Does Exam Cramming Actually Work?

Does Exam Cramming Actually Work?: We’ve all done it: either entirely forgetting that an exam is coming up or procrastinating so much that you find yourself in a panicked rush to absorb all the new material before the next day’s exam. When this occurs, cramming for tests frequently appears to be the only reasonable course of action…

When I was in university, Jess, one of my housemates, was constantly cramming for her exams. She used to spend the day before her exam revising and then sleeping at 7 p.m., just so she could wake up at 2 a.m. on the day of the exam and revise till the very last minute. This drained her, but Jess was always an excellent student. Was her cramming strategy to blame for this? Could there be a reason for her insanity?

Continue reading as we attempt to address the age-old topic that all students who put off revision ask — can cramming for exams ever work?!

Why this may work (as a very last resort)

Cramming soon before an exam may theoretically enable you to retain material in the short term and to take in sufficient information for the exam.

However, this will almost certainly mean that you will create no lasting links to the knowledge and will lack a profound comprehension of it. Additionally, you’re likely to forget it the moment you exit the exam which leads us to answer the question Does Exam Cramming Actually Work?

Why it may not work…

There are numerous reasons not to cram for an exam at the last minute, none of which we’re sure you want to hear, but here they are nonetheless…


Cramming is the process of cramming facts into your short-term memory in preparation for an approaching exam. This has been shown to elevate stress levels and may result in panic and anxiety, making it significantly more difficult to absorb information. If you’re experiencing stress, learn how to deal with it here!

Exam cramming frequently results in decreased sleep time. This is because students (such as my classmate Jess) either sleep or wake up early in order to maximize their last-minute review time. This frequently results in poor academic achievement as a result of a loss of concentration.

Additionally, it is a significant risk. If you are stressed and are unable to absorb the knowledge on that particular day, you may not perform to your full potential in the exam.

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However, if you’re going to cram, do it properly!

So, what should you do if you’ve waited until the last minute to revise?

If you must cram for examinations, cram successfully. Reading the textbook till you pass out from weariness at your desk is probably not the ideal approach to study for an exam.

Make a list of the information you need to study before to the exam. It’s critical to be realistic about this — if you leave revision till the very last minute (e.g. the night before), it’s almost certainly too late to understand everything. It’s better to prioritize and update the most critical issues adequately than to attempt too much and then become overwhelmed.

Reviewing previous exam questions is definitely the best way to pick up information at the last minute. Personally, I’ve found that information I’ve learned in earlier papers has always shown up in my university exams, and it’s an excellent way to absorb a lot of information in a short period of time. Your university will normally provide you with access to prior papers (and occasionally answers) online, and these can be an excellent source of revision, as well as reassuring you about the paper’s layout.

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Get adequate sleep! Sleep deprivation might make you irritated, unable to concentrate, and incapable of making sound judgments. Inadequate sleep can also have a negative impact on your physical and emotional health. If you’ve spent the entire day revising and are already fatigued, staying up a couple extra hours will not significantly boost your grade. Sleep has been scientifically demonstrated to boost procedural memory (which aids in the acquisition of skills and procedures) and declarative memory (which helps recall facts).

So far we have been able to answer the question Does Exam Cramming Actually Work? Bear in mind that you’ve got this. Best of luck!

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