Cramming can be defined as the activity of studying intensively over a short period of time just before an examination. Almost all of us have done it. Pulling an all nighter just the night before the examination, trying to study as much as possible in as little time as possible, squeezing in topics and revising questions here and there, fueled with coffee, tea and maggie noodles.
I’ve seen people do it, and I wonder how they can keep up with it. I, for one, have never crammed for an examination like that. It’s not that I don’t think education is important, I just try to plan better and get a good night’s rest before the big day. I’ve gone to an examination feeling sickly and miserable, and you know what? It wasn’t good at all. Maybe cramming is just not my cup of tea.
But for the mighty stallions that regularly pull this stunt off, all is not flowers and sunshine. Doing this once or twice is fine but pulling off regular all night cram sessions during the exam/assignment season can seriously hamper one’s chances not only in the exam but in matters of health too.
Let me provide an example. A very good friend of mine had a very important thermodynamics test to take, passing which would mean good marks on the internal assessment which would make it easier to pass the external exam. This dude, realizing the importance of the test, studied hard, all night, and decided to reward himself with a power nap a couple of hours prior to the test. Guess what? He slept through the test, had bad internal test marks and went on to fail the externals as a result. Did cramming do him any good? I’ll let you decide that.
Now, even when one is awake and in the exam hall, a sleep deprived student is much less likely to recall the answers than a fresh one. One needs to understand that while studying so much might seem good, a lot also depends on what you retain in your brain. If you try to ‘cram’ too much information at once, the brain just can’t take all of it thus defeating the very purpose of cramming to begin with.
Another thing to consider here is the health ramifications of such a maverick lifestyle. Students who cut corners on sleep often adopt unhealthy eating habits. In most cases, college students subsist on empty-calorie, high-fat snack foods that don’t provide enough energy to function effectively (cue, the maggie noodles and sugary coffee). Furthermore, a change in schedule also leads to change in hunger habits, which makes people eat odd things at odd times, which can be very detrimental to one’s fitness and health.
Yet still, as far as students are concerned, nothing is more important than getting good marks while procrastinating till the last possible time. A lot of students do this on a regular basis and actually go on to do very well on the tests. Also, once college is over, they too revert back to a normal lifestyle and fall into a pattern. So maybe it is not all that bad.
Hence, in conclusion, while cramming for an examination may seem like a great idea to enjoy most of your days and still get good marks on tests, it really is not everyone’s cup of tea. One should be aware of the consequences of what could happen in the short term (like falling asleep during the exam) and long term (erratic hunger patterns) and decide for themselves whether they want to plan their regular lives better to include more studying time or just cram everything up in one night.