The Fine Art of Cramming

Guess what season it is? You’re right! It’s exam season. Just around the corner are the first round of “four o’clocks” for this semester. To the students here, that means burying our faces in the dusty pages of old textbooks. To the good student, this isn’t a problem. We’ve been studying all semester and doing our homework. Yet… then we have those people who always insist on cramming. Personally, I don’t have a problem with people who do this, it’s their call. But let me just say, if you’re going to cram- do it right.
The first mistake is that most people cram the night before a test. No. Just no. You can’t stay up all night packing your head full of luggage and expect to be able to unload it all the next morning. Your brain is not a 24/7 bellhop. Sadly, your brain isn’t on par with the Energizer Bunny, it eventually gets tired. That being said, study the night before… the night before.

The second biggest mistake, most people try to memorize their notes verbatim. Unless you have a photographic memory, are a child prodigy, or just downright inhuman, you’re probably going to fail at this. Most people struggle to remember to floss.Trying to remember everything will simply break you. To get around this, prioritize. Not everything is important to pass this exam. Sure, your chances of getting a perfect score get sucker-punched, but we are cramming after all. Also, if you are struggling at remembering a definition, come up with an unusual phrase or story summarizing the key points. Oddly enough, most of the information in our heads is boring. Attaching a story to something makes it more memorable in the short term. Sure, next week you won’t even know how to spell “Epigenetic,” but the test isn’t next week, it’s tomorrow.

Lastly, the worst thing you can do before going into an exam is panic. When you show up at the exam, you’ve done all you can. Panicking at the last second just makes things worse. Walk into that exam room, regurgitate everything you know, and walk out. That simple. Either you know the content or you don’t, that’s it. You got this.

Exam
Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

This unmodified picture is from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Exam.jpg

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