To keep information in your brain, you need to do extensive reading, use what you've learned, and think about it a lot. However, sometimes you need to learn your subject material quickly. When you've got an exam coming up, you may find you have to cram for it—getting the information into your head over a short period of time. More importantly, you also need some perfect tricks to make your effort paid. Here are all you want!
How to Cram for a Test: 12 Most Effective Ways
Prepare All You Need
Before you start, make sure you have everything you need: textbooks, lecture notes, past exams, homework solutions, stationery, etc. You may need to get a book from the university library or download the relevant material to your computer, so get this ready as far in advance as possible. If you can, transfer all your resources to one place: for written material, a binder or folder, and for electronic material save it to one folder on your computer desktop.
Get Yourself a Perfect Study Space
Confused about how to cram for a test? Just firstly get yourself a perfect study space. You need to have a clear study space so you can focus on your material. Avoid anywhere too comfortable, such as beds or soft armchairs, as these should be used for relaxing, not studying. Likewise, don't study in your bedclothes. Put aside all your clutter so you can't get distracted by it and make room for everything you may need: notes, textbooks, good lighting, drinks, snacks, and stationery.
Start With Overviewing Syllabus
Overviewing the entire syllabus before concentrating on details gives you an idea about the potential task and helps you briefly review the course before focusing on topics. You can use the syllabus or skim-read a textbook to help you understand the overarching themes of the course. This also helps you organize ideas in your brain, which allows you to associate different ideas, remember and understand the material. Look for facts, formulae, theorems, rules, claims, and truths, and anything that's highlighted, emboldened, italicized, or underlined.
Create Your Own Study Guide
When it comes to the issue about how to cram for a test, creating your own study guide is essential. Divide your work up into sections according to theme. Write down the key concepts and ideas for each theme. Then figure out how everything link together. This will help you decide how long you need to study each idea and the best way to learn.
Work On Your Weaknesses
Once you've created your study plan, mark each section according to whether you know the material, you need to review it, or you're not familiar with it at all. If the unknown material is important, you'll need to spend most time on this. However, if you just can't figure something out after a while, you should move on. You can always return to it after you've worked on something else, or ask a classmate or teacher.
Set Yourself a Schedule
A proper schedule works well for the issue about how to cram for a test. Set yourself a schedule – nothing too complicated, just a rough outline of when to go over which block. Divide your study materials into sections that you can tackle one-by-one. Figure out how long revising each section will take you then schedule your work accordingly. As a tip, give yourself some leeway, as often studying takes longer than you think.
Get the Most Effective Way to Study
Simply reading your notes or a textbook is not the most effective way to revise, just try some effective ways to improve the effectivity. If you're taking a scientific or technical subject, working out some practice problems in textbooks helps with the understanding. For other subjects, repeat key concepts out loud or even sing them into a song studying privately. Flashcards with key points on can be applied to quiz yourself. Just try to make learning active, and boosts the likelihood of you remembering key facts in the exam.
Take Advantage of Past Notes
Past exam papers and old homework assignments give you an idea of what will on your test. You don't have to be able to answer these questions immediately, but they will help you figure out the key concepts, so you can structure your revision. When you've revised more details, you should tackle the practice questions for real. This is one of the best ways to prepare for an exam.
Take Regular Short Breaks
When talking about how to cram for a test, regular breaks should be included. After each study block, take five minutes to stretch, move about, go to the bathroom, or fetch a snack. This stops you from getting cramped or overloading your brain. However, in these breaks, don't check your phone, turn on your TV, or do anything else that will distract you; you need to get back to studying soon. After three study blocks, you can take a longer break. Studies have shown that retention is increased when you take regular breathers from studying.
Take Care of Yourself
As for you how to cram for a test, remember to take care your health, otherwise which can be counterproductive. Unhealthy lifestyle makes your brain sluggish, so you're unable to remember as much.
Give yourself a cut-off point each night to ensure you're getting enough sleep.
Take 20 minutes cardio exercise each day to increase your energy and reduce stress.
Keep healthy snacks to hand. Yet, cut back on coffee, and don't take any caffeine or performance pills, as these are harmful to your body.
Study in Different Places
It can be exhausting spending all your time in your room or in the library. Therefore, you may find you get a boost just by switching up your study space from time to time. In fact, one research paper showed that retention was increased when students studied in a different room. To mix up your routine, try using specialist study rooms, quiet coffee shops, and even the great outdoors for revision.
Remember the Initial Goal
Being in a cramming session, it's too easy to lose sight of your ultimate goal. Be realistic and think about what sort of mark you're aiming for and the amount of study you need to do for this. Leaving the goal behind makes it difficult to get a top grade. When you have to think about how to cram for a test, it is more about how to pass the exam rather than understanding the material thoroughly.