Effective cramming, crammed into three steps

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With midterms in the not-so-distant future, students may start to realize just how much they procrastinated studying for them. While cramming doesn’t produce the most effective study results, using one of these methods may make cramming a little more helpful. (Photo/Kayla Rubenstein)

If you’re like me, meaning you’re included in the 20% of the population who tend to procrastinate according to Professor of Psychology Joseph Ferrari, you like your information direct and straight to the point so that you can retain as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. Rather than segway into tips on how to effectively study at the last minute using essay-worthy transitions, I listed these three ways to study at the last minute without wasting any time because, as procrastinators know, there’s no time to waste. 

Create mnemonic devices

“Cells, cells, they’re made of organelles…” How do you remember this cell song from junior high yet forget a lesson you learned last period? How about PEMDAS, something taught even earlier, in elementary school?  Thanks to mnemonic devices, a memory technique to help you retain information, your brain will be more susceptible to remembering what you studied. Using mnemonic devices especially help when in a crunch since they help you recall information you may have briefly glanced at. By making funny acronyms or creating a song of your study materials, you’ll be more likely to remember it come test time. 

Break up the sections

Rather than tackling everything all at once, divide your work into different sections and take a break between each one. For example, if you have three-hour’s worth of studying, split it up into one-hour intervals, taking a 10-minute breather between each one. During the break, do something active physically or mentally, such as doing a few quick exercises or reading a chapter of a non-school book, to keep your momentum going. While it may seem like a waste of time to take a break, you’ll be more focused and less stressed when you return to your study. 

Design your own study guide

While asking/begging your best friend to send you his or her study guide may seem like a time-effective way to study, you’re doing yourself a disservice. By creating your own study guide, you layout the information in a way that makes the most sense to you. As you create the study guide, you’ll also review the information and digest it better than quickly skimming over it. Plus, with a study guide, you can review the content minutes before the test without shuffling through all your notes. 

Watch this video for more tips and scientific explanations about why certain cramming techniques work for short-term retention. (Video/AsapSCIENCE)

As a senior, Kayla Rubenstein spends her fourth (and heartbreakingly final) year on staff as Online Editor-in-Chief, Business Manager and Social Media Correspondent. Wanting to make the most of her senior year, Kayla serves as the President of Quill and Scroll, Historian of Rho Kappa and Co-Historian of NHS, while also actively participating in EHS and SNHS. Outside of school, Kayla contributes to Mensa’s publications and volunteers with different organizations within her community. An avid reader, Kayla can often be found with her nose in a book when not working on an article for The Patriot Post or developing a project for iPatriot Post.