Over the years, it’ has become expected that students will say they’re “cramming” for a test, as if it’s the preferable – or even fun – way to prepare for a major exam. To the contrary, cramming is really a sign that someone has failed to plan and is paying the price for not making the correct decisions days, or even weeks, earlier. A typical way to achieve a high test score is to attend class, take notes, study the notes until they’re well-known, and then take the test.It sounds easy, until you realize the preparation it takes to review all the necessary materials from the beginning of the announcement of the test to the test itself. This requires the student to take a long-term view and to sacrifice immediate gratification along the way. For the student, it’s a struggle to self- discipline yourself when you see the immediate rewards of hanging out with friends or family rather than the long-term future rewards. But it’s essential to hit your goals or else you could face a major cramming situation days before the test and possibly even receive a lower grade. In fact, a recent study showed that spacing out your studying is much better than cramming when you’re trying to get higher grades on a test.
Here are three tips to help you stop cramming and space your studies out:
1. Review right away:
It’s efficient and productive to review your notes as soon as possible after class. It helps you remember them, prepare for your upcoming quiz or test and be ready for the next day of class. You might want to rewrite your notes after class, especially if you have textbook readings that accompany your class lessons. Once you’re finished, you will have more complete notes because they’ll also include insights from the book.
2. Make a schedule:
A set schedule will help you avoid cramming for those important tests into the early morning hours. So, plan the weeks out before your test. Pencil in those important study days and times, and make sure you stick to that schedule. It also might be a good idea to plan out where you will be studying. This trick can help you avoid the hassle of wondering where you should go (public or school library, your very own kitchen, etc.) or who will be around (family members, teachers, librarians, etc.).
3. Start early:
For many people, it’s best to study right after you wake up because your mind is fresh and ready to go. Your brain will have an easier time of absorbing all those riveting test-prep questions and chapter notes. If you need a little morning boost, have a cup of coffee or tea to help you stay energized and focused.