Top 10 cramming techniques
It’s near impossible to avoid cramming. There’s just too much information and not enough time to learn it all before the exam. So, we have 10 of our favorite last-minute learning methods that you can use to help yourself in exams.
1) the most obvious way is to write down what you know you still need to study and then try and remember as much as possible. This is known as the ‘mind dump and is a good way of making sure you don’t leave anything out.
2) Another technique, especially useful for Biology students, who always seem to have masses of facts and equations to memorize, is known as ‘chunking’. You simply divide the information into manageable sections and then cover up each section in turn. After covering the first bit, remove it and see how you’re doing so far. The downside to this technique is that you have no idea of which bits are easy to remember or if they even make sense together by themselves!
3) A more useful way of studying for exams is to use a method called ‘distributed practice’. In this method, you spread out your studying over time by doing little and often. For example, if there’s a chapter in your Physics textbook that you have to learn, you could split it up into different parts and write down what you know about each part. You can then test yourself on it by covering up the text and organizing the bits you know, trying to put them in a sensible order.
4) The ‘KWL technique’ is excellent for exams where you have to learn things about a particular topic, such as Biology or History. This method involves writing down what you already know about the topic before starting your revision, what you hope to find out during your revision, and then what you found out. It’s a good way of finding out which areas need more work.
5) The ‘distributed practice’ method can be used to help you remember things in sequence, such as when studying for an exam on the French Revolution or US Civil War, for example. You can do this by splitting up the information in the same way as with the ‘distributed practice’ method but in this case, you cover up different parts in turn, like a jigsaw. Once you’ve finished covering everything up, try and put them back together again to see if you’re right.
6) If it’s more of a general knowledge type of exams, such as an IQ test or a personality quiz, then the ‘keyword method’ might be what you need. The way this works is that instead of trying to learn the information about the topic, you simply remember a word that reminds you of what it’s about and tries and links this with other keywords to make associations. For example, if you were revising the Solar System for an exam, you could try and remember keywords like ‘Sun’, ‘Mercury’, and ‘Moon’. Of course, this method only works well if it’s something relatively easy like this that can be remembered with just a few keywords.
7) If you’re taking an English Language exam it might be what you need to learn all the tenses of verbs by heart. This can seem like an impossible task but there’s a good way to do it – write down the essential information about each tense on different index cards and then study them. You could even use this technique for verb tenses in other languages if you’re revising for a language exam.
8) The ‘keyword method’ technique can be used to help you remember words that go together, such as if you’re studying parts of speech. You could cover up an example sentence and try and remember the words which are highlighted – this will remind you of how they work together naturally in a sentence.
9) When you’re studying some topic, try and make sure it’s not too broad – if you manage to limit the scope of what you need to learn, it’ll make things much easier. For example, if you were revising for an exam on the Tudors in English History, don’t study all English history between 1485 and 1603!
10) Finally, if you’re struggling for time then an excellent method is to use mind maps. Draw a circle at the center and then draw lines out from it with different words/pictures relating to the topic. You can do this by putting yourself as the central point and writing down what you already know about the topic. Then try and build on this information by writing down what you still need to learn and then review it regularly, testing yourself on the different points that you’ve made
Note-taking test preparation exams revision methods cramming preparation techniques memory techniques mind mapping keyword method KWL technique distributed practice jigsaw method.