Cramming is the practice of memorizing large amounts of materials in a short period of time. The following are illustrative examples.
Last Minute StudyCramming is often done at the last minute in the days before an examination or test. This may occur because a student has poor time management habits and leaves things until they absolutely must be done. Cramming in this way leads to a steep forgetting curve as you try to absorb a large amount of information in a short time without any later reinforcement. In other words, any knowledge you gain will likely to be completely forgotten within weeks. This is inefficient in the long run as you progress to more advanced work in the same subject but lack foundational knowledge.
Spaced Practice + CrammingSpaced practice is the process of studying the same materials many times in order to improve memory retention. This is productive due to the spacing effect whereby memory is improved when learning sessions are spaced out over time. It is common to combine spaced practice with cramming whereby the final cram session is mostly review. This improves test performance and flattens the forgetting curve such that knowledge is retained for a sustained period of time.
Cram SchoolA cram school is a school that offers intensive study designed to achieve a specific goal such as passing a standardized test. These schools typically focus on memorization using rote learning. They may also leverage spaced practice by reviewing materials repeatedly over the span of weeks or months. Cram schools are criticized as they are solely focused on getting students a good mark on a particular test as opposed to the pursuit of learning itself. Due to their intensive nature, they tend to destroy the joy of learning. Where cramming takes up too much time a student or entire society may neglect higher level learning processes such as experimentation, design thinking, systems thinking, divergent thinking, composition, free expression, social interaction, shared experience, acquisition of cultural capital, creativity, strategic thinking, applied game theory, calculated risk taking and play.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about studying.
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