To create a successful study guide for yourself, you need to:

  1. Format your study guide to your style
  2. Find out what information the tests include 
  3. Go through your study materials
  4. Gather and translate notes 
  5. Seek out additional definitions, explanations and resources 
  6. Highlight difficult information to return to 
  7. Create a study schedule 

Study Guides are one of the best ways to help prepare for your tests. It is your personal study tool that includes a collection of notes from your subject, customised to fit your learning style.

The purpose of your study guide is to not only help you gain a better understanding of your work, but greater results too. 


There are many different study guides, each suited to different types of learning styles. 

You need to pick a format best suited to you in order to make the most out of your study guide.

Taking into account which type of learner you are can be extremely helpful when creating your study guide. This way you will be able to determine if you should include loads of visuals, examples or perhaps make an audio study guide.

You can include the following throughout your study guide to help you:


Speak to your lecturers, or take a look at past papers to find out what information the tests usually include. 

This way you can save time and effort studying unnecessary information and focus on things that are more important.

Usually tests focus more on the most recent chapters studied. However, this does not mean the other chapters won’t be included. 

Study Materials

The most important source of information for your subjects is your prescribed books and textbooks.

Oftentimes textbooks outline the most important topics or concepts to study, which makes them a great tool when creating your study guides.

Make sure after you have read a chapter in your textbook that you scan for main ideas to include in your study guide. 


Gather class notes, or find summarised notes online to include in your study guide. Most times, these notes can be more helpful than the actual textbook.

Read over the notes and highlight important sections and main ideas. Add the highlighted sections to your study guide. 

This will save you tons of study time!

Additional Definitions, Explanations and Resources 

If you do not understand something completely, additional research can be extremely helpful. 

This way you can find better definitions and explanations, and go further in depth to help you understand the concept better. Try Googling it, or even searching for videos on Youtube.

Keep an eye out for some past papers, notes or study guides.

Difficult Information

If you are having trouble remembering certain parts of the work, highlight it in a specific colour or make a note to return back to that section.

When you do your test revision, you will be able to easily locate sections you struggle with. This way you will know which parts to focus more on when revising.

Study Schedule 

Create your study guide as early as possible so that you have enough time to study it before your test.

Set time aside each week for specific chapters in your subjects that you will study on the allocated day. Prioritise subjects that will be written first.

This is to make sure that you have enough time to study everything without falling behind.

A study guide on a desk with the Bellview Logo

Tips when Creating a Study Guide 

Here are some tips and things to include in your study guide to help you throughout your studies.

Include a Table of Contents

Make studying simple and topics easy to find by including a table of contents at the beginning of your study guide or before each chapter.

You can do this by adding a list stating where to find each section in your guide.

Also, use bigger headings for different sections, or add bulleted lists to find what you are looking for quicker.

Make a Vocabulary Section

Tests usually have questions where you need to write a definition for a term, answer if the definition is correct, or pick the correct definition. 

Therefore it is important to know key terms and definitions. At the beginning or end of each chapter list these so that you can include them in your studies.

Oftentimes, these are highlighted in each chapter of your textbook.

Handwrite your Study Guide 

Although writing your study guide by hand takes longer than typing it, it usually forces you to actually think about what you are writing.

As a result, this helps you absorb the information you need to study while creating your guide.

Use your Own Words

Do not just write the information down word for word. Try and put it into your own words. 

Writing in your own words will help you to take in the information a lot better and ensure that you understand what you are writing.

Add Some Visuals 

Visuals are proven to help students remember information better. 

Include diagrams, tables, pictures and drawings wherever you can. This will help you to visualise what you are writing and make it easier to learn and understand.

Enroll Today, Your Future Awaits!

Bellview Institute is a distance learning college that offers a variety of
accredited courses. Distance learning is ideal for working individuals looking to boost their career.

We have the best benefits for our students, including all year round registration and engaging support.

If you are interested in furthering your education, contact us using one of the following ways:

  • Give us a call on our toll-free number 0800 39 00 27
  • Fill out our contact form at the bottom of the page
  • Chat to us on Whatsapp 082 318 8892

We want to be the college that takes you further. 


Author: Kayla Preston
Last Updated: 04 January 2021

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