Tips from an Irvine Test Prep Tutor: 5 reasons to avoid cramming for a test


Whether a student is in middle school or college, there will always be tests throughout the semester. Some are short quizzes meant to help the teacher understand how the students are absorbing information while others are essential to the student’s final grade. Regardless of the length of the test, one thing best to avoid is cramming the night before. It’s so tempting to leave stressful events until the last minute but, this can leave students more stressed in the long run. Additionally, students who save all of the work for the night before will probably not score as high on the exam as they were capable of. When students stay up all night or try to memorize a plethora of information in a short period, they end up not learning important elements. Also, they will show up to their morning exam feeling mentally fatigued.

1.  Cramming encourages sleep deprivation

Everything is harder when a student is overly tired. Many students think about doing all of their studying for an exam in just two hours. It won’t be so bad because they have from 8 till 10 to review the night before, right? Students fully intend to be in bed at 10:30, so they are well rested for the test the next day. However, most students find out that two hours just isn’t enough time to prepare for a midterm or final, and they end up staying up until 2 or 3 AM.

2. Absorbing important details

Students are not able to absorb all of the important details necessary when they are fatigued. When people have focused on a particular subject for more than a few hours at once, their brains become uninterested in the topic, and they want to move on to something else. Even students who force themselves to stay at their desk and study won’t be getting all of the important information they could have if they had several shorter study sessions. It’s valuable for students to make sure they can focus on those important elements of the topics that will be on the exam (READ: 5 Things to do Before Taking the fall SAT).

3. Time to take breaks

When students cram for a test, they prevent themselves from being able to take sufficient breaks. It’s important for students to be able to step away from stressful situations even if they are interested in the topic they’re studying. Tests produce a lot of stress and anxiety, so students may need to take more breaks than they originally thought. When students prepare well in advance of an exam, they have the opportunity to take as many breaks as they need to to be successful and maintain a work-life balance.

4. Work-life balance

Most students don’t have an ideal work-life balance. Even students as young as elementary school are feeling overly stressed about the amount of work they have to do each week and they miss out on fun social, creative, or sports activities. Cramming is usually a result of a student just not having enough time to get school work done without feeling a ton of stress. Unfortunately, cramming tends to unbalance students even more, and they come out of their exam feeling defeated. Even though test prep is stressful, students are encouraged to start early even if they only write an outline or work for 15 or 20 minutes. If students need help getting motivated or organized, they should consider joining a study group or working with a tutor who can help them one-on-one in their home. Work-life balance is important for everybody, but especially for students who are still learning how to manage their time.

5. Grades

Students are also encouraged to think about how cramming might affect their overall grade. When students show up to an exam fatigued they don’t perform as well as they would have if they had a good night’s sleep and had prepared in advance. Most students could improve by several percentage points if they didn’t stay up quite so late. At the end of the day, students who avoid cramming are more likely to have higher grades throughout the year.

The best way to prepare for a test is with the help of Irvine private test prep tutoring. Call us today for more information.

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