Cramming

Luci Wilgus- Staff Writer

Anyone who says they have never crammed for a test is probably lying. That feeling of being overwhelmed by stress and then choosing to overwhelm your brain with information is never fun. Every teacher you meet will tell you it is better to study each day, little by little. For some students, that is not a realistic path to success. Cram studying, when done correctly, may actually be just as helpful as long term studying.

When you properly study, your brain is trained to recognize information in different settings. Oftentimes when you cram study, you only retain about a quarter of the information; which makes it nearly impossible to put that information in context. The best way to counteract this is with flash cards. Something as simple as quizzing yourself engages the center of the brain that deals with memory recall. This part of your brain is very involved in long-term learning and will help you out during a test. Rereading through any notes for a class is a great method of long-term study, as long as you do so correctly. It is important to remember that brains do not work in perfect order, so reading your notes chronologically is not going to be helpful. When rereading notes, it is best to first rewrite all the important points and then read them out of order. This is especially effective if you can read them out loud. A study by Yale professor, Ben Johnson, proves that speaking aloud as you read helps to create an auditory stimulus that further engages your mind as you study.

The key to cram studying is sleep. Staying up all night and then expecting a caffeine dependent brain to recall information the next day is not a good idea. It is exponentially better to wake up early the next day and set aside an hour of focused study.  This will jumpstart your brain and make your whole day more productive, as well as help you on a test. If you can study with a friend right before the exam as well, that would be ideal. When you study with a familiar person, your brain can actually link said information to that person, according to a study done by the Psychometric Society.  Cram studying really works best if you have already taken notes in class and have a base of general subject knowledge to touch on. As long as you have that, studying the morning before a test will be an effective way to refresh and relearn information.