How to Cram for an Exam

Procrastination gets the best of almost every college student. With so many other responsibilities going on in college, some things, such as studying for that all-important exam, are bound to hit the back burner. It can be a daunting task to sit down and study tons of material for an exam you have the next day, however it can be done. Although cramming techniques should not be used as your primary study method, you can use them for last minute preparation for an exam.


This is where your class notes will come in handy. Usually, some professors will casually mention what will be on the exam during their lecture and if you took note of these points you should be able to determine exactly what to study. This is a good time to check with your peers as well and see if they have notes that you can look over or even compare to yours.

Study Groups

Surely, you are not the only student in the course cramming for the exam. Check with other students in the class and see if anyone wants to cram with you via a study group. Usually when you bounce information off of another person you tend to memorize the facts better.

Do more than just Read

Do not just read the textbook word for word and expect to memorize the information because most likely it will not happen. Go through your text and highlight important ideas such as terms and their definitions. If you are studying a subject that would have case studies, such as Business Law or even Education, then study them. Professors like to throw in real life situations that may have been mentioned in your text.

Flash Cards

Flash cards are an excellent way to learn material and learn it quickly. It works two ways because you are learning while you write the information down on the flash cards and then when you test yourself later, the information is reinforced. Run through these cards as much as possible to help the information stick in your mind.

Be Creative

A proven way of memorizing information is by attaching a song to the material. Think of your favorite song and try to incorporate the material into the beat. You can also relate the information that you are studying to real life events to help make it easier to remember.

Other Exam Preparation Tips

  • Do not stress. If you stress and get nervous about the upcoming exam, then chances are you are doing more harm than good.
  • Get some rest. Staying up all night will not help because the next morning you will be too tired to concentrate. Make sure you obtain a sufficient amount of rest.
  • Go easy on the caffeine. While studying the night before, keep the caffeine to a minimum. Yes it will keep you awake enough to study, but when you come down off of that caffeine high you will be tired and your body will be too run down to properly concentrate.

After the Exam

Usually, after you take a test you can determine how well you did based on the answers you provided. If you feel you did not do your best or that your grade may be in danger, then talk to your professor. Most will not allow a retake of the exam, however you can ask if there is any type of extra credit you can do to help boost your grade.

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