12 Tips on How to Avoid Cramming

How to Avoid Cramming

Do you spend the night before a test trying to learn everything you possibly can before the sun comes up? If so, you may be used to the stress and panic of cramming. Cramming leaves you feeling drained and unable to retain all the necessary information. 

If you find yourself cramming your work and wishing wistfully for better results, fear not! We’ve compiled our top 12 tips on how to avoid cramming to help you improve your time management, productivity and get those high results you want. 

Let’s look at cramming in more detail.

What is Cramming? 

Cramming is when a person tries to learn large amounts of information quickly, usually just before a deadline or a test. Cramming involves an intense period where a person will attempt to take in as much information as possible to remember it for a test or project. 

Cramming is usually stressful and can cause you to feel overwhelmed and mentally drained, which can get in the way of your performance on the day of your test. Cramming may last a few hours or all night, depending on how long you give yourself to soak up as much information as possible. 

Students may procrastinate their homework or exam preparation and have to cram the information the night before. This is also known as student syndrome. One study shows that 99% of students admit to cramming for tests or assignments, reflecting how common it is. 

What Causes Cramming? 

Cramming is related to poor time management and various other reasons. To avoid cramming, it’s essential to recognize and understand the causes, and from there, you can take positive steps to become more productive. 

Let’s take a look at some common causes of cramming:

  1. Procrastination. When a person procrastinates, they fail to manage their time effectively. 
  2. Poor time management. If a person has poor time management, they often fail to prioritize their time and leave everything until the last minute. 
  3. Fear of failure. If a person is a perfectionist and fears failing, they may find themselves avoiding tasks due to the anxiety and stress they cause.  
  4. Ineffective study habits. Unproductive habits like skim reading and memorizing information without taking it in may result in the need for last-minute cramming.
  5. Time constraints. Students may feel like they don’t have enough time, so they’ll cram at the last minute. 
  6. Pressure. If a person feels pressure to meet a certain standard, they may attempt to cram as much information as they can.

Cramming occurs for various reasons, and it’s different for everyone. Recognizing why you cram is a good start to overcoming it, and you can put measures in place to help you use your time more effectively.  

12 Tips on How to Avoid Cramming  

Cramming the night before an important test can be stressful and overwhelming, and you may not be able to produce good quality work. Following and incorporating our twelve tips into your daily life will help you stop procrastinating on homework and become more productive when studying. 

Here are our top 12 tips on how to avoid cramming: 

  1. Create a study schedule
  2. Set your priorities 
  3. Study each day at a time
  4. Make time for breaks
  5. Practice with sample questions
  6. Revise the night before 
  7. Study at your most productive time of the day
  8. Make studying interesting
  9. Start early
  10. Get enough sleep
  11. Set realistic goals 
  12. Minimize distractions

Let’s take a look at these tips in further detail:  

  1. Create a study schedule 

By creating a study schedule for work, you can organize your time, track your progress, and plan to avoid cramming at the last minute. Allocate specific times to study, and it’ll ensure you cover a wide range of information over time instead of all at once the night before. 

  1. Set your priorities 

By identifying the task or subject that is the most important, you can allocate plenty of time to ensure you cover everything you need to know. Some topics have more importance than others; for example, you may want to prioritize math and English over a subject like art.

  1. Study each day 

Rather than leaving everything until the last minute, make time every day leading up to your test. Studying each day in the run-up will help to lower your stress levels as the need for last-minute cramming will lower, and you’ll be in a more consistent habit. 

  1. Make time for breaks 

Incorporate short breaks in your study time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Research has shown that taking regular breaks between 5-60 minutes will increase your brain’s ability to focus and refresh your mind, so give your mind time to rest, recharge, and relax.

  1. Practice with sample questions  

Practicing with sample questions is an effective way to study as it prepares you for the test format and helps you pinpoint areas you’re struggling with. Looking at past test papers and working through various questions and formats will prepare you for your final exam, as you’ll feel more able to tackle it. 

  1. Revise the night before 

Trying to learn, understand, and remember new information the night before can be overwhelming and ineffective. Instead, spend the night before a test reviewing the information you’ve already covered to solidify it in your mind. This will reinforce what you already know and be fresh in your mind for the test. 

  1. Study at your most productive time of the day 

We all have different productivity cycles; understanding this and using it to your advantage will benefit your studying. You may find it easier to focus in the morning, so prioritizing the most critical tasks and working on them when you feel productive, will benefit your test. If you don’t know your productivity cycle, you can track it for a week and see what works best for you. 

  1. Make studying interesting 

Find creative and exciting ways to study to keep yourself focused and motivated. Use visuals, watch videos, and gamified or interactive tools to help retain information. If you create ways to make studying more enjoyable and less boring, you’ll be able to concentrate for longer, and the information will stick in your brain with positive connotations. 

A study found that almost 90% of instructors believe game-based studying improves students’ motivation. Game-based learning or a more exciting way to study can positively impact your results.   

  1. Start early

Avoid procrastination and cramming by studying early and before essential tests. If you start early, you can cover a wide range of information, knowledge and use your time effectively by prioritizing any areas you may struggle in. If you give yourself ample time, you can return to information and revise material more than once. 

  1. Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential as it helps you remain focused and increases your concentration. Ensure you get enough sleep, as it’ll help with your memory and motivation, and you’ll avoid feeling burnt out or drained. 

According to a study, lack of sleep can cut your learning ability by 40%, highlighting the importance of a good night’s sleep. The study states how sleep deprivation can negatively impact your memory and brain function, which will affect your test. 

  1. Set realistic goals 

If you set clear and realistic goals for yourself, you’ll feel more motivated and productive as you achieve them. Break tasks up into smaller, more manageable tasks and put goals in place to give you a clear focus. As you reach the goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement that will spur you on in your studies. 

  1. Minimize distractions 

Social media, TV, or a busy environment may hinder your productivity and cause you to procrastinate. Find a quiet place or set aside time to focus on the task without distractions. Without distractions, you’ll be more productive and able to concentrate. 

Researchers have found that even the sight of a mobile phone distracts students from studying. Phones distract students and hinder their focus, so setting some time away from your phone may benefit your productivity. 

Cramming and procrastination are challenging habits to break, but following our tips will make you more motivated to use your time effectively. Find methods that work best for you, and incorporate them into your daily life to help you lower your stress levels, increase your focus and help you achieve better results. 

Stop Your Cramming Habit With Virtue Map! 

Virtue Map is an anti-procrastination app designed to help you unlock your potential, increase your productivity and transform your life. With advanced features, helpful tools, and insider insights, Virtue Map kickstarts your journey to self-confidence and self-improvement for a more motivated and accomplished life. 

Check out the positive Virtue Map reviews to see others who have crushed their procrastination habit, conquered their cramming, unlocked their exceptional focus, and achieved their dreams. 

By adopting effective study habits, using your time effectively, and planning with plenty of time to prioritize your work, you’ll be able to increase your focus, motivation and avoid cramming at the last minute. Set realistic goals, make time for breaks, and work around your productivity cycle and what works best for you. 


Does cramming for a test work?

While cramming for a test may work somewhat, it’s generally not an effective or productive study method. By cramming, you’ll have limited deep understanding, limited retention, increased stress, and an overload of information on your memory, causing overwhelm and potentially burnout. 

Why is cramming for a test not recommended? 

Cramming for a test isn’t recommended because of its negative impact on your mental health, the poor academic outcome due to a lack of deep understanding, and the limited time to prepare and revise thoroughly. 

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