Why Studying by Cramming is Counterproductive
This is a well-known scenario. The day before a significant calculus exam, for whatever reason, you haven’t studied (short on time, too many other exams packed into the same day, etc.). You finally get down to review the mathematics materials around 10 o’clock. Six hours later, you take a little “nap” before racing to school. The exam seems to go well when you take it. Even though you didn’t give it your all, you get the job done and swear never to do it again.
This is referred to as cramming. Although parents, teachers, and kids have long recognized its shortcomings, there are times when it can be somewhat effective. And to some extent, it could keep your GPA from dropping. Cramming, however, does not result in long-term learning.
Exam results might be significantly impacted by studying excessively. It will be effective in terms of performance on a test that is given immediately after cramming. Although it gives students the sense that it works, it only has a transient effect. After that, there is a sharp increase in forgetting rates. This is particularly difficult in subjects like math or language when onae lesson lays the groundwork for the next.
The consequences of constant procrastination and cramming are easy to envisage. There are more drawbacks to cramming than forgetting most of what you learned. Researchers have shown that skipping sleep when studying all night also results in ongoing academic issues the following day.
Spacing out Your Learning
Research dating back over a century demonstrates that repeated study increases memory retention. Even better long-term memory is produced when you study for a while before pausing before studying again.
A pupil will encode knowledge in the same way when they read anything in a book and instantly review it.
However, children will absorb knowledge better and retain it for a longer time if they can encode it in various ways. This implies that studying the same content in two distinct places can help individuals encode it in various ways, making learning more effective. This is also why online learning, such as grade 12 online courses in Ontario, is so effective. Many of these online courses can be done on your own time, with fewer time restrictions than a physical classroom.
Another hypothesis is that the impacts of recall on long-term learning are stronger the harder it is for our brain to remember things. For instance, if you meet someone new at a conference, you might remember their name immediately, but that won’t help you remember it the next day. A better possibility of remembering the person’s name a day or a week later exists if you need to remember it an hour into the meeting and manage to do so.
Changing It Up
Even though the spacing effect sounds like a lot of waiting around to review material, recent studies have shown the advantages of combining various topics while learning. The process of working on or studying one skill for a brief time, switching to another, perhaps a third, and then returning to the first is known as interleaving.
A test was conducted for nine middle school classrooms teaching algebra and geometry in 2015. The students who had interleaved their training scored 25% higher than those who received normal instruction a day following the unit’s last lesson. The interleaving group increased by 76% a month later.
There is a lesson in this for both teachers and pupils. Teachers can spend a brief time on a topic, go on to others, and then return to the earlier topics rather than teaching a topic in a block and moving on to the next.