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How to Cram for a Test

Tips to Help You Cram for a Test

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When it comes to studying for a test, cramming is not always the best option. But as we all know, it's sometimes the only option. If you need to cram for a test, try employing some of the following tips to enhance your efforts and improve your results.

Preparing to Cram for a Test
  • Find a workspace that is free of distractions and quiet enough to cram for a test.
  • Gather everything you need to cram for the test and place it in your workspace.
  • Try to limit distractions by shutting off your cell phone or making a vow not to check your email or social networks during your study session.
  • Make a list of exactly what you need to study, putting the highest priority items at the top of the list.
  • Decide what time you want to start cramming for the test and set an approximate time to finish. Try to allow yourself a 10 minute break for every 50 minutes of studying.
Cramming for a Test
  • Scan any material that you need to read as quickly as possible. It is better to focus on recall than reading when you're forced to cram for a test. (Find out how to read a lot of dry text quickly.
  • Take notes about important points while you read to absorb key concepts.
  • Review what you have learned when you've finished reading. Look at your reading notes, chapter summaries in your textbook, and anything else that will help you reflect on key concepts.
  • Look for questions at the end of each chapter in your textbook. Professors sometimes pull test questions straight from these pages.
  • Review your lecture notes. Professors almost always test students on material that has been covered in class lectures.
  • Create and use flashcards if you need to quickly memorize vocabulary words, definitions, important names, dates, or other relevant materials. You can create your own flashcards online at FlashcardExchange or Flashcard Machine.
  • Employ every memorization trick you know: repeat information, rewrite information, make information into rhymes, develop acronyms, etc.
  • If you think the test may be essay-based, take some time to consider what the questions may be about. Then, jot down at least one brief outline for every suspected question.
  • Try cramming for the test with someone else in your class. Having a study partner makes it easier to get through a lot of material quickly.
  • Try to test yourself in a final review session when you've finished cramming for the test. You can use a practice test that your professor gave you or create your own practice test.

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