How to Write a Study Guide

Let’s talk about pre-test stress.  It is hard to distinguish from during-test stress and almost synonymous with after-test stress, but it is fairly easy to tell apart from the stress induced simply by hearing all of the side-effects in a medicine commercial (fainting, death, stroke, leprosy, smallpox, growth of blue fur and a strong attraction to cookies; to name a few).

One of the things students do to prepare for tests it to create a study guide.  Here’s how I would go about it.

First, take a break.  I’m sure you’ve been working hard thinking about the study guide you haven’t yet started, so you need to rest your brain.  I’d recommend a nice, relaxing game of poker, preferably with high stakes and ruthless opponents.

Now that you’ve finished your poker game, and are likely down a few thousand dollars (the cost of relaxation these days), you are ready to start your study guide.  Hopefully, the teacher gave you a vocab list to work off of.  If not, take another break (blackjack, anyone?).

For those of you with your vocab list ready, go through and check off every word you already know well enough not to study.  If you are anything like the teens I know, you’re lucky to have a check.  The only purpose this step serves is to motivate you by showing how depressingly little you already know.

Next, create the study guide.  I can’t tell you the best way to do this, because I have not come to any conclusions about study guides during my stress-induced writing of them.  I can tell you that if the stress breaks you as often as it breaks me, you might end up with a few entries that look like this:

Gavrilo Princip- if he had been crushed by a falling piano before 1914, there would be no war, and therefore, no WWI test.  If only Yamaha had spent more time marketing in Bosnia and Serbia.

While that might not be entirely true, it is a good example of a study guide that has broken me.  However, YOU must BREAK the Study Guide!  It should not be the other way around.

Now that you are done with the study guide, I would study for the test.  You could do this using many methods.  My choice method is to lock myself in a closet with nothing but the study guide, a flashlight, spare batteries, and two days’ supply of canned food.  For those who are not serious about studying, though, I would recommend the ‘sleep on it’ method, where you literally sleep on the study guide and hope the knowledge seeps into your subconscious.

I’d love to give you more tips, but the next three I had planned all come with lengthy disclaimers, liability waivers, or articles of consent.  Instead, I’ll give you the best piece of advice.  Well, actually, I can’t literally give it to you, but I can describe it: it’s sort of a polyhedron with a rounded edge, that tastes like lemon custard and smells like old paper, while being blue, green, and yellow all at once.  With that, I wish you luck on your next test.

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