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Is cramming the best way to study? 

By  Lysette Offley

Is cramming the best way to study - photo of text booksWell, it’s certainly one way, but is it the best way?

Pros

  1. It doesn’t take as long.
  2. It feels like you’re being really efficient.
  3. You find out which caffeinated drinks keep you going longest!
  4. You get to notice all the other things that need doing first, such as tidying your room, doing the washing-up etc.
  5. It’s very stressful. Yeah! Some people like the buzz!

Cons

  1. It’s hard work.
  2. Success can seem so unlikely; you could easily give up altogether.
  3. It’s too easy to get facts muddled up with each other.
  4. You might put it off and never get round to it because you’re still waiting for the last minute.
  5. You daren’t go to sleep, because then you really will forget most of what you’ve learned.
  6. You’ll forget everything after the exam.

It is a proven fact that even successful crammers get better grades when they develop their learning skills and revise properly. Cramming might get you a string of ‘B’ grades. But that means you’re probably capable of ‘A’s if you revise the right way for you. Once you know how, will you really be willing to settle for second best?

It’s very stressful. (See ‘cons’ point 3. above!)

Research shows us that even if you’re good at cramming, and you get good grades in your exams, it’s not the best way to study because you’re still going to forget most of what you’ve learned as soon as you’ve taken the exam.

Imagine relying on a professional such as a doctor, who remembered enough to pass exams and get their professional qualifications, but who forgot most of what they’ve learnt immediately afterwards…

Imagine them listening to your description of your ailment and replying, “Ooh yes, I know this, I know this… just a moment, I’ll be with you any second now. Ooh now, what is it? What is it? … Nah, sorry, it’s gone. I’m sure I used to know what your problem is but I’m afraid I can’t tell you what’s wrong with you. I’ve clean forgotten!”

The point is that it is important to learn new skills – to develop your knowledge – to develop abilities of value to you, not just to pass exams for the sake of it.

You might say to me that most of the stuff you learn you’ll never need in the future. And you may be right. But you don’t know yet do you? What I can tell you is, I used to think that, but I was wrong.

Make up your mind to quit cramming – who needs that kind of stress anyway? It really isn’t the best way to study after all. Develop your learning skills and learn to revise the right way for you and the time and effort you put in will enable you to remember that information for the rest of your life. And maybe, like me, you will enjoy the occasional glorious moment when you impress your family with the correct answer to an obscure question on Mastermind or University Challenge!

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Lysette Offley


With 40 years of experience, Lysette Offley is a Memory and Mindset Coach to women and men at the top of their game in the Financial Services Industry who recognise the value of continual personal and professional development and support to achieve a healthy work-life balance, along with satisfaction and fulfilment.

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