This post is a Smart Student Secrets members exclusive.
After writing post after post discussing how much you shouldn’t use cramming, you might get the mistaken impression that I have something deeply against cramming.
The truth is that I don’t really mind cramming. There are some negative consequences that come with it that need to be accounted for but the cram alone is not the problem. The big problem is the reliance on cramming.
The problem isn’t so much cramming. The problem is needing to cram in the first place.
If you have a halfway decent study routine (one that you actually follow through on) then you should not need to cram.
You should have had plenty of time to study what you had to study long before the night before the test.
If you’re not all prepared the night before the test then the cram isn’t your problem, it’s the weeks before the cram that are your problem.
I typically recommend not to cram if it gets to this point because it comes with major risks.
One risk is that you ruin any positive associations you have to studying.
It could take days to get back on a good study routine after that.
Another major risk is that you’ll end up letting yourself make the same mistake of not studying enough the weeks before the test because you know you have that safety net of the cram waiting to save your grade.
It’s sometimes better to take the hit in the ouchies and learn your lesson.
The concept of putting a ton of work in when you need it is actually something I greatly value. The cram just happens to be an example of that with negative consequences. I bring that up to get to show a contrast to the real point I’m trying to make.
There are days when you’re going to be working like crazy.
School work cycles together. All final projects in classes will be due around the same weeks. All midterm projects will be due around the same time. Right when things start to get busy, they’ll start to get even more busy. That’s the nature of the system.
There is no easy way around that.
Sure… sometimes you’ll luck out and be able to start a final project months before it’s due but most of the time teachers will be throwing you the details way too late in the year to let you get a head start.
When a lot of important work shows up in a single moment, that is a defining moment for you.
That is the moment most students will say, “I can’t do this.” They’ll slack off. At best, they’ll half-ass their work.
That is the moment when those students should be saying, “this is what I’ve been preparing for.” They could put extra time into their work and do a killer job on all of it because they’re not letting the stress define their productivity.
I believe in skipping low priority work (at least occasionally.)
The reason I believe in skipping low priority work because it’s letting you have the time you deserve. You should be able to slack off when the work barely means anything.
That being said, when the moment comes for you to start putting in a real effort, I highly recommend you find it in yourself.
Cyclical work is good.
When you know you’re only going to have to work hard for one or two weeks, those one or two weeks aren’t that bad.
When you’re polluting your time with low priority work, you’ll never know how good it can feel to push yourself for the stuff that really matters. You’ll be worn out before you even get the chance to start.
If you happen to be a gamer think about it this way: don’t go pummeling every enemy in sight. Save some health for the boss battles.
Study better immediately and not 6 months from now when the stars are all aligning
T had her head down staring at her grade. She’d kind of curled up the edges of the paper a little to casually hide the teacher’s red pen from the people in the chairs next to her. It was another disappointing grade and she just ran out of ideas.
So that afternoon, after class, she went up to the teacher and asked for some advice.
She got an answer – work hard. Study more. She politely responded but felt a little disappointed because she was sure that was what she was already doing.
But… she tried harder.
And a month later, she was staring back down at the same disappointing grade on her paper…
She thought she’d talk to the teacher and clarify how hard she was working. Then ask for advice.
The teacher responded that ‘you shouldn’t expect results so fast. It takes time.’
I agree with that teacher in some sense.
But in another sense, I want to throw him off a bridge. (Not a mortal fall. Just a scary, think-twice before saying that stupid thing again fall.)
Good studying shows instant results. NOW! Not 6 months from now. – for most classes… math has some complications but more than a month is too long to wait.
Maybe not in your final grade. But on the single assignment and test grades – results should be showing up.
If not, change something. (Even if it’s something small.)
To take it farther –
For some students, the second they stop studying using a Smart Student Secrets/Active Recall strategy, they can instantly feel the difference in knowledge. Instead of ending their study session worried, they end the session with confidence.
Results aren’t something that you should wait 6 months for.
You shouldn’t have to wait until everything goes perfect.
Are you ready for results?
That’s what I teach.
I’ll also send you some awesome freebies.
Write your email in the box. Check the confirmation you want emails. Confirm your email. And see for yourself.