What’s the most popular word around exam time? No, not caffeine, cram!
Although you might think cramming is effective, you’ve probably noticed that it actually stresses you out more, and when you’re stressed your powers of recall and concentration aren’t as stellar as they might be if you were more relaxed. There is a solution to maximising the effectiveness of your time and review process: spread your review out over time, and make a study plan.
When making up a study plan consider how much time you’ll need for review, what material you’ll need to cover and how you can organise it, where and how will you do your reviewing, and so on.
Make up a schedule for yourself, and write it down, noting things like the text chapters you need to cover, the notes you took that are relevant, the time of day you plan to work, study strategies you plan to utilise, and any other necessary preparations. Writing it down for each day of your review period will help you stick to your goals, help keep you focused, and will also make it easier to see if you’ve left out anything important.
If you do end up having to cram before an exam, there are ways to maximise the time you have available. One way of doing this, is to read over any chapter summaries that are in your texts. These summaries will point out key information from the chapter, which you can then skim over the chapters to find.
Remember, though, cramming isn’t the most effective way to study for an exam, and it should only be done when there’s no other option.