Study strategies


in Oxford, Rants

Most of my fellow students will understand what I mean when I describe the point in time, before a test, when your strategy switches from that of best practice to that of last ditch defence. This is the point where studying (or revising, as it is called here) becomes cramming.

As a strategy, it’s not too bad. There will always be details that you cannot retain in the long term: because they aren’t interesting to you, because they are very specific, or because they just refuse to stick. The revising phase cements the major themes, concepts, and ideas that can be easily remembered in both the short and the long term. The cramming phase sprinkles the desperate remnants on top, where one hopes they will not be jostled off before the exam.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben April 9, 2006 at 1:57 pm

Studying here is what you’re doing for the whole two years. Do you have a more specific word for revising? Sure I have heard an Americanism, but can’t remember it…

Anyway, you’re right, there’s a lot to be said for cramming. Even the morning of the paper.

B April 9, 2006 at 2:05 pm

Cramming is not a last-ditch effort or something done exclusively by slackers. The Communist Manifesto was written in an overnight cram session as were numerous Bills of Parliament including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Acquiring the ability to focus and achieve things under pressure is valuable indeed.


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