It happens to all of us, no matter at what age or stage of life. We have not studied for a test or exam for some or other reason and we try and cram a few months or week’s worth of studying into one day, or even a couple of hours. Cramming is never an advisable option but is it worth trying if the situation demands it, or are you wasting your time?
Essentially any type of studying is better than nothing, so cramming will benefit you to some degree. It is not recommended that you make a habit out of cramming or use it as a study method on a long term basis, but for those absolute emergencies it can be somewhat beneficial.
An important aspect of cramming is to remember to take a break and get a good night’s sleep before you write your paper. Essentially your brain concentrates at its best in cycles of 20 minutes, so every 20 minutes take a mental break. An ideal break time activity is something like the casino games found at http://www.iphonecasino.com.au as you can enjoy short spurts of thrilling entertainment that are completely immersive and offer a great distraction.
“Chunking” is one of the best ways of cramming and it offers you the best chance of making the information stick. It’s a concept that first emerged in the 1950’s when Harvard psychologist George Millar published his study on short term memory and it shows that humans successfully retain 5 to 9 facts or items at a time. The principle of chunking is based on lists and encourages students to break down their material into between 5 and 9 information points in order to retain them successfully. This principle can be applied to almost any topic and has been proven to work as efficiently as possible when the brain is under stress and on a deadline.
Cramming techniques differ from learning key points to memorising important concepts in as short a time possible. Although it is not an ideal study method and should never be utilised long term it can increase your chances of a passing grade rather than failing. Cramming is better than no studying at all and potentially more beneficial than puling an all nighter as your brain will be less exhausted.
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