Cramming before exams is a bad idea.
Exam season is now upon us again, and hundreds of thousands of students across the country will be sitting up late at night desperately cramming last minute information in the vain hope that it will somehow result in a better grade. However studies have shown that this method is not a sensible way to revise, and students who sensibly timetable their workload will have a much greater chance of success.
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Long sessions of cramming are totally inefficient
It is much more efficient to do a small amount of revision over a larger period of time than it is to cram it all into one or two days of full on intensive study. George Turnbull, an exam doctor for ofqual (the office of the qualifications and examinations regulator) states that "students who plan long four-hour study slogs to soak up knowledge are only fooling themselves. Such marathon efforts result in 'only 10 minutes' actual work being done". He suggests that it is better for students to "Start with the 10 minutes you know you will do. Then have a 10-minute break and start again." [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8059860.stm]] and that over a period of five days the amount of time worked in between breaks will increase.
Creates a culture of doing enough to pass exams that actually aquiring knowledge
As there are so many exams nowadays, students are becoming very good at gaining enough knowledge to pass exams, but are not actually retaining the knowledge. 48% of students under 24 have admitted to using cramming techniques to get through exams [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8059860.stm]] and that a has suggested that 40% [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8059860.stm]] of successful British students would fail the same exam a year later as they would not have retained enough knowledge.
Danger of burnout
As discovered through experience, cramming for exams is a stressful experience, and is one of the few times when time flys when you are certainly not having fun. People stay up late and work incredibly long hours over a fairly short period of time, which means that by the time a student gets to the exam, they are so tired that the extra information that may have been gained through cramming becomes worthless.
One can only hold so much at 1 time that the more you try and "stuff" you brain with all this knowledge, the harder it gets.
Say your brain is a cup. The knowledge is water. Take your 2L Jug of water and try and put it in a cup. Will the cup hold the 2L of water? Of course not, it'll overflow.
Think of a machine. Your brain is a machine. If the machine works too long, it will overheat. The parts will burn and It will no longer be functional, or it won't function as good.
Awesome short term memory
Awesome short term memory being better than long term memory means cramming is a far superior method over working hard over a long and sustained period of time, as the likelihood of forgetting things over a longer period of time is much higher than forgetting things over the short term.
-----^ You wrote in the wrong section.
In some cases it is unavoidable
For students who are not lucky enough to have their university fees paid for by parents, or for mature students who study part time, the needs of studying have be balanced against work place commitments. Therefore it may be the case that a person just does not have enough time to spend a couple of hours every night for a week to pursue studying, therefore a quick burst of revision is the only way in which they can possibly get round to passing exams.
Passing the exam is the objective of revision
Although the pursuit and gathering of knowledge is important, for most students it is the qualification that is most important in terms of getting the career that they studied for. Whilst going to university to expand your knowledge base is important, the main objective for most is to gain the qualification that will help set them apart in the job market.
Different techniques suit different people
People can conduct as many studies as they want, but for revision it all comes down to what people feel most comfortable with, and if a student feels that last minute studying is likely to make them feel like they are revising better, then nobody can tell them that their technique is the wrong one.
How a student feels about an exam does not necessarily lead to better results. Studies don't have to be done for one to say that more revision should lead to a better result in the exam, whether or not doing more revision leads to more stress immediately before the exam (as does often occur for high-achievers).
What do you think?