I’ve crammed. You’ve crammed. If you claim you haven’t crammed, I don’t believe you because we’ve all done it at one point or the other. It starts with, “Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow, I still have a week,” to, “Oh my God! It’s tomorrow! How the heck am I going to study all this?” Well, look no further! Since most people have been in this jam (and will be – the end of term tests are near), I present to you:
The Top 10 Tips for Cram-Studying for a Test:
- Get Rid of All DistractionsYes, I mean all distractions. Electronics, such as cell phones, are tempting. One “ba-ding!” and you’ve lost your train of thought. You can either move all your distractions somewhere else, or just find a different place to study. Saying good-bye to all your things is worth it. If you’re cramming, you need to be committed, or else you will fail. Miserably.
- The ‘1/5’ RuleStudying at the last minute is stressing, and if you want to get the most out of it, I recommend the ‘1/5’ Rule. It’s where you study for a designated amount of time, and then take a break for ‘1/5’ the amount of time you studied. If you get off track at any moment in time, you start over from the beginning of your designated time. Your break time is perfect for your brain, and is the cramming equivalent of studying for an hour a day for a week! You will be giving yourself time to absorb the information rather than getting it all mixed up in your head.
- Study BuddyMaybe you’re not the only one who crammed. This strategy is recommended if you’re the kind of person who studies better with a partner and you don’t get distracted. If you’ve been panicking over said test/exam/quiz, this may relieve some of your stress! You and your partner can work together and quiz each other. As they say, two heads are better than one!
- The Main IdeaI hate those words – usually they mean you’re about to have to analyze and think a lot more than usual. However, it could save you in this kind of situation. If you’re having trouble grasping all the details of what you’re studying, it might be easier for you to study ‘general to specific’. Understand the big, important points of your work and then once you’ve got those down, get into the more detailed material. Worst-case scenario, you only know the most important ideas. It’s better than nothing!
- Loud and ProudSometimes, you need to understand your work, and sometimes, you have to memorize your work. Regardless, the “Loud and Proud” strategy could help. Read the material once or twice or as many times as you need, then repeat it out loud. I find this effective mostly if I need to memorize material. Don’t be too loud if you’re cramming late at night, though, people are sleeping!
- The Cake is a LieEating food before you study might actually help you! It gives you energy. However, avoid overly sugary food. It may make you hyper and able to stay up, but, believe it or not, it makes it harder to actually study. Chocolate, candy, cakes – they won’t help your learning ability – It’s all a lie!
- Study the Sheets You Were Tempted to BurnMost classes give homework. Most classes give quizzes. Most classes have assignments and such that are handed back. Most students are tempted to destroy them as soon as they get them back. These evil papers have given you so much grief, it seems only just! But, you really shouldn’t do that. Look over the hand-backs from your class. Don’t focus so much on what you got right than what you tripped up on. If you got it on the test, chances are, you already know it! Go back and try to correct what you did wrong. Learning from your mistakes isn’t only a useful life lesson; it’s also a helpful cramming strategy!
- Study Guides and the “Not Homework”If you were lucky enough to get a study guide from your teacher, USE IT! The teacher probably included important points and basically an entire summary of what you need to focus on! You may also have with you the ‘not homework’. There are times in class when your teacher is assigning homework and they skip over some problems or questions. Go back and try to solve them, it’s good practice!
- Write it DownWhile studying, you can jot down some notes on a separate sheet of paper. It keeps you alert and awake, and when you’re about to take the test, is a perfect review sheet. Studies also show writing things down will help you memorize them. Besides, it can only help.
Pass OutSleepGetting rest is good before a test. There has to be a point where you draw the line. It’s better to know a good amount and get a decent night’s rest than ‘know everything’ and then forget it all during the test. While asleep, your brain tries to process the information you’ve accumulated over the day, so when you wake up, you’ll have the information engraved into your head…probably.
If you’ve gone to all this trouble, congrats, you have successfully and efficiently crammed all you can in one night! Maybe you’ve learnt a lesson – procrastination has consequences! Or maybe you haven’t and you’ve decided that you’re going to repeat this many times over for the rest of your life, in which case your time management skills leave much to be desired. It’s your choice! But, if it ever does come to cramming again…I wish you luck, my friend! You’re going to need it.
Journalist: Heidi Aref