Are You A Serial Crammer? Learn How To Put An End To This Bad Habit!
Imagine this scenario. It's the night before a big exam and you haven't yet studied for it. You plan to pull an all-nighter. You get coffee and packets of instant ramen to help you stay fueled throughout the night. You settle down to study around 10 pm and revise your notes for a few hours staying up until the wee hours of the night – say 4 am. You then squeeze in a nap of three to four hours before rushing off to college to take the exam.
To your surprise, you take the exam and manage to pass it; even though your grades are poor, you aren't at the bottom of the barrel. You promise never to repeat this, but sadly, you find yourselves doing the same thing repeatedly, every time before an exam.
Sound familiar? That, my friends, is the classic definition of a crammer.
While students know cramming isn't good for them, they keep doing it repeatedly, finding it extremely challenging to break out of that cycle. Here are a few reasons why cramming is terrible for you in the long run:
1. Cramming Doesn’t Help You Acquire Knowledge In The Long Run
When you speed learn, you remember only 20% of what you learned. Cramming stores information in your brain's short-term memory and doesn't help you build long-lasting learning. Short-term memory is temporary storage – it's where the non-important stuff goes. So, anything that doesn't make it into long-term memory gets lost after a while. So, the hours you spend learning calculus at the last minute don't help you in the long run.
2. Your Brain Begins To Play Tricks On You
After hours of trying to memorize your study material, your brain tricks you into thinking that you have learned it. Your notes begin to get familiar, reassuring you that you've mastered your lessons. But the reality is that recognizing something isn't the same as being able to recall it. Cramming often makes you forget everything you've learned right when needed.
3. Cramming Is Unhealthy
Staying up late in the weeks or days before an exam is sure to leave you tired and cranky on the exam day. Studies reveal that forfeiting sleep before exams is highly unproductive. Sacrificing sleep time for extra study time will impact your test day performance. It makes your mind stressed and body tired, causing you to function poorly on exam day.
Tips To Avoid Cramming When Studying For Your Next Test
Here are a few tips to help you break the chain of cramming:
1. Put An End To Procrastination
Getting started is the hardest part of studying. Don't put off studying until the last minute. It doesn't matter whether you complete just a page of your study material. Get started as early as you can to keep the momentum going.
2. Make It A Practice To Study Every Day
Review what you have learned in class every day. Daily study sessions are a great way to make studying for tests easier than trying to cram it all at the last minute. Even a quick 10-to-15-minute study session going over your notes is a great way to stay in the groove.
3. Follow A Study Schedule
Creating a detailed study schedule – of what to learn and when to learn – is an excellent way to stay organized and prepare for your upcoming tests. A structure helps you avoid procrastination and gives you the confidence to prepare well.
4. Prioritize Academic Work
College is fun and distracting. You might be pulled into frat parties and other social events, leaving you no time to study. To avoid this, make sure to prioritize study sessions. Irrespective of what goes on in your day, try to make it a habit to sit down to study for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
5. Study In Chunks
Instead of studying all at once, learn a specific topic daily. This is a great strategy to avoid feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. Spreading out study sessions also helps with long-term recall and can help you do well in your exams.
6. Inculcate The Art Of Good Note-Taking
Efficient note-taking makes it easy for you to organize and review your study material during test time. Take in-depth notes in class so that you've got the suitable study material in hand to prep for tests.
7. Stay On Track With Homework & Assignments
Failing to do homework regularly is one of the reasons students end up cramming. Completing your homework and assignments helps you stay on track and avoid scrambling to finish everything at the last minute.
8. Use The Night Before The Exam For Reviewing
Rather than cramming, use the day/night before the exam to review what you've learned. This way, you can identify topics that you're struggling with and spend extra time on them.
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