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Why you should stop cramming for exams

Updated: May 26




So you have an important exam coming up?

Do you feel relaxed knowing you have a couple or a few weeks of studying to go?

Suddenly it’s the night before the big test. Panic sets in and you try to cram all your studying into one night, but despite your immense efforts, you sit for the exam unprepared. Does this sound like you?

That’s called test night cramming and here’s why you should avoid it at all costs:


WHY SHOULD YOU STOP CRAMMING?

As a classical procrastinator you may find yourself putting off your studying for as long as possible, always finding excuses not to sit down and get to work. But as we all know, it doesn’t cut it.

Using your time properly and wisely are the most effective way to ensure that you’re prepared for the exam, well before the day itself. Setting out a study schedule, organizing your notes and summaries, and review your work thoroughly before the big day arrives, are all key skill sets of good time management.

Once you’ve been through all your study material, and it sits well within your understanding, you’ll feel far more confident going into the exam. There are few things more rewarding than seeing the exam questions and knowing that you can answer them to the best of your ability. You’ll be thankful that you put in the proper work and preparation, instead of regretting that you didn’t start studying sooner and possibly failing the test.

Getting a good night’s sleep is also key in doing well on your exams. Ensuring that you wake up feeling fresh and confident when stepping into the exam room. Cramming into the early hours of the morning will leave you feeling drained, and it will be more difficult to concentrate, especially when you’re under pressure to remember all the information you attempted to cram into your head the night before.

I know it can sometimes be difficult to find the motivation to study, but if you keep reminding (literally) yourself that the work you put in now will be highly beneficial for your future, your brain will find a way.

Tips for preventing High-Stress Cramming

DRAW UP A SCHEDULE

Your preparations should start a few weeks before the exam. This is especially important if you’re studying may be restricted to perhaps one or two hours a day, due to any external factor. Sports for example. Work out which times will suit you best, and commit to sticking to these times. After you’ve completed a session, cross it out on your schedule to recognize that you’ve achieved something.

FIND A LEARNING STYLE THAT SUITS YOU

People retain information in different ways. It’s important that you find the right study style for you. If you’re studying using a method not suited to you, it may take longer to process the information, and you’ll find yourself running out of time before the exam. Personally, I prefer using diagrams and mind maps as an effective tool rather than conventional notes.

GET PLENTY OF SLEEP

Sleep is the elixir of life – I can not stress enough on its importance. It is actually the foundation on which our health and livelihood depends. Sleep is essential for memory, concentration and mental performance. You’re unlikely to get a good night’s sleep when you’re cramming the night before an exam, and this is likely to affect your concentration on the big day. This is compounded by the fact that the high-pressure environment of last-minute revision makes it more difficult to retain information. With your notes properly prepared and studied well before the exam, you can get a good night’s sleep and feel well-rested in the exam room.

IN SUMMARY, WHEN YOU STOP CRAMMING THE NIGHT BEFORE AN EXAM

  • You will realize an ample difference it makes when you give your brain more time to process information after you’ve studied it.

  • More time to rest the night before means that you will feel more relaxed, and your levels of concentration will be higher during your exam.

  • You will feel more confident.

  • You will be able to recall information more easily.

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