the practice does us good and helps us prepare for the writing portion of any test.

A good study guide helps the student prepare in every way for the exam. It is important that a student take advantage of any opportunity to improve themselves or their grades. Study guides are meant to be used as tools, help set goals and improve the confidence level of the student. Without all of these things students will not perform as well as they possibly could have. Take an opportunity to find a great study guide and start studying early.
About the Author
Read more from Gene's website College Success on standardized test taking tips ,and study skills .
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