How to study for an exam, without cramming

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As a student, there will be times when your exams will be due all at the same time. You will then be hard pressed to organize your time to ensure that you pass, if not, get a perfect score in all of them. On several occasions, you may end up cramming, which may not be the best strategy to employ.

Why Cramming is Bad

  1. On the most basic level, it creates unnecessary stress which is not healthy for your body.
  2. Cramming will most likely hamper you from getting the highest grade possible, or getting the top spot in class as you will not be able to cover all topics or materials that should be covered.
  3. The information that tried to remember stays in your short term memory only, and not in the long term. This defeats the purpose of studying in the first place which is to equip you with the knowledge you need to succeed later in life.

How then do you avoid cramming? Below is a step-by-step guide to help you.

1. Organize your time and the topics. For each exam, determine what topics will be covered. If you have 14 chapters that will be included and you have 2 weeks to review before the exam, then determine how many days you can allot for review. You may exclude your Sundays or family day or time for an important event. Given the remaining days, calculate what chapters you should have covered per day. For example, if you have only 7 complete days of uninterrupted study to review, that means you should be able to cover 2 chapters per day.

If your time is really limited, then you can assign respective weights to each chapter. You can then spend greater time on those chapters from which more items will be taken up in the exam. It helps if you know in advance what specific questions will be covered.

2. Avoid procrastination. It will be very difficult to catch up if you put off one day’s worth of review to the succeeding day, because by then, you will be doubling your workload. That will create needless stress. At the same time, you may be putting yourself in a situation wherein you will fail to cover important topics.

3. Join a study or review group. This may be a structured set-up like a class, but this class is totally focused on getting students to pass or get excellent grades in the exam. It can also be a group composed of like-minded and motivated peers and friends. In a group setting, your group or review facilitator can make you keep to the timetable of reviewing and the topics to be covered. Joining a group will also refresh your knowledge and clarify points which you may have overlooked, or missed earlier in class.

This method will also allow you to remember important items and focus on them, as the group discusses each of these points during the review.

4. Reward yourself for every milestone completed. At the end of each day or each segment of successful review, you can reward yourself with your favorite meal, or you can refresh yourself with a movie or a jog around the block , or spend time with your favorite person. Choose whatever energizes and motivates you. In this manner, you will have an opportunity to recharge and focus your mind once again to take in the rest of the topics.

Keeping these tips in mind and putting these into practice will go a long way to ensure you get an excellent grade in your exams.

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