7 Ways to Effectively Cram for an Exam
Ideally, we should all properly prioritize our responsibilities so that we can manage whatever personal or school projects come our way. Many of us have even made New Year’s resolutions to that effect. However, real-life happens! It hits us hard and fast, am I right? So when it does, sometimes we find ourselves with too little time and too much studying before a big exam. What are our options? Read on to find out!
Here are 7 ways to effectively cram for an exam…
1. Notes Before Textbook: The textbook is going to be too daunting when you only have days (or worse…hours!) to absorb all the information you can. Stick to your notes, PowerPoints, and just the highlighted sections of your textbook.
2. Rewrite Your Notes: Studies have shown that hand-writing new or difficult information onto note cards can greatly increase brain retention of the data. Even if you already have your hand-written class notes, take an hour or two and rewrite them. It may increase your results by up to a whole letter grade!
3. Record Yourself Reading Your Notes: I have tried this one myself and it works great! This may be because when we know we are being recorded (even if no one will ever listen to it) we are more careful in articulating the text, speaking slowly enough to be understood, and focusing intently on the information at hand.
4. Study Alone: With mere hours to go before the test, getting a study group or even one study partner together can be dangerous. Pairing up with others when there is so little time can simply lead to distractions like complaining, getting side-tracked with personal conversations, or taking time to order food and snacks.
5. Get Quiet: You’ll already be somewhat stressed that you put things off this long. You don’t need noise or interruptions added to the guilt and worry. Go to your room, the library (with headphones!), or any quiet space. If possible, play some relaxing music, but otherwise ditch the iPhone, tv, and any other devices to stack the deck in favor of your success.
6. Food: I mentioned food earlier regarding the study groups, but hunger can be a major distraction even when you’re studying alone. Remember, you’ll only have a short window to absorb all of the necessary information so this isn’t the time to look over menus or try a new recipe! Have already-prepared snacks and bottled water handy.
7. Mini-Breaks: You won’t have the luxury of taking long breaks during this study session since you’re already short on time. You can’t stop in between chapters to watch a season of your favorite Netflix show. Instead, at the top of each hour, allow yourself a 5-minute break to get up, check your phone, take a short walk, or stretch.
When it’s said and done, you can only do so much with a small amount of study time. So when it’s over, take a deep breath and know you did all you could with the time you had. Go into the exam confident that you are better off now than if you didn’t do any of the above steps. Next time, allow longer to prepare, but for now, relax and give it your best shot! Good Luck!