Many of you have gotten my lecture about cramming. I never study the night before a test, and you should work until you are at a point where you are prepared for your tests and don't need to cram. But if you must:
Cramming is not the best way to study for a test, but sometimes it is unavoidable. If you have to cram, use some strategies that you know will work for you, but plan to be ready to study for your next test. Cramming is not the way to get through college. If you cram too much, you will increase your anxiety level, and you will not do as well in your classes. Cram when you must, but develop tried and true study strategies to study throughout the semester.
When cramming, it is a good idea to look over the material that has to be learned in a general way. Look at each chapter for the main topics or most important ideas. Read over the captions under the pictures, look at lists, read text boxes, study graphs and diagrams. These visual strategies usually signal what is important within a chapter.Try to concentrate and review all the main ideas, topics and points. Be selective about what you read. Don’t look over material that you will not be able to review. When reading over the material, identify some key concepts and define these concepts so that you remember them. Check your definition against the one given in your textbook or notes. Now is the time to edit or redo your notes. Put down the correct answers. Study these correct answers. Look over them and review them in the ways that you know you best understand.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many concepts. Pick out what you think is the most important and know them well. By doing this, you will be assured that you are familiar with several key concepts.