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12 Tips To Avoid Cramming For Your Next Test

How to avoid cramming for your next test

It’s no secret that cramming isn’t an effective way to study.

While it can be tempting for students to put off studying until they absolutely have to, cramming for tests actually leads to more stress, lowered comprehension, and poor performance.

Why Cramming Doesn’t Work

When students cram for a test at the last minute, they are studying to remember rather than studying to understand. With so much material to study in a short amount of time, their brain doesn’t have a chance to absorb or make lasting connections about what it is learning.

As a result, students will forget the material almost as quickly as they learned it. Learning new material becomes more difficult because your child hasn’t retained what he or she has already learned. This can lead to your child playing a game of catch up to avoid falling farther behind.

The solution? Ditching the late-night cram session routine.

Find out how you can help your child learn to study without cramming and start building better study habits instead.

How To Avoid Cramming When Studying For Your Next Test

  1. Stop Procrastinating
  2. Getting started is the hardest part for many students. Don’t put off studying until the last minute. Encourage your child to get started early, even if it’s something small. It’s much easier for your child to keep going once he or she has gotten started.

  3. Study A Bit Each Day
  4. Review what your child has learned in class each day. This can be a quick 10-15 minute session where your child goes over his or her notes from class. Daily recaps will help make studying for tests easier because your child is reviewing the material each day rather than trying to cram all this learning into a short amount of time.

  5. Plan Study Sessions In Advance
  6. When your child has an upcoming test, plan out which days will be reserved for studying. Having planned dedicated study days will give your child structure and help avoid procrastination.

  7. Follow A Schedule
  8. On top of planning study days, create a schedule that outlines exactly when your child will study. Block off time after school or after dinner that your child will use to study for the upcoming test. If there is no upcoming test, use this time to work on other projects and assignments.

  9. Find Your Child’s Best Study Time
  10. When creating your schedule, keep in mind when your child studies best. Some children prefer to study during the day, while others like studying later at night. Work with your child to find out he or she is most productive and schedule study sessions for that time of day.

  11. Prioritize School Work
  12. Even students with good intentions end up cramming last minute because they just have too much work. To make sure this doesn’t happen, help your child prioritize his or her work as soon as things are assigned. You can prioritize based on due date or how much an assignment or test is worth.

  13. Space Out Study Sessions
  14. Cram sessions aren’t effective because there is no long-term learning involved. By spacing out study sessions over a couple days (or even weeks) students’ minds have time to absorb, understand, and recall the material. Rather than studying for hours at one time, encourage your child to space out study sessions in the week leading up to the test.

  15. Study Material In Chunks
  16. Don’t try to study all the material at once. Instead, try studying a topic or two each day. Chunking material like this will make studying seem less overwhelming to your child. It will also help spread out study sessions for better long-term recall. Just make sure you start early enough to get through all the material!

  17. Take Good Notes In Class
  18. By taking good notes in class, it will be easier for your child to organize and review when it comes to test time. Taking organized, in-depth notes in class also means that your child already has quality review notes to study from.

  19. Keep Up With Homework & Assignments
  20. Falling behind on schoolwork is a big reason students find themselves cramming for tests. Know when homework and assignments are due, so you can schedule your child’s time effectively. This way, when your child has a test to study for, he or she isn’t scrambling to get everything done.

  21. Save The Night Before For Final Review
  22. Rather than cramming the night before a test, encourage your child to use the time for light review. The night before isn’t the time to start studying something new. Instead, go over any areas your child has been struggling with or needs an extra refresher.

  23. Learn From Your Experience
  24. If your child ends up in a situation where he or she is cramming the night before a test, take time to figure out why. Did your child have too much other work? Did he or she procrastinate getting started? Once you know the reasons, think about how your child can avoid the situation next time. This might be using an agenda to keep better track of assignments or getting started studying for the next test earlier.

Related Study Resources

10 Time Management Tips For Students (+ Downloadable Study Schedule)
Why Do Students Procrastinate? (And How To Help)

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