Good Study Habits and...cramming If you don't know, I'm only a student and I admit, I have a bad study habit. I'm in a school where me and my classmates are pressured 'cause we need to have high grades yada yada.I can't study well because there are so many distractions, like computers, friends, books etc. I'm always crammming and it is killing me. Any suggestions/recommendations?

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The first thing is to try to remove yourself from those distractions. Disable your browser, study alone, etc. But if you are still really distractible, or if you find your thoughts wandering excessively, then you might want to talk to a psychiatrist. You might have ADHD, especially if you've struggled with this since early childhood.

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The age old problem... cramming for exams, tests, etc. As those in the previous posts have pointed out, cramming can actually be detrimental to the overall intent - that is to retain information.

If you are easily distracted, a good way - I love the washing machine and dryer idea by the way (post #3) - is first to identify what type of learner you are - are you a logical thinker, a plodder, a tactile (touchy- feely) or visual learner or maybe a listener?

Logical thinkers like to understand - they cannot learn 'parrot fashion.' Look for examples to which you can relate and remember those which will then lead you to the information you're trying to learn.

Plodders,functional learners, like notes and they make lots from which to learn.

Tactile learners love to relate to their environment. They like to, if possible, sit under a tree, by the fire, something relevant to the surroundings. they tend to be the romantic type.

Visual learners like lots of colours for their notes and to arrange their mind maps with different shapes and add interest at ANY opportunity. Even invest in some colored paper and use different colours for different subjects or topics, etc. Some learners would find this more distracting actually but then they are definitely NOT visual learners!

Listeners like to repeat their notes back to themselves. Sometimes they like to learn in rote-mood or 'parrot' fashion. A recording device - some mobile phones have the function - can be useful. Read the information and then make your notes based on what you are listening to . Rewind as appropriate.

Which one of them are you? It could be a combination so don't stress but it helps if you can identify at least one characteristic and then use it.

As previously pointed out, arrange your space. In other words get your coloured paper and pens, find a cosy spot, prepare to think of examples to relate to, ensure you have a recording device handy and whatever else - have cool water (no fizzy cold drinks please!) and (maybe) some jelly tots or m and ms handy!

eNotes has some video study guides to bring

the world of educational video, producing high-quality video study guides for works of literature and beyond.

You don't have to be a listener to appreciate these.

PS: to improve your concentration levels and memory skills try brushing your teeth (every time) with your non-dominant hand and write your name with youn non-dominant hand every day.   

Good luck.


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Organization and advanced planning are your antidotes to cramming. I know this is easier said than done; however, it's your only hope for...

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extracting yourself from the slavery to cramming your now stuck in. You typically know ahead of time when assignments are due and when tests and exams are going to take place. It's up to you to "make a plan" and then "work your plan" of when and where you will study and work on assignments. It takes a concerted and dedicated effort on your part and there is no other way around this.

I agree with the suggestion to study in a quiet place away from distractions. In addition, I agree with the suggestion of setting aside small increments of time to study - until you get into the groove of regular study and progress to longer sessions. In addition, figure out when you're most alert and have the mindset for quality study - then study during those times. Developing study skills and studying well in advance of exams and such will prepare you for the more advanced study you will undertake through your higher education.

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Cramming is not a good study habit.  Research has actually shown that you are better off relaxing before a test, because the stress of cramming impacts your mental function.  Cramming is not likely to help you remember.  It is best to create a study plan over a few days.

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Developing study habits will serve a student for the rest of the school career as well, in some respects, in the life career. Cramming literally works against the studying effort. 

  • When you cram for an examination, your brain does not retain the information. Immediately after cramming, you may feel as though you are an expert on the subject matter. However, when the test comes the next morning or a few hours later, the information has left your brain.

Here are the best methods for studying:

Find a place without distractions. No people, no music, no television. Kick the roommate out for at least an hour each day if he will not cooperate by keeping silent for that period of time.  Forget the excuse about needing some sound.  You may need it, but the brain does not.

In thatquiet place, include anything needed to help study, i.e., dictionary.

Be organized in everything. Keep all papers, tests, notes, in an organized notebook.

Study when not tired. Do not study in bed.

Study in the morning when the brain is rested.  Eat breakfast to fed the brain.

Study the hard subjects first when the mind is freshest.

Each day do something to refresh the mind about the subject.  Reread the notes, look over the previous tests, review the textbook.

Spend at least fifteen minutes each day reviewing.  Short study times beat out the long sessions. 

While in school, studying has to be the number one priority. 

Everyday, the student keeps in touch with his classes.

If a student is serious about learning, these are the things that will improve his ability to retain facts.

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I agree that you need to spend some time each day reviewing what you are being asked to learn in class.  If you don't work on your study habits now, it will only become more and more difficult.  The higher you progress in education, the less effective cramming will be.  At higher academic levels, cramming isn't likely to work at all.  You may have trouble setting aside 30 minutes per subject each day (even though this number is often supported by research).  Try easing into it.  Pick one or two subjects to look over today and one or two tomorrow (and so on) until you have reviewed all your subjects.  You can also try setting aside every other day to study.  You may also want to consider reviewing all your subjects whether you have homework in them or not.  Use your focused homework time to review as well as complete assignments. 

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It sounds like you are pretty distractable (just like I am).  I always had to find a way to get in a quiet place so I could concentrate.  In high school, my favorite place was in a room by the washing machine/ dryer when they were running.  The white noise blocked out all the distractions and helped me concentrate.

As for the cramming, you've got to do what you've got to do; however, if you can find a time to study a little bit every day you will definitely retain more of your information.

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Cramming is the absolutely worst way to learn, and, in fact, I would say that you cannot learn by cramming.  All you are doing is getting some things in your short-term memory, so you can perform on a test.  That is not learning! 

Set aside short segments every day to study, away from the distractions.  Try spending about half an hour on each subject, to build yourself up gradually to what studying really should be, the slow accumulation of knowledge over time. 

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