How to cram effectively?

One day one of my students came to me and asked me that she studied whole night for the test, but she could not perform well at the test as she forgot everything she crammed at night. It is true that your brain can hold bulk of information, but it is not like mobile memory which keeps every file and image you download. However, in our brain information has to pass from short term memory to long term memory in order get permanent retention in our mind. In our brain there is small area called hippocampus, which helps to retain short-term memory in our brain. But this short-term memory can turn into long-term when brain detect its spatial relationship with brain. But if brain could not find its relationship, it will delete the information from hippocampus, before turning it into permanent memory. Therefore, there is need to make connection of information we receive with information already present in our mind. Our brain detects information and decides whether to retain it in long-term memory or to threw out. Our inefficient way of study and memorizing ways make it difficult for brain to retain information permanently. Therefor, we could retain it for few hours or till we had done with our paper then we do not find trace of that information. However, those who become successful in retaining the information not just for exams, then that information will become helpful throughout their life and in making good career.

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Reasons of failure at cramming

Most of you start cramming of subjects when you find the time of exam or test for any job getting near. Some people I heard study at all exam night and claim that he/she has crammed everything still could not achieve hopeful results. This is a flawed strategy for cramming. The reasons why our brain helpless to retain information we try to cram it are the following:

  • Lack of proper rest: Our brain also gets tired and need some rest. If we continuously try to cram something without proper sleep of at least eight hours our brain will deficiently become fatigued and would not transfer information into permanent memory.   
  • Lack of nutritious breakfast: proteins, nuts and fruits in breakfast also boost our mind and make it function properly. Those students do not get proper food before exams they would not give proper output in their exams.
  • Damage of hippocampus due to some diseases: Our brain become helpless at retaining when it gets injured due to accident of attacked by disease such as Alzheimer, Amnesia. These diseases affect our memory.  

How to cram properly?

There are some techniques researchers have found in research laboratory over learning methods. We simply cannot rush our brain with information without proper methods that are discussed below:

The spacing effect:

Research has found this most effective way of memorizing information for exam. It says when our brain receives new information, it will store it in neuron. it then tries to connect these neurons with present neurons that contain already existing information. This way it will form network of associations. Then this new information will get permanent placement in our mind. This can be happened in one sitting. Smart people usually adopt this technique and prepare for exams in a few days. This study also suggestion that when you expose to new information then you should keep on reviewing that information especially a day before your exam then it will naturally cement the connection of that information with already existing information. For more


This technique suggests condensing information you already know. This way you will be able to retain specific information in your mind which is needed for exams and for coming tests for job. For this, you need to go through books and highlight important information you think it can be help you out in paper. Another way is to make short notes before exam, in which you jot down outlines of topics that could click your mind about all the topics whenever you go through them. In exam night you must pick up those short notes and revise them at least for to twenty times. It will help you to retain the data in permanent memory.  

Remembering formulas:

Mostly we stuck in formulas when we are cramming our syllabus. The most appropriate way to cram formulas is to keep one notebook separately for working on this technique. In notebook write the formula or each sum with examples. When you go through the lesson open that notebook and review those formulas. This way you will be able to cram those formulas.

Test yourself:

This is the most important technique, which gives you clues that how much topic you able to retain in your mind. This technique suggests that you should test yourself after going through all the lessons and lectures. It can be on daily basis or weekly set the time, review the lesson and start solving the question. Self-understanding gives satisfaction and after self-analysis people drag immediately towards self-correction. 

Optimize your lifestyle:

This technique suggests that if one want to know how to cram fast, one should follow certain habits and make routine accordingly to achieve optimized memory storage.

Sleep on time: proper sleep is highly recommended for people who study. Research has shown that who take higher grades usually go to bed by 10pm or before it. And take at least 8 hours sleep. It will not only help in cramming but also in building focus of students while study.

Proper Exercise:

Bulk of studies have shown that proper exercise makes good connection with academic performance. You need to sweat every day in aerobic exercise. For this, you need jogging, walking, jumping or anything make sure that you work out daily for a half an hour.

Proper Diet:

Proper diet is dire need for person who study. Your brain will not work properly if it does not get proteins, ligaments, nuts, fruits, and other nutritious food.

Conclusion: Cramming is every students’ issue; they face in their academic times. Students usually do not care about their sleep timing and diet which become hinderance in proper functioning of brain. To proper work, brain needs proper rest and proper nutrition. To retain memory, the brain functions two ways first to grab it in short-term memory and then transfer it to the long-term memory, when the brain recognize that information. thus, to make information into permanent placement we need make connection with already existing information in our brain

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