5 Downsides of Cramming for Exams
Many students cram for their exams because they have no choice — they fail to prepare ahead of time and are left with no option but to cram. However, other students actually prefer cramming to spreading out their test prep over a few weeks because they feel it helps them stay motivated. In fact, there are several downsides to cramming, as it can affect both your performance on the exam and your health.
1. Retain Less Information
The only way to retain information is to cover it several times — you’ll retain little from reading a textbook once. To use the information, you need to practice recalling it. For instance, if the exam requires you to apply knowledge to a new problem, it will help if you have previously spent time thinking about how the material relates to various problems. If you need to write a short essay, you should have practiced putting the information into your own words.
Furthermore, trying to cram information may even mean you forget things you knew before. When you come to take the test, you may struggle to recall almost anything.
2. Lower Productivity
Cramming means you’re fitting all your studying into one or two sessions, but it’s impossible to stay productive when you study for hours at a time. Your mind will start to wander and you won’t pay attention to what you’re reading. To be productive, it’s much better to find time for as many short sessions as possible leading up to the exam.
3. Higher Stress Levels
Cramming for exams makes you stressed. You know you have a limited amount of time to cover all the material — and you’ll be unsure if you can manage it. This will also lead to anxiety on exam day and perhaps even when you think about studying after the exam.
4. Lack of Energy
It’s important to prepare yourself physically as well as mentally for an exam. This means sleeping enough the night before and fueling your body with healthy food. If you’re cramming, you may be tempted to stay up late to fit in as many hours as possible. You may also need to grab whatever you can for breakfast rather than eating a balanced meal. Both of these things will mean you lack energy during your test (plus, you may be hungry), which will make it more difficult to concentrate.
5. Poor Performance
The result of all the above is lower grades than you could have achieved. It’s impossible to focus well during your exams if you’re exhausted and stressed, which often means lower test scores than you expected.
You’ll find it easier to prepare for your exams without cramming if you improve your student living. Ottawa students can find a new home at 1Eleven. You can prepare for your exams in peace in your bedroom or take advantage of our dedicated study spaces for a change of scenery or to host a group study session. Plus, you’ll be just steps from campus. Book a video tour to check out all our great onsite amenities.