How to Study if you Have to Cram

We can’t say that we approve of last minute studying. But if you promise to start earlier for your next exam, we’ll show you how to study if you have to cram.

Whether you’re in matric or a tertiary student, cramming is not ideal. However, every once in a while we procrastinate, have bad time management or even forget about an upcoming test.  Don’t panic, we’ve got your emergency guide on how to study if you have to cram.

Girl sitting and reading. How to Study if you Have to Cram

How to Study if you Have to Cram

Cramming for one test is okay, it’s not the end of the world. We’ve all been there. While it’s not the best way to study, these techniques will save your marks. So make the most of your time by following our top tips on how to study if you have to cram. 

  • Try the 50/10 rule 
  • Steer clear of distractions
  • Focus on the main ideas
  • YouTube is your friend
  • Make flashcards
  • Use past papers
  • Study groups
  • Take care of your body

Try the 50/10 Rule

When cramming for a test, it doesn’t help to stay stuck behind the books for hours on end. There are many advantages to taking a break while studying. This is why we recommend the 50/10 rule. It involves studying for 50 minutes, resting for 10 and doing so on repeat. 

Steer Clear of Distractions

A ‘study bubble’ works best when you are trying to stay focused. This involves finding a quiet spot where you can revise your work. Stay away from loud televisions, and put your cell phone away. Technology is great, but digital distractions will sink your study session faster than the Titanic. 

File of work and notes. How to Study if you Have to Cram

Focus on the Main Ideas 

Here’s where paying attention in class really comes in handy. By now you know that there is no time to reread everything. So make your own study guide by taking the main parts of each chapter and grouping them together. Do this by first skim reading through the textbook and looking out for important dates, figures, terms, formulas, etc.

YouTube is Your Friend

Okay, this one requires a lot of discipline on your part. YouTube is filled with well-informed people who are good at explaining a lot of information in a short amount of time. But be careful not to get distracted. Make sure to only watch videos relevant to your studies or you’ll be wasting your own time if you don’t. 

Make Flashcards

This works best for any formulas or definitions you’re expected to know by heart. Cramming might not get you an A, but it can save you from failing. Learning these concepts is one of the easiest ways to earn marks in your test. Flashcards are great because they’re more mobile than a stack of notes. This means that you are able to use your time efficiently because you can study from anywhere. 

Use Past Papers

Past papers give you an exact layout of what you can expect when you sit down to write your exam. So be sure to do any practice tests given to you. Be honest with yourself when you mark these papers, it’s for your own good. Not doing well in certain sections simply means you have to spend more time studying them. It’s a good way to test what you already know. 

Study Groups

Some students learn more when they are able to interact with others. Does this sound like you? Then try to meet up (virtually or in-person) with classmates you can study with. If you think you’ll get too distracted, especially studying with friends, then rather avoid this tip. However, if you’re struggling with a specific section, it doesn’t hurt to ask a friend for help.

Take Care of Your Body

Having little time to study does not mean you should skip meals or give up on sleep. Make sure to eat healthy meals and snacks that give you energy such as fruits and nuts. You should also try to get as much sleep as possible. Having all the knowledge in the world means nothing if you’re falling asleep during that all-important exam.

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Study Courses That Make Cramming a Thing of the Past

There’s no need to cram when you study with us. Our ICB Courses give you the opportunity to postpone your exams if you’re not yet ready to write. And our Short Courses don’t have exams at all! Sounds good? Well then go ahead and contact our course experts today. You can: 

  • Call us on: 0800 39 00 27 – It’s free!
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Last Updated: June 2, 2022

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tamsyn Gallie
Tamsyn Gallie
Tamsyn Gallie is a Junior Content Writer at Skills Academy. Her aim is to create content that is well-researched, educational and engaging. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, baking and anything that allows her to be creative. She is passionate about lifelong learning and believes it’s never too late to learn something new.