You have an important exam coming up for your college course, and you feel relaxed because you have a few weeks to study. But suddenly it’s the night before the big test. Panic sets in and you try to cram all your studying into one night, but you enter the exam unprepared. Does this sound like you?
Read on to find out why you should avoid cramming the night before your big test.
Why should you stop cramming?
You may be putting off your studying for as long as possible, always finding excuses not to sit down and get to work. But using your time properly is the most effective way to ensure that you’re prepared for the exam. Through good time management, you can set out a study schedule, organise your notes and summaries, and review your work thoroughly before the big day arrives.
Once you’ve memorised your study material, 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 preparation, instead of regretting that you didn’t start studying sooner and possibly failing the test.
Getting a good night’s sleep before the test will also ensure that you’re feeling fresh when you step 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.
In summary, when you stop cramming the night before an exam:
- You will realise how big a difference it makes when you give your brain more time to process information after you’ve studied it.
- You will have more time to rest the night before an exam, meaning 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.
How to avoid last-minute cramming
As stated previously, proper time management is the key to preparing for an exam. Although it can sometimes be difficult to find the motivation to study, you need to remind yourself that the work you put in now will be highly beneficial for your future.
Here are some study tips to prevent 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 part-time and balancing your studies with a job and family, as your studying may be restricted to perhaps one or two hours a day. 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 recognise 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 memorise and process the necessary information, and you’ll find yourself running out of time before the exam. As a general tip, spider diagrams and mind maps are often more effective than conventional notes. Reducing a large amount of information into a single cue word can also help you to retain more information.
Find your most effective study style here.
Get plenty of sleep
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 memorised well before the exam, you can get a good night’s sleep and feel well-rested in the exam room.
These are just a handful of tips for studying effectively and preventing the stress of cramming the night before. See more useful tips by reading: