Idealistically, we would all study before exams; unfortunately, this method doesn’t always work and students often resort to cramming instead.
Cramming involves memorizing information for short durations, often the night before a test. Although this approach to studying is suboptimal, it may help students who struggle to stay on schedule by providing an alternative study technique.
Break it down
Breaking a large assignment or studying session down into short study blocks is an effective way to stay focused and productive. For instance, consider setting aside 30 minutes before class starts in the morning, or during lunch break to do your studying at your most productive. Finding a time when you are most alert will enable you to study efficiently.
Students who learn visually may benefit from adding diagrams into their studies; this will enable them to better retain and comprehend the information being studied.
As another effective way of studying, using cues as reminders of what you’ve already learned or the atmosphere in your study space to retrieve new information can be very effective in helping to cement it into memory and recall later when working on other assignments or tests. This practice is known as echoic memory – considered one of the most efficient forms of memory storage for learning purposes.
Make a study schedule
An effective way to manage your study time is through creating a schedule. Take some time at the beginning of each semester to review your calendar and assess your available study time, taking into account classes, work commitments and extracurricular activities such as exercise and social obligations. Once this task has been mapped out in a timetable format you’ll know when and how best to devote yourself to studying.
Once you understand how much study time is available to you, plan ahead by working backwards from exams and deadlines on the syllabus. Writing these dates in your calendar allows you to easily see how much time remains to prepare before exam day; don’t forget to factor in study breaks!
Get plenty of sleep
As end of year testing approaches, students face a tough choice: studying long term or cramming for exams? While cramming can be effective, doing so comes at the risk of their mental health, social life and GPA.
Students often cram for exams due to procrastination or busy schedules, but cramming does not necessarily improve your studying; in fact, it may cause more information to slip out than remain stored within your memory.
Studies have demonstrated the superior effectiveness of “spaced repetition,” an approach to studying that uses spread-out sessions over an extended period, over cramming. Students using this method retain more material studied and develop a greater grasp on it than students using traditional cramming methods. Sleep also helps refresh and consolidate knowledge; be sure to get ample rest the night before your test! A power nap might even prove beneficial; consider taking one for 20-30 minutes just before bed!
Focus on vocabulary
Many students must work very hard to maintain high performance levels in their classes, yet many don’t study effectively; rather they wait until just before an exam to study and this form of studying, called cramming, is typically discouraged by teachers as it leads to decreased long-term memory retention.
Cramming involves last minute (and often all night) memorization of information. Unfortunately, it’s one of the least effective learning techniques; students who cram often don’t fully grasp what they are memorizing in terms of meaning or understanding – focusing instead on both aspects will bring greater success!
Students looking to avoid cramming can set long-term study goals and review material at regular intervals instead of just during exam week. This approach can be seen as similar to reading a book and setting an equal number of pages to be read each day; although dedication and motivation may be needed initially, its effects will ultimately pay dividends in the form of improved test performance.