Making your own study guide can condense information into a format that makes sense to you.
Making your own study guide can condense information into a format that makes sense to you.

Reviewing your notes and reading assigned texts can help you master the materials in the classes you're taking -- but if you want another way to study, create your own study guide. Study guides often come with information packaged in a number of different formats, such as visuals, outlines, summaries, and basic charts. Try using all of these methods when you create a study guide in Microsoft Word.

Launch Microsoft Word and select "Blank Document" from the template chooser.

Type the name of the class, section, or something else that denotes the study topic at the top of the page. Throughout the document, make your headings larger by highlighting the text and then selecting a number larger than "12" from the Font Size drop-down menu.

Make an outline of important information from your class notes. Microsoft Word helps you format the outline as you go. Start by typing "I," and then type a main heading; pressing "Enter" will automatically insert "II" below your heading, but if you press "Tab," Word removes the "II" and inserts an indented "a." Type a subheading, press "Enter," and then either type another subhead or press "Tab" to add more detailed information underneath the first subhead. For example, if you're studying anatomy, you might type "Leg Muscles" for the heading, type "Quadriceps" next to "a," create subheadings under "Quadriceps" to type the names of the four quadriceps muscles, and then type "Hamstrings" next to "b."

Create a visual organizer of information using images and text boxes. This way you can include such things as diagrams, maps and photos in your study guide. With the Insert tab open, click "Insert" and then "Picture" to locate and insert a photo from your computer. Following our example of a study guide for muscles, you might insert a picture to help you remember what the quadriceps look like and where they are located in the body. With the Insert tab still open, click the "Text" group and then click "Text Box" to add text to the page. Click the border of the text box to move it to an appropriate location on the document, and click and drag one of its corners to change the size of the box if necessary. Type the basic concept you're studying in the text box, such as "Leg Muscles," and type additional information to help you study or create another text box with related details.

Create a table that you can use to study important words or study questions. Place your cursor on the part of the document where you want the table to go. With the Insert tab selected, click "Table." From the menu that appears, pull your cursor across and down to select three columns across and the number of rows that correspond to the number of words you need to study. For example, if you have 10 vocabulary words or study questions, move your cursor down 10 rows. When the desired number of rows and columns is highlighted, click your mouse to create the table. Type the vocabulary words or questions in the rows along the left side of the table, leave the middle column blank, and type the definitions or answers in the corresponding cells along the right hand side of the table. When you print this portion of the study guide, you can fold the paper along the middle column, or leave the right half covered so you won't see the definitions or answers until you're ready.

Click the disk icon near the top left of the Word window to save your document. In the window that appears, type the name of your study guide and click "Save." When you want to print the document, click "File," and then select "Print."