Let’s face it. At some point, you have also tried cramming to prepare for an exam during your student years. Personally, I have done this on more than one occasion, and in some cases, it has resulted majestically. There were instances wherein I got the score I was wanting and pass the exam. Surely, you have also experienced this. And in other cases, I forgot everything the moment I looked at the paper in front of me.
Many studies have shown that cramming isn’t something that should become a habit, especially for students. Of course, some students may argue that cramming gets them the ammunition they need for their exams fast, but this can also be a technique they pick up when procrastinating. This is what students do when instead of slowly gaining momentum in their studying by starting it a week or two before the exams, they pack everything the night before the exam. In some cases, like the one mentioned above, the odds may work in the students’ favor and they may achieve the scores they want. In other cases, cramming will only result in low test scores. More often, cramming will only allow the student to remember details for the day of the exam and not retain the knowledge and understanding they need in the long run.
While there may be some useful effects of cramming, it can be said it is the least effective way to studying and learning. This is why we’ve compiled a list of the reasons why.
As mentioned above, cramming will only help the child get the scores they want but they will probably not remember anything about the exam or what they have learned for their exams. Similarly, they may forget important information they need in order to tackle the next topics after their exams.
This is because cramming only helps with storing short-term information in memory. School not only teaches topics and concepts to students but also encourages the use of these abstract concepts and applies them to real-world scenarios. This way, learning becomes more enriched and students would actually understand the idea deeper when it is in use rather than just theoretically using it. Cramming negates this purpose since all the information the child needs to actually apply would all be gone the moment they turn over their exam sheet or leave the classroom. There would also be no point in them attending school and graduating if they don’t actually retain any of the information they learned because they are dependent on cramming.
And so, what should parents do to help avoid their child from cramming? The best way to go about this is to help the child practice studying every day. It doesn’t have to be for a lengthy period of time, even less than an hour would do. This would help them turn their studying into a routine and also help in storing the information they need effectively and for a long time.
Studying for one subject for the length of the night can be difficult. Now, imagine studying for five subjects. It may sound like an exaggeration but more often, this is what your child may actually go through when they are cramming. Because of the amount of information they have to absorb from different subjects all in one night, their mind and body can experience great stress, which can also take a toll on their mental, emotional, and overall well-being. Additionally, this can also result in burnout or in extreme cases, a physical and mental breakdown, which in turn can lead to an even poorer performance in school.
This is why parents should be careful and alert about their children’s study habits. As parents, it can help if children are assisted in identifying their study and academic goals. Then, parents can also help in setting a healthy study schedule for them and make sure they are sticking to it. a good schedule and study routine will help in preparation for their exams so they won’t have to resort to cramming anymore. As such, this will also lessen their stress as they will be preparing for a longer period than just one night of cramming.
Of course, parents want their children to perform well in school and that also goes for the students themselves. However, because of the poor performance they may show during exams, they may feel guilty towards their parents. While parents may be angry and disappointed in their children for cramming, you should refrain from taking it all out on them. Parents need to understand that there is a reason why the child has resorted to cramming in the first place and thus, help with identifying and understanding the struggles their child is facing rather than bringing them down even more.
Identifying and understanding the issues your child is facing is the first step towards helping them address these issues better. Communicate with the child. Talk to them about their struggles in class and help them get to the root cause of their struggles. Additionally, help them in figuring out a way to solve or even just alleviate these problems. Parents can help in guiding their children back on track with their studies and help in lessening feelings of guilt. It will also help them in gaining more confidence in themselves in order to do their schoolwork and get better scores in exams.
“Pulling an all-nighter” may seem like an exaggeration and can even be used as a joke, but this isn’t the case for cramming because it is what students literally do when they are cramming. When the child resorts to cramming, chances are they are probably going to stay up from dusk until the early morning to study which can interrupt their healthy sleeping patterns.
Healthy sleeping patterns can be difficult to achieve and with cramming, it can break the pattern causing the student to lack sleep. Lack of sleep can then be the cause of concentration dropping, which in turn will affect how well they perform in class or during their exams. So, how does one go about this so it doesn’t interrupt the child’s sleep pattern? Again, it’s best for the child to set and follow a daily study schedule. It helps for better retention of the lessons they are studying little by little but also helps in keeping their sleep pattern intact, allowing them proper and adequate rest for the night and enough energy for the next day.
It’s quite common for students to have all the information they need ready for the exam only to come up blank when it’s actually time for them to answer. Since cramming can interfere with a student’s sleep schedule, it can also increase their chances of experiencing mental blocks. When they are too stressed out or anxious for the exam, they are unable to recall anything they have studied and can result in poor performance.
This can be especially jarring and stressful for the student taking the exam. They have spent their time cramming all the information they can possibly get and forget them all at once. It can dishearten them and cause them to lose what little focus they have left on the other questions in their exam.
To help with situations like this, parents can conduct practice tests and exams with their children. This can help the child know which part they need to study more on and help in determining which they have already mastered. As such, it also helps in easing their examination-taking anxiety as they are more used to taking the exam. Practice tests are a great study and reviewing tool for the child and also helps assure the parents that their children are ready for their exams.
Because cramming doesn’t require the student to study every day, they may think it’s the best way to go. This can promote procrastination, not just for studying for exams but also for other tasks such as activities or homework. They can start doing their homework or projects the night before they are due, causing their output to be sloppy and for the students to get stressed and anxious over the outcome and the amount of work that needs to be done.
When the child has the mindset of procrastinating, it can be difficult to turn around. Parents can help with this situation by making sure they stick to their study schedule. This can also include the time they spend on their homework and other academic activities. This way, chances of them procrastinating and later on resorting to cramming, can be lessened and even avoided. Additionally, parents should also be mindful of other things that can contribute to this problem such as excessive use of phones. When a child spends too much time on their devices, they can leave their school work behind. Parents should impose strict rules when it comes to using their phones during their study schedule to minimize excessive use and instead focus more on the task at hand.
Some students may consider cramming to be a study technique but it isn’t one that can be feasible in the long run. As parents, you have the role of helping your child be ready and prepared for their exams. Help them identify the struggles and troubles they have with their academics in order to effectively address them. If the child has a habit of cramming, assist and guide them in getting back on track by setting up a study schedule for them. Punishing and blaming them will not help at all. Instead, offer solutions and support them in reaching their academic goals.
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