How to Cram for a Test

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Joy C.
October 21, 2016

Blog / How to Cram for a Test

I really hope that you have a seriously good excuse as to why you didn’t study for this test. Because cramming is not something that I condone, but I happen to be good at it, so I’ll help you out this once. Cramming is an art that can be underdone or overdone. Most of the tests I’ve taken have been part of the College Level Examination Program and Dantes Subject Standardized Tests. CLEPs and DSSTs rely heavily on intuition and memorization. These two types of tests, which award college credit and are accepted by many colleges, allow you to study at your own pace in a self-study environment and  test out of the subject at any one of hundreds of testing centers across the country. You can either guess the answers to these tests fairly well based on context, or you can remember what you poured over during study time. If you were out of commission during study time though, due to exigent circumstances, and you don’t have much background information on the subject (making it hard to guess correctly) then you’ll be needing a few of these tips to spur you on towards success.

Cramming is an art that can be underdone or overdone.

1. Get Away

This is actually really important. If you’re down to the wire and really need to get this stuff into your brain quickly, then you need to run away from society for a bit. Find a room, table, or hole in the ground that you can run away to for however many days or hours you’re going to be cramming. It needs to be a place where you won’t be bothered. If you need someone to study with, then bring along another procrastinator who now needs to cram, but I wouldn’t suggest a much bigger group than that for a major cramming sesh.

2. Schedule

During my first year of college, on the Monday that I began studying a new subject I would write out a schedule for the topic I was about to study. I had figured out pretty early on that videos, reading, and review were the most effective methods of study for me, so I scheduled times for each of these. Whatever works for you needs to take priority. So be sure to schedule and cover each subject using your different study methods. Make sure to take breaks every few hours. Leave the room/location and chill for a bit however you want. If you get tired, take a quick nap. I used to stretch out on the floor in the library (where I studied), set an alarm for 30 minutes, and crash…I had a few staff members and teachers walk in on me, but whatever…

I’ve got 99 problems, and they’re all due Monday.

3. Method to the Madness

As I said before, videos, reading, and review are my bae. I hated class, written homework, and group projects (anything to do with people really…), so I completed the bare minimum for these or received permission to be exempt. This doesn’t mean it’s automatically a good idea for you though. First, figure out how you study best. If you’ve done any studying at all in your life, you should have a general idea. Don’t waste time using a method that is going to confuse or distract you.

4. Resources

There are many good resources for each learning style. Here are a few examples:

Books-

1. CLEP/DSST textbooks

2. Suggested textbooks (freeclepprep.org has book and article suggestions)

3. Wikipedia (wikipedia.org)

Videos-

1. Crash Course (On youtube.com, and great for a multitude of subjects.)

2. Study.com (study.com costs some mula, but is worth every penny if you’re going to be doing a lot of studying in a relatively short period of time.)

 

Don’t waste time using a method that is going to confuse or distract you.

Quizzes and Practice Tests-

1. Free Clep Prep (free-clep-prep.com has some great articles and a lot of free practice tests for both CLEPs and DSSTs.)

2. Quizlet (quizlet.com has a lot of great information and quizzes.)

3. CLEP/DSST textbooks (These usually have up to date practice tests.)

Tactile Learning-

1. Flashcards (Colorful cards and different colored pens work well to jog your memory.)

2. Timelines (Same goes for these.)

3. Highlighting (Any notes you happen to take in class can become instantly more memorable when highlighting with different colors.)

So there you have it, a cheat sheet to beat the heat. Make sure to get a good night’s rest before you take the test, and take some time to relax and chill the evening before you head in. No matter how little time you have be sure to be methodical, so your brain can fully comprehend the different parts of your study subject. Other than that, you should be set! I have passed many a test using these methods and resources. In fact, I earned 96 credits doing this…I just crammed for a week or two each time, not just a couple of days. Keep a cool head, go in, and if you don’t know what to choose, it’s always option C. Go, go, go!

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