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Cramming

Cramming doesn't work!

Repetition and rehearsal can be useful as 'practice makes perfect'. But psychologists have learned that it's better to space out your learning than to mass it all in one lump.

When practising a word in a foreign language, don't repeat it over and over. Repeat it to yourself once or twice, then try something else (learn something else, or just have a break). Then come back to it. And don't cram for exams, things just won't sink in.

Does this advice tie in with your experience? Let us know

YOUR OPINION

How useful do you find cramming?.

Submit a comment

cramming

How useful is this tip?

  1. Useful
    (68.8%)
  2. Not very useful
    (31.2%)

Total votes: 205

This is not a representative poll and the figures do not purport to represent public opinion as a whole on this issue

YOUR COMMENT

Tim Reddin
This is very much in line with my own experience. I always thought I was just too lazy to cram!

Joseph Peake
My daughter persuaded me to cram in only 40 minute sessions. It helps. I also reduce the facts to be remembered to notes. Then later use the notes to help recall the lot. When I can do that I make a list of one word for each note and use that to recall the notes to recall the lot, then invent an easy to remember catch phrase to recall the list.

Colin
I have a fascination and interest in languages and agree that repeating words over and over again doesn't work. Leaving the subject alone and then returning to it later gives a much better success rate.

Daryl
The question isn't whether cramming works better that hours of spaced out dilegent study, but whether a few hours the night before the big test is better than a few hours spread out over the term. If you want to learn the material, well study and practice. If you want to just pass and then forget it, cram. I've found both to be useful.

Peg
I was brought up to cram for exams. My very good short term memory made it possible to cram hugh chunks of information and remember it long enough to pass an exam. I crammed for Ancient Greek and now, many years later, cannot remember anything except the alphabet and that the ancient Greeks had many words for love. Cramming is good for passing exams but not much use for anything else.

katiep
This is so true. The only time I crammed for an exam was one of my first year exams at university and did really badly when all the others went well. I had put off revising as I didn't like the topic so much.

Voiceless Baldy Man
I totally agree. I tried to cram for some important exams for promotion. Failed twice and both times it was down to cramming and then losing it in the exams.

Chris
I have found cramming DOES work when the cramming allows me to make other connections i.e. semantic or acrostic

Janet
Yes, usefull I have tried cramming and this has resulted in getting stressed because it doesn't work.

oscar
Cramming can work if you've got a good short term memory. I read all the introductions and reviews of set books, friends' essays etc for my final papers, the night before the exams and managed to get a very decent 2:2 at a top university - much better than I deserved. Also, used cramming to learn lines for plays etc. Obviously, using a more organised method of revision over a longer period of time is more effective but if you're caught short and you find it difficult to do the work you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do it; it's useful to have developed the ability to take large amounts of info in quickly. It can spur you into more creative use of the info also. But I would agree that unless you have to keep on using the info you have learned in this fashion, it can be very quickly forgotten.

peter daly
I used to try to remember vocabulary from another language by thinking "x" means "y".Much more successful seems to be linking the new vocab to some kind of mental image so that the word fits into a real compartment rather than an "equivalent to" section. just a thought.

Pauline
Cramming is for last minute people - I have found it works, but it's not the most ideal way of remembering information.

Philip Brown
There is no doubt that cramming does not work for me. You learn over a period of time, you enjoy the process and then you let it rest before the big day. then you come to the exam or whatever relaxed and let the memory flow.

sjg
cramming (for exams) worked for me, but now in real life I work on different things all the time so maybe it is natural do what you suggest.

Jag
Cramming really does work for exams, but I am not so sure it works in other situations. The pressure that you're under when last minute cramming focuses you. The way to cram is to filter your notes down to key bullet points and facts, and then learn these. And exams onyl ever reward short term memory, you often don't need to recall things after an exam - i dont remember anything from uni!

Zil Muir
Was satisfied with cramming - especially for exams - as so often it helped with the exam results but I very seldom retained it in my long term memory

Kayleigh Ellingham
This advice is very useful, but also something that I have found out myself during study. If you havent learnt something before the big day its likely you will never learn it at all. Studying over periods of time is definately the right move!

Geoff
This information would have been very useful 30 years ago when I was cramming for my GCSE A levels.

Lynn Henry
I find cramming helps especially when learning scipts for a play

Adrian
Cramming enabled me to pass my degree with a first........ memorising model answers and simply writing them up in the exams!

Aisling Coughlan
I used to use cramming when I was at school though it wasn't a pleasant way to learn.

Cath
I don't agree, i cannot remember things when i revise them early...i have always crammed and it has always worked

Alex
I got through school, university and numerous job interviews by cramming. I think the adrenalin means I can pick up a few useful bits of information because I know I haven't got to retain them for too long. The key is cramming small chunks and accepting you can't tackle too much or it'll all disappear. It's worked for me....although was most effective when I was under 25.

George
I've always found cramming works for me. But maybe that's because I haven't tried anything else! I will now.

Dr Karisma Khurrum
Cramming information is really no good, actually it can make you very confused, especially when answering medical exam questions which are mostly multiple choice. In these type of questions you either know the answer or you dont. I find it easier to relax before the exam rather then to cram.

marian
Cramming can help. I used to do a lot of acting and I've forgotten all the lines I ever learnt except for one speech that I just could not learn at the time. I had to go over it and over it until it sank in. Now, many many years later, I still remember it. Incidentally the people I was around as I repeated it ad nauseam still know it as well!

charles
excellent way to remember things- I often use tihs i find saying the words out loud the second time of reading them boost the ability to remember.

Ruth
I've crammed for every exam ive ever taken and have been fine, although i have studied in the lead up weeks aswell, i dont think i would have done as well if i hadnt of crammed aswell.

Hilary
Linking information rather than cramming is helpful. Cramming useful for recalling information from sometime ago, if used in conjunction with links.

nicola
I believe this to be true as cramming never works for me.

Tracy
Oh how true this is! If only I had started revising for exams in plenty of time whilst at school, there would not have been the need for me to cram at the last minute - only to realise with a feeling of dread that I still did not know enough!

Vicki
Cramming is great for exams, providing you have reviwed you notes previously and already have a reasonable familiarity with the material. It doesn't seem very helpful for improving long term memory.

Loobie
I am 40 now and have done lots of exams both and school and professionally. I have got to say that I have tried starting studying for exams earlier but I cant retain the knowledge with all the other stuff going on in my life ie small children, work etc. Concentrated cramming 2/3 weeks before the exam is the only way I can absorb enormous quantities of information.

Elaine Gibbs
No sorry it has to be cramming for exams - but a different approach for foreign languages

mary
i thought this helped me very much

Iain Ledingham
Not so useful. My experience suggests that cramming to a limited extent a few hours before going into an exam helped. Maybe better if I slept between cramming and the exam.

Harry Haward
In my experience cramming information can work espeially for exams. The important thing to do is shut yourself off from all other distractions such as mobile phones and music as this can easily divert your thoughts. Spending 30 minutes to an hour cramming information can work but it is important to have an equal amount of time relaxing before going back to recram the information.

alam.
its very useful.blind cramming can be useless but cramming with proper understanding can be very very useful.

ken toye
Cramming lists for MFL learning are hopeless. Working with primary children. Introduce the word in a structure with meaning. Repeat and act the structure(shopping, eating playlets etc.)Use the structure in a poem or song. Cue by association( s'il te plait: silver tray)This system follows language studies which say: "a word only has meaning in a context" and "we learn by using multiple encoding". Teachers can learn much from your programmes. Congrats, Ken Toye, language teacher(ret)

June
I liked to tape record facts and listen to them over and over again particularly in bed just as i am going to sleep and found this useful when doing exams.

Michael Blass
Having learnt a lot of lines as an actor, learnt a foreign language fluently, and taught a lot of people English as a foreign language, I would tend to disagree with this. Learning words takes endless repetition. It isn’t just a mental activity, but also physical. It is similar to learning a musical instrument. When you learn an instrument, you repeat almost until you have the sensation that your hands or fingers are acting of their own accord. Learning words is a similar experience. This is particularly true when you are training your mouth to pronounce foreign words. However, taking a break and then returning to the activity is also crucial.

Lisa
I crammed for my school exams and passed but for long term memory I don't think its good but then again I don't use what I learnt on a day to day basis anyway so I feel it doesn't matter.

Nergish
Oh yes, cramming does not work for me, I need to associate it with something, or think some funny pictures in my head to remember.

AlanNyquist
I think the important thing about cramming is the urgency. People usually cram because they have to - for example, because the exam is the following day and they have no choice but to do an all-nighter. I cannot learn the more boring University subjects over a long period of time, because if I know I have a long time to learn then I keep putting it off. However, pressure forces me to concentrate: If I cram at the last minute, then I'm much more successful because the pressure is what I need to remember things.

caroline
cramming is no good for man nor beast when I was at school I found that if I didn't know my subject two weeks before an exam cramming would do no good - it just wouldn't go in and stay in!

aerobicat
I always learn new foreign language vocabulary by saying the word or phrase six times over for each word or phrase. This has worked for my MA in French, for GErman and for Japanese.

aileen
My experience with cramming is very short-term. - I forget it again almost immediately. I crammed for my school exams in history, for example, and my overall knowledge of histroy today is therefore abysmal.

Phil
Cramming definately helped me pass my degree. But if i did the same exam a few months later i would probably fail miserably.

Bernice
Well I find it Ok in the very short term but it doesn't help me to remember facts and figures in the long term - so studying methodically & regularly is the best way for me to learn & retain.

Tariq
Yest it's very useful

Sonia
I think its a very good advice.I have always done last minute cramming but that doesnt stay for a long time.

reka
I have personally been cramming for all my exams to the extent that I have my notes right till I enter the exam hall. It has been useful in passing the exams but I couldn't get the whole feel of the subject and I difinitely couldn't remeber single info 2 days after my exam.

Petter
Normally for me I can sit through a whole class and if I'm not interested in the subject it just won't sink in.

Emer
Cramming before exams is useful for brushing over things or revision but doesnt work long term for me, but repeating things and coming back to them again is impractical when you have 14 school subjects to learn!

Mrs Barbara Head
I am a London Taxi driver and to remember most of the streets of London it was necessary to learn by rote with many continous hours of study.After the first year the speed with which it was possible to commit to memory was amazing. If you want to see this in action I suggest you go to the Knowledge School in London.

Catrin
I have actually crammed and it did work, I think it is sometimes OK to cram but as long as you have done the rest, it does not work on its own (in my experience). I don't agree with not repeating a foreign word lots, I find that I have to repeat it many times just to get the sounding of the words etc and get it into my head.

june newcombe
It has only worked in the short term for me. I once learned all my latin grammar and maths formulae this way but now I can't remember them at all!

Elizabeth
I have always learnt things by repitition, it's really hard to get out of the habit, even doing martial arts, repitition was always the way to become second nature. You practice it for so long then it becomes a reflex.

caroline
I could never have done so well in my school exams if I hadn't crammed the night before! Sometimes the information I just crammed minutes before an exam was just what I needed to remember! Especially dates. Cramming is not so effective for remembering astract ideas.

Russ
To learn the proof of an 'equation for flight' in an HND aerodynamics examination, which was totally meaningless to me, I used repitious cramming, writing the proof out (2 sides of A4 paper) until perfect to very good effect

sadie
cramming does help a lot when your with friends you know thatthey will be able to help you when me and my friends did cramming the day before a test we all had 100% on the test should have done it before.

Ian William Gibson
Although I can speak read and write the Dutch language reasonably. I shall be going on an intensive one week course and shall endevour to try your twice or three time repetition technique.

Chrish
I agree with Julie. I believe you can actually learn better when you don't try too hard...I am learning Spanish and I find that if I just listen to the CDs and try not to try, I remember more efficiently than repeating the words over and over again. Repetition is good, but you need to space the repetitions and not cram "mindlessly".

Clifford
this definitely works

Ram Nair
Agreeable suggestion indeed.

Kate
I have always found cramming to be good for me!

Matthew, Edinburgh
As far as passing exams goes, there is no better way to have the in's and out's of the subject lodged in your head than by cram studying for the exam a week before. Especially in mathematical subjects!

Ian
Cramming does work for me, for example too pass an exam or some othe form of assessment, but the information learnt is quickly forgotten. For me a better way to retain information is to understand how each part of a subject operates in relation to another. In this way a greater understanding of the overall subject arises and recall just occurs naturally.

Fionn
I am trying to learn spanish, I had 2 lessons a week each lasting about 2 hours. These lessons were just intense cramming and by the time I came back to the next lesson, I had forgotten everything and just paid to repeat my original lessons.

Annie
I couldn't have passed my university exams without cramming. It was to learn aspects of subjects I was not particularly interested in but needed to pass. My best cramming was reviewing the main points right before the exams having made a mind map a few days before. You have to know some stuff for an exam that you'll never really need to know again like specialized technical jargon. I don't use these terms in my work as no one else knows them anyway!

Weasel
I'm not sure you can generalise and say cramming does or doesn't work. I think it depends on the individual. Several people I know have always crammed for exams, from GCSE to post-graduate level and have always done extremely well.I agree with Holly though that if you want to remember something in the long term, cramming tends not to work. Ask a crammer the answer to an exam question 2 weeks later and see what happens!

Debs
There will always be people who can cram and those who can't. However, anyone who is able to cram successfully must also have a certain amount of intelligence and application as passing an exam is not always just about remembering facts. Cramming has always worked well for me. It meant that I had an excellent social life and still got a great degree.

Simon Kadwill
Cramming does work for me - the night before an exam (or important meeting)but after the exam much of what I crammed is lost but I retained more than if I had learned at a normal rate. Deadlines can be helpful to maximise filling up my short term 24-48 hours memory bucket then I think 50% goes into my subconscious memory bucket awaiting reactivation through further experiences. There is a whole book industry around the "Exam Cram" series so this method must work for many people or the books would not sell over the many years they have been in print.

Alec
Very true i am a crammer by nature always leave things to last minute. Its usually good enough to get by on the day but retention of knowledge for any length of time is poor.

Laura
Cramming work for me too i'm afraid. I have really poor memory so to learning things over a longer period is a waste of time. I managed alot better revising a week/few days prior to the exam than 2 or more weeks before.

Sally
I don't find this works for me as my longer term memory is too short so I have to revisit it all about 24 hrs before exams or it's lost!

neeta
If I repeat things three times with full concentration.. that helps me to remember words of foreign language..

Lisa
Cramming is good for short term as I have used it for exams, but after a week the information disappears as you don't use or revise it. To remember things properly, I believe you need to be able to understand the information you're learning and associate it with something.

donna walder
I crammed for my music exam - had hardly done any revision up to the exam - the exam was in the afternoon and I crammed solidly in the morning - got a B - so it worked for me!

Louise
I agree. When I did my exams most of the info I had learnt over the term I remembered but the info I tried to study just didn't appear.

Stuart
I tend to disagree cramming works but only up to an extent. I do cram myself before exams but not all the information sinks in and i tend to forget when i get into the exam room!!!

jyr
I know cramming is not a efficient method of learning,but it's the only method that really works in urgent situation. And I think it's the basic step of learning unfamiliar things.

Carole Swindells
I find the opposite. Starting a new routine in my job the only way I could grasp the idea was to repeat the process over and over again - till I was word perfect with it.

steve
I crammed for 3 days before a psycology module in my computing degree, and passed comfortably despite missing half the tutorials. I still think it is the best way to remember just facts and figures before an exam, but not the general feel of the subject. I can't remember a single one of the facts now, so it is obviously not good for long-term knowledge. Just illustrates how ridiculous exams are really.

Mark
I agree, cramming is no way to study. It is much better to understand the subject matter and in that way you can better reatin what you have learnt.

Richard
I need to repeat a particular word over and over again before I'm able to memorize it... I can't come back to it later and expect it to be in my head:S just doesnt work for me~

david Ballantyne
shortterm memory before an exam is helped although if the exam is more than a week away the value is much less.

Feargus
The introduction says it all,100% correct, cramming does not work.

ljanty
i was always let down by memory in exams. i should have had lessons in memory at school.

Pam Dudley
I am 77 and studying with the Open University and am in my 3rd year. I am getting 'pass 2' results. I have found it most useful to revise over a long period, say 3/4 weeks. About 2/4 hours a day with fairly long break in the middle. In my kitchen I put up names, dates etc on post-it notes on the front of all the cabinet doors so that I can see them all the time. It certainly helped by visualizing them in the last exam. I suppose, because of my age, I find it hard to retain info for a long period. For instance when I have studied for, and written an essay, more or less as soon as I have posted it I have forgotten the content to the extent I can't even remember the title!! Why do you think this is?

Matt
I find cramming to be a great way to pass exams if you're lazy. I could have got much better grades if i didnt cram because when it came to cramming before the exams i found i didnt know what id been taught earlier because i didnt do the steady learning process, and have now forgotten most of what i crammed.

emilt
personally i have never done anything but cram and its always worked a treat for me!

Emma
I think this makes alot of sense. There are times when I really feel I'm learning something and excelling, yet a never seem to be able to create it. Maybe it's because I give myself more time between things - when the pressure is off - and come back to them.

Guillermo
Well,the way we learned at school was very different. For example, when I learned English the audio-lingual method , which consisted in too much repetition, was very common and I really learned the language.

Gail
I used cramming to pass my exams and it worked fine as I passed them all. However, with hindsight, it would have been much better to study at an easier pace as there are things I can't remember now - my French is quite limited and I can barely remember what calculus was...

James
As a university student I would have to say cramming has not let me down yet.

david
yes this is really good advice, cramming was always like doing a chore which for me seemed to achieve little. I guess it depends on whether you are an active or passive learner.

Rachel Dewey
Very useful, sums up every experience I have for cramming for exams.

carlos
This method allows the information to settle and it gives me time in order to process and come to better conclusions.

John
This really works for me is I need to learn longer pieces of information in detail. I study for between 15-40 minutes maximum but then review for a couple of minutes at the end & repeat this again a couple of hours later by just skimming over the subject. I then do this skimming again the next day & find a good recall on the information. I have found this very useful for exams

Edwin Hologram
I found that exams at university are usually a test of your ability to understand and recall a few points very, very precisely, rather than a test of your overall understanding of the subject. Before cramming, I always checked the likelihood of the questions being asked, in the exam, by looking at past papers, about two days before the exam and a day before I crammed. I found my strategy worked very effectively and scoring high marks in exams was easy, though it is a risky strategy, for obvious reasons. But, on the down side, I was left with almost no real understanding of any of the subjects, I studied, and consequentially forgot everything I learnt, within a few weeks of leaving uni.

Caroline
Cramming works for me for short-term learning. I got a first class honours degree by cramming for my finals (although I was already at 2:1 level anyway). However, ask me about those subjects now and I would be hard pressed to tell you much.

jill frankel
Used to be able to cram when I was young and had a photographic memory. Now at 74 not so easy!

Claire
I find cramming works well in academic situations, where I am only concerned about the grade on an exam. However, it only works for me in short term memory, so it's not really useful for most real-life applications or in classes where I needed to retain information for a longer term (for example, for classes in my major where subsequent classes would expect me to have retained knowledge from previous classes.)

valderie
I have always crammed before an exam (or interview)- useless for retention and understanding but works enough to get me through the impending crisis! Crammed when I learned to fly - passed theory exams with flying colours (groan) but would not recommend - you need to remember this sort of information and for my own peace of mind and safe flying I had to go back and learn it properly. So cramming achieves something to a point but could be positively dangerous in some situations where remebering the info is pretty important - Medical profession also springs to mind as another example.

Janice
I have often used cramming before exams and find that with some exams I couldn't have survived without it, whereas with others (e.g. school subjects I had enjoyed studying over time) it didn't help

Sara
Cramming has always been the only way I can get through exams. The first thing you are told at the beginning of secondary school is not to cram for things, to learn steadily and commit things to long term memory. I just forget things when I try that. 10 years later I am a student at Cambridge Uni getting good grades... and still doing it by cramming. I know people who find it no help at all and am a firm believer that it depends on the individual.

Diana
Cramming has always worked for me if carried out in a certain way. Each block of work must be small (30 mins maximum) and will be 'revised' on at least 5 or 6 planned occasions veach time the revision taking less and less time

val vearncombe
I couldn't agree more, I recently tried a liguaphone method of learning a new language, the constant repetition did not work for me.

m ark
this was usually the only way to deal with complex professional exams, but recognition of problems in practice needs deep memory & linking situations together.

Audrey
Cramming never worked. At school I needed to do my homework that evening to remember how and then, that was it, I would, by and large, remember it from then on. I often felt guilty when others were revising, but not only was it boring, apart from odd little bits, it didn't really help.

godfrey
I finf it very short-lived and unsuitable for my long term practical application.

Peggy
Years ago I crammed for the entrance exams for one uni. The exam, on the same subject for another, which I much preferred, but believed I had no chance for, was a week later. I did no further revision during that week, relaxed and read around the subject : I had the best results I have ever had. I never had the courage to repeat the experiment however. You have to be very brave, or confident,not to cram for exams!

kathleen
I have to disagree with this since i crammed for every exam i have ever taken and still did very well. however, cramming may explain why my memory is pretty appalling in the long term.

George
It helps you pass exams, but not much else!

Jon Player Special
I dissagree as well. I find cramming works extremly well when i use it to remember chunks. I can remember 19 numbers but only if i cunk them into 2's and then cram them.

oscar
i don't think i have used this before but i will try it

Chris
have to say this is the oppostie for me...10 hour revision sessions the day before an exam usually allows me to come out with good results

Tony
I think cramming does work in the short term, as described in a lot of the comments I have read here. However, if you were to ask any of the "crammers" a month later the same questions I'd put money on it that they wouldn't remember the answers whereas the "sensible studiers" would be able to recall much more of the information (albeit also degraded over time). In others words cramming works in the short term but does not work for longer term memory recall. I guess it's horses for courses, if all you need is to pass an exam tomorrow then cram away!

Danny
I must admit to cramming all through school and college and it seemed to work for me to get me though the exams but I was very concious that it was all short term memory. If you asked me about the subjects a few hours after the exam I would struggle to be able to answer

potticus
Being on a 1st in aerospace engineering, I can testify with grades that cramming does work for some people. Eeveryone reading all these things thinking "thats where I'm going wrong" is being fooled. All this stuff will be different for different people. If I can go into a university exam and get a top grade by cramming, explain to me how that isn't working. Sometimes you just don't have enough time to do all the work you need, if you are trying to balance a multitude of things in your life. What applies to one person can be totally different for another, and likewise the reasons for doing it.

Åge Kruger
For my last session of university exams, I studied sensibly for half of them and crammed the other half. The results were completely random. The class I did best in I had studied sensibly for, just like the class I did worst in. There was no pattern at all that would suggest that cramming didn't work, or that sensible paced studied does work.

Sarah
I have to disagree. When I had to learn French and Spanish in school, I would often cram! I just repeat the whole thing over and over and over again and it works perfectly! I always remembered everything. The same goes when I had any performances to do in Drama, or essays to memorise. If I repeat the stuff to myself over and over it works. I still apply the same for my university work and it seems to have worked so far!

Rachel B
I have always crammed for exams and it does work for me. For undergraduate I'd put a whole topic on one sheet of A4, even it was crammed full and I'd read it a few times, some of the information was new that day and it'd last for the exam but I don't retain it long term. When I was older I still crammed but in a different way - extensive reading around a topic the day or two before the exam, it worked but I can't recall it now!

Champa
I think this works best to improve your memory and remeber things before the exams. I feel relaxed by taking breaks and can concentrate more.

Richard Eves
As an undergrad at Hull I had plenty of time to revise and I did very well without stress. As a grad student at Cambridge I had an incredible workload in June 76 - back to back final Masters exams. I crammed from 7 am to 2 am in the morning for a week and it worked - aided by cigarettes and coffee. I hated it but I got through. If I had had more time - ie a day or so between exams , I would have done better. The schedule was cruel. However I went from a 'A' grade student to a 'c' grade student.

anon
i've just done my end of year exams where i had 11 exams in one week. I remember having to cram a whole year's worth, in 3 different subhects, during the evening for the following day. I crammed it all but somehow i managed to get the highest results i've ever got. It doesn't make sense. I've got my gcse's next year and im thinking cramming might not seem like such a bad idea..

Bernie
I used to think that actors had some special gift that helped them remember the line of a play. I thought that when I apeared in an amateur production the same magic would happen for me. I now know that actors don't posses a magic gift.they learn their lines the same way I do.Read, reread and continue to do so until it is second nature.Just bloody hard work and repetition.

Cathy
I found cramming never worked for me and was often counterproductive.I have always felt my short term memory was poor so I had to study in good time and break from the subject the day before.I always did Ok but seldom got very high marks in 'regurgitative'but I can still remember some of my 'O'level chemistry 21 years later.

Heraldo
I crammed for all my O& A levels and Uni exams: working backwards! I would prepare a schedule of my exam subjects leading up to the exam, starting with the last one and ending with the first. I rigidly stuck to the schedule: one day geography, next day maths, etc.in a count down to the start of exams, finishing with cramming for the first exam the night before the exam, so it was all still fresh in my mind. That way, I knew I would cover all the topics and have prepared at least once. After each exam I would then re-revise the next exam's subject: so I could have a second go at it. On top of this, I studied each subject until I had gone through all my material, no mater what hour of the night/next morning this took me to. I then went to bed for a well earned sleep!!I found these periods a lonely time, but I got to know myself well (endurance, abilities, patterns of tiredness) and would give myself mini braks of about 10 minutes whenever I needed them. It worked for me but I would not recommend it to others/my own children !! Though, I did come to love listening to the bbc world service in the dead of night, and the lolibelero (?) theme tune ahead of the news has stuck with me ever since, with fond memories of those times. And I don't think my parents knew any of this was going on.

Suze
it depends how your mind works, i find cramming very useful and i remember more stuff this way than if i've revised for ages. cramming has always worked for me, you just have to cram hard enough. obviosly you need to understand the subject matter first.

Donna
I agree that cramming doesn't work for long term memory, and is not the best way to learn, but I find rehearsal and repetition really works for me in getting good exam results.

Ali
I am sure the advice is good. In the last few years I've been studying French, getting my standard up from GCSE/O-level to degree level. I've increased my vocabulary about 5000% without once sitting down to learn a list of words like we used to at school, just by reading, writing or speaking a little bit of French every day. The trouble is you have to keep doing it or you forget...

Sophie
Its not practice but the practical use of using the word/words in an everyday situation which makes you remember

cuddly-cat
I think that I imagine that I will 'do well' in an exam if I cram for it during the final two days. Actually, this is most probably an illusion and what actually happens is that I am just more stressed out and tired than I need be.

®ichard
I wish that it was that easy for me...to learn a new language that is..Now living in Sweden I find that unless I repeat the word and write it down several times, that I immediatley forget it. If I "learn the word and do not use it (several times) within a week or two then I forget it OR mix it up with a similar word. I have wondered if hypnosis can help one to learn a language ?? Anyone any experiences of this ? Tack så mycket Thanks V much

Allie
Ah, but cramming does work! During exams your body is pumped with adrenaline which means that your whole system is working better than ever. I found that cramming works extremely well for exams....although if u want to remember it forever anf evr and ever it might not be a complete success...

Carolyn
I have to learn operas in German, which I don't entirely understand. I repeat words over and over, while doing something else such as ironing or watching tennis. Between each shirt, I check a phrase or two. Then I stop a minute while I get a coathanger. It's much easier to learn out loud, with strong lip movements. A tune makes it easier too.

peter
If you need to cram, you're learning for the wrong reason.

Nas
Cramming for exams is the worst thing to do.I've done it before and I can testify with my grades

Nic
Useful and confirms something I've "felt" for a long time.

sleep-over queen
saying it over and over again helps

Jennifer
When learning a foreign language, practice is key. If you are learning vocabulary pratice or repeat the word several (or more) times.If you repeat just once or twice unless you have a fantastic memory you will forget it. Language is practice, practice, practice.

Rose
I cant do cramming either, i have never been able to 'revise' in this way for exams. i will either give up as it feels like to much info at once for my brain or not bother at all and have faith in what i already know.

Alexandra
In learning a foreign language I find it helpful to repeat a word several times. That way it becomes more familiar. The problem with learning a whole new vocabulary is that the unfamiliarity of it makes it easily forgetable, unless you refer to the sound and rhythm repeatedly.

Keith
I found this very helpful, now i know why i forgot almost everything i crammed for my GCSE's

Adam
I tend to crammed for my A levels, revising what I needed to revise over one or two weeks prior to the exams and I got 4 As. However I find that cramming doesn't work long term, i forget a lot of things after the exam, although find them easier to learn again

Lucy
I did a little cramming for my last exam. I generally understood the subject but the key topics didn't always come to the front of my mind so I could get the knowledge down on paper. The day before the exam I condensed the trickier to remember areas of the syllabus down to 1 A4 sheet of key words which I could talk around. I wrote and re-wrote these key words about 5-7 times until they stuck. I didn't lack any knowledge and doing this meant I saved time in the exam trying to think of that last point that I could write about - if I could only remeber what it is! Mind you I've always been good at lists - German verb tests were never a problem at school.

Ed
Cramming deffinitly does work. I worked (crammed for a month) for my exams and passed. A couple of my friends crammed a years work into a week and got better marks than me! I think it depends on the person to be honest. Although yeah, im sure iw ould have done better if i had worked all year..

Jeffers
I find writing things out is a good way to memorise them especially for iminent work/use; and it even works over several years as it is so thorough. Particularly useful if the stuff has already been substantially committed to memory, the writing then serves dual purpose of consolidation and a means of checking correctness of stuff retained.Short term I can leave the shopping list at home as it is firmly in my brain, visually!

shanaz ahmed
I was taught at school that the best way to retain information is to re-read it two days later.

Joy Harker
If I hadn't worked during the learning period I didn'nt know the subject. Cramming doesn't work.

Jim
I find Cramming is useful for a small amount of data but not for a large amount.

Christine
Cramming works for me as a refresher just before an exam. As long as I am familiar with the material from having read it a couple of times in the 2 or 3 weeks before an exam the last minute whip through of material up to half-an-hour before sitting the exam really helps, even if it has all gone again as soon as the exam is over.

mitch
Cramming doesn't work for me. Practice, practice, practice seems to be the only way for me.

bunnette-1
i always cram for exams as i never have timne to do it any other way and although i dont get top marks in every test especially languages i do find it works quite well for me so with this i think it must very from person to person

Ian
I never have crammed when it comes to learning. I've always done little by little, I find it stays in my memory a lot longer. If I try to cram then I just end up in a kind of overload situation and only small fragments stay.

Margaret
All my life I have been told to cram and repeat words and have never been successful

Steve W
This system works well for me usually starting with 30 mins revision 15 minute break then 45 min revision and 20 minute break and so on. Then final rest break of 1 hour and 1 hour of revision. I also find highlighting and re reading the session from previous then moving on is excellent.

hipmummie
I have attempted to learn 5 different languages and excel at the written but the verbal and audio aspects of languages are very difficult for me. Cramming works for me only for exams and then the information is gone. I have learnt over the years to take breaks and allow things to sink in and rethink them in new ways. But languages still allude me

Ljn
Cramming is hopeless. Has to be associated with something.

Mervyn
Ok for short term memory stuff - not so good for long term.

Nikita
This advice is not useful to me. When I am learning language,I always repeat words over and over. It works for me...

Gill
Cramming never worked for me - it does not allow information to go into long term memory.

mc
I find cramming is only useful in the short term and is soon forgottten.

Eva
there are several aspects to it. In my case: when I was younger (school age) I was able to 'cram' learn, repeat text and grammar - esp when learning English and French (I am German) which worked for me during exams. I confirm however, that now as I'm in my mid-fifties - this technique does not work for me any more.

beachlover
I agree that cramming does not aid a deeper level of understanding. Deep levels of processing and understanding come with time and rehersal. I am doing a psychology degree at the grand old age of 45 and i have found that exams are set to regurgitate information and not to test your understanding of the iformation. The time between course work submission and sitting of say 3 or 4 exams is sometimes only 2 weeks apart. In this case cramming is the opition.

niki
I find this can help for trying to remember things for a short term only. However mixing the cramming with something you enjoy, like listening to your fav album helps, i have found helps me to remember as im in a more positive frame of mind.

Greg
What was the question again?

Angela
I am 'guilty' of cramming - I always leave things 'til last minute when studying/taking exams (I'm currently doing a degree course with the Open University). However, only a small percentage of crammed information is retained long term, so it really isn't effective.

miss.davies
i thinking cramming is very useful if it for short term-use, meaning you are revising for a exam which is in a couple days. However it does have its set back, i as i can not usually remember any of the material i have learned unless i have learnt it before.There is limits to cramming and i wouldnt just rely on it in exams because once you can not remember 1 thing, its hard to retrive other things that have relavence to that subject.

Jane
Cramming doesn't often work. However, I found that repetition can help. Particularly with foreign languages. With language you need the pronunciation and sound to sink in and not just the meaning. This type of repetition works best when falling asleep a list of vocabulary can be repeated in a rhythmic fashion until you fall asleep. You woill be surprised at how many words you remember the next day. I believe that the mind is more relaxed just before sleep, no other activities to process so the sorting of the information is easier.

Sam T S Chow
In learning a foreign language, cramming in fact works. But you need to do it in a fun way. Interest somehow, seems to improve the memory. By using the new words or sentences in different contexts in quick succession within a short space of time, you are actually exercising certain sets of muscles in your mouth, which creates a muscular memory of its own.

Muriel Price
I found it useful to sum up the content of a page in as few words as possible, write these on a card or tape them; each word would then trigger off dates, events, lines from poetry, plays, etc.

Marko
I agree with Matt. Although cramming helped me to pass exams in subjects I knew next to nothing about, all of the information is lost over a short period of time.

Deanna Pini Waldenberg
Never could cram although I tried. A little at the time seemed to work well, before exams that is. Now I am grateful that I don't have to memorize. A new language, took Japanese as my daughter was teaching English in Japan at that time. After 4 months I came to London and followed a course. In the course was a Japanese girl. So I wanted to show off my Japanese to her. However, all that would come out of my mouth was in Russian for How are you! Russian was the only different language (if I might put it that way) I studied as a girl apart from Italian, French and Spanish. I attempted talking to the Japanese girl several times, but only Russian phrases came.

anon
Fortunately I space out learning anyway, and do not cram naturally, but my automatic 'spacing out' method to learning stuff works well.

Matt
I always crammed - due to never learning when I should. I found it is very effective over a short period, but the long term retention of the facts is next to nothing.

Rilla
I do have to spend focused time learning something but find that the time that elapses between the actual time spent cramming and the application of what is being learned is crucial to the learning being absorbed so my brain can use the information e.g I ma learning to sing properly- I am tuaght the technique in a lesson and then practise at home (cramming) before the next lesson. If I practise too much/ too long I am not as successful in employing the technique, as I am, if I do less practise with less intensity. It is almost as though I try too hard

fi
Alas, I found that for information which only needed to be retained for a short time ie: for an exam the next day, cramming did work for me. However, 20 years later little of that knowledge stays with me.

Tim
I have never really been disciplined enough to revise in good time for anything, & i've always found myself being forced to cram. However, i find this extremely effective and i can usually cover revise a years syllabus satisfactorally in a couple of days. However, I usually then forget what i've revised in a couple of months & i'm sure proper might change this, though simply for passing exams, cramming can't be beaten.

Chris King
It is better to unstand a specific theory or piece of information than to cram. This re-enforces knowledge-this is my technique for learning.

Ahmed
I think that cramming is not 100% right but in many times it should be done, as many situations require the one to collect or memorize a huge number of information and so cramming present to do this.

Jan
As a result of bad study habits (i.e. not doing any!) at univesity 40 years ago, cramming was my only recourse, even though I knew it didn't really work. I would study all night before an exam, and regurgitate as much as I could remember the next day. I managed to scrape through, but I'm sure that if I'd had to do the ame exam a week later, I would have failed! A small consolation is that I studied physics, so most of what I didn't learn has now been disproved!!

hsquared
Cramming doesn't work for me - I sort of jumble it up if I try. One of my teachers told us years ago (well at least 30 years ago) that the night before an exam you shouldn't do anything. Don't open any books, don't read any notes just watch TV, read a novel or go out with your friends, anything except revision. She advised this approach plus an early night and an early start and it worked for me. I felt fresher and more calm as I approached the exam than I would have done if I had crammed the night before and I really think it helped my concentration.

Mags
My daughter, who has an Honours Degree, admitted she crammed for every exam she ever sat. She also admits to not having retained very much of the information she used to pass the exams. I think this is due to the difference in the modern education system, previous generations were give enough information to start the process of learning and pupils were expected to expand the information by reading, revising and researching for themselves. More and more pupils are only expected to pass exams, hence the cramming.

dom
well my two cents...i partied and drunk my way thru college - but in the 2 weeks prior to exams I wud go into cram-session seclusion. Done effectively one can expect to do well, (got a first class) - but cramming has to go hand in hand with comphrension. gud luck y'all

Adam