The Great Gatsby Study Guide For Students: Better Than Cliff Notes

Last Updated: January 25th, 2024 by Kerry Wisby (Teacher-BA English Literature, 1920s & Great Gatsby Expert)

Did your teacher assign you The Great Gatsby to read? Are you staring at the book, or maybe thumbing through the pages and wondering whether you will pass the class if you fail this test? Don’t worry! I’ve created this Great Gatsby Study Guide to help!

Student's Study Guide on Great Gatsby Novel

I’m sure you planned on reading the book after your big biology test or after Saturday’s big game, but somehow, you never got around to reading it, and now the test is next week.

Maybe you think you can watch the movie this weekend and get away with it. Then someone said that the movie was different, so now you are having second thoughts.

I may have been a bookworm when I was a teen, but there were some books I simply couldn’t wrap my head around (Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, ugh!), so I do understand where you’re coming from.

If you’re reading this nodding your head, keep reading for just a few more minutes. I’m going to get you out of the jam you’re in, and you are going to thank me in the comments later.

Is Gatsby Easy to Read?

A copy of the Great Gatsby Book by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A student’s copy of the Great Gatsby Book by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Well, the answer here is yes and no.

The words themselves aren’t difficult, but author F. Scott Fitzgerald does use some flowery language and symbols that aren’t common anymore.

Language changes so quickly, especially English, which makes books like The Great Gatsby more difficult to understand.

This is a novel written in the Jazz Age, not to mention that Fitzgerald uses all types of motifs and themes, so even if you read the book cover to cover, you might not understand what he’s talking about.

It’s not enough to know who the characters are and the general plot. There is so much more to this novel, and if you haven’t given the book the time it deserves, you’re in a real pickle.

The Great Gatsby Study Guide Plot and Characters

I’ve created a study guide with downloadable PDFs that will help you ace your upcoming test, including an easy-to-read summary (The Great Gatsby in a Nutshell)!

Downloadable PDF Great Gatsby Study Guide

You’ll learn who the main characters are, how they are related to one another, and their most important quotes.

I literally put the entire plot of the novel, with all the vital facts you must know minus the flowery language, on a single page.

I’ve also included a cheat sheet that you can print out and read in a flash. It covers everything from the plot summary to character descriptions, themes, symbols, and key quotes analysis. Put it in your pocket or take a photo of it with your phone and read it several times just before your test.

Need to Write an Essay?

No problem! With my student study guide, you don’t have to use AI and risk getting nailed by the teacher. Simply read the plot, the cheat sheet, and you should have no problem writing your own original essay in a matter of a few hours.

The Movie Won’t Cut It

The Great Gatsby 2013 film adaptation Poster
This is a poster for the 2013 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby by Atlanta’s CW69

Yes, the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire is terrific, but it doesn’t follow the book 100%.

You can watch the movie and take some notes but don’t think you’re going to pass that test based on the movie. They aren’t the same!

Let’s not forget that the movie doesn’t explain themes, motifs, or explain the background of the Roaring 20s.

The Great Gatsby Study Guide Questions

I’m going to take a guess that your teacher already expects that some students will try to watch the movie rather than read the book. My students used to do that, but they learned soon enough that it’s not the best way to pass the class.

The Great Gatsby Study Guide Questions

This means that your teacher will try to catch those students with some pretty tough questions.

Here are 15 questions that a teacher could use on a test to ensure that students have read The Great Gatsby rather than relying solely on the 2013 movie adaptation:

1. Who narrates the story, and where is he from? Another question might be “Why did the narrator write this novel and where did he write it?

2. What is the green light a symbol of in the novel? Or what is the green light, and why is the color green important?

3. What is the significance of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg’s billboard? How does Fitzgerald describe his eyes?

4. What is Gatsby’s real name, and where is he originally from? When and why did he change his name?

5. What is the “Valley of Ashes”? Why is it an important part of the story?

6. How does Jay Gatsby make his fortune? How is Gatsby’s wealth different from Tom Buchanan’s?

7. Describe Tom Buchanan’s personality and his role in the novel. What are the positive qualities of Tom Buchanan?

8. What event does Gatsby host at his mansion that is central to the plot? What is his purpose for holding this event?

9. Where did Daisy grow up? Who did Scott Fitzgerald base her character on?

10. What is the relationship between Tom, Daisy, and Myrtle Wilson? Do Daisy and Myrtle know each other?

11. What is the significance of Gatsby’s shirts in the story? And why does Daisy cry over them?

12. Who is Meyer Wolfsheim? What is his connection to Gatsby?

13. How does the novel end for each of the main characters? What makes Gatsby great in the novel?

14. What does Nick Carraway mean when he says, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”? What does this quote mean to you?

15. What is the primary theme conveyed in The Great Gatsby? What message does the novel convey to you personally?

These questions require a deep understanding of the book’s characters, plot, and themes, and cannot be answered solely by watching the movie.

The Great Gatsby Study Guide Answers

Every question above and more can be found in my student study guide.

As both a former student and former teacher, I know exactly what you need to know about this novel so that you sound like you spent months studying this book, not just hours.

Study Guide Answers in PDF The Great Gatsby

If you’ve made excuses in class or tried to fake your way out of questions, and if the questions above have you shaking your head, shrugging your shoulders and saying “I don’t know” to nearly all of them, don’t panic.

All you need are a few hours over the weekend or during the upcoming week and my student study guide.

Pass That Exam with My Sample Test

I’ve included some easy-to-understand videos because reading is such a chore for some people. It is narrated by my good friend Eric Sweigert, and I’m proud to say that he has a pleasing voice and he makes understanding what is happening in this novel fun.

I’ve included a few sample tests so that you can test your knowledge by chapter. Yes, you can use some of the sample questions above, but my test not only offers possible questions your teacher will probably ask, but it also includes the answers!

Before You Go

Great Gatsby Chapter Videos Downloads No2

I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering how much my study guide will set you back, and you’re thinking that you probably don’t have the cash.

Because so many students will be taking this exam next month, I’m offering a very special price for the next few weeks. It’s really not much more than that coffee drink you’re sipping right now!

Trying to navigate the complex and tumultuous lives of Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Nick Carraway can be a formidable task.

My study guide streamlines the journey, ensuring that no crucial detail or profound insight goes unnoticed.

With it, you’ll not only grasp the subtle nuances, the profound symbolism, and the timeless themes that make this novel a classic, but you will also look like you are really into this book! Your teacher is going to be impressed!

But knowledge is only half the equation. Now, it’s your turn to seize the moment, dive into The Great Gatsby, and use my guide as your compass. Engage with the characters, dissect the symbolism, and uncover the profound social critique woven into the story.

The Great Gatsby Resources for Students

So, dear student, don’t just take the shortcut – take the smart cut!

My study guide is easy to read and understand, and it’s your key to unlocking the heart of this American masterpiece. I encourage you to embark on this journey with vigor and curiosity!

Dive into the Roaring Twenties, immerse yourself in the world of Jay Gatsby, and let this literary adventure leave an indelible mark on your academic journey. Your quest for knowledge begins now with my special low-priced study guide for students just like you.

Don’t miss out! Click here to get your study guide for The Great Gatsby right now!

The Great Gatsby Study Guide For Students: Better Than Cliff Notes
The Great Gatsby Study Guide For Students: Better Than Cliff Notes
Unlock the essence of The Great Gatsby effortlessly with our concise study guide. Ace your exams with key insights minus the entire read
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