Donald: Cramming 101

It’s time for your first big midterm. You’ve known the date of the exam ever since your professor reviewed your syllabus on the first day of class. In fact, she’s even brought up the date in class several times to remind you. She’s also warned that this is an exam you cannot begin studying for the night before. However, time has magically flown by and it’s the night before your exam. It’s extremely easy to panic in these situations, but as someone who has been in your shoes countless times before, here are a few tips:

Chose Snacks Wisely

If you’re up late at night, you’ll undoubtedly get hungry. And it’s super tempting to run to CityCo at 1 AM and grab your favorite chips. But if you’re going to be up late, remember that your body will respond to the foods that you put in it. Healthier snacks may not taste as great as Doritos, but they’ll give you the energy you’ll need to continue doing the readings that were assigned to you weeks earlier. Plus, they won’t make your crash the way junk foods do.

Chose A Good Study Spot

One of the biggest obstacles to studying can be choosing a bad spot. It’s really important that you take the time to learn about your studying habits and what works best for you. If you like nosier places, picking a spot in your dorm or in the GSU may be better than going to Mugar. Although it can be scary to go places alone, it’s definitely more important that you don’t study with friends who distract you.

Take Timed Breaks

When you’re cramming late at night, it can be easy to think that you can’t take any time to stop because you have a ton of information to learn. However, if you don’t take any breaks, you’ll easily burn out and not remember anything you’ve been studying. My best piece of advice is to set a timer and schedule 10 minute breaks every hour (or whatever intervals work best for you). If you time your breaks, you’ll prevent yourself from procrastinating for too long.

Remember to Sleep

It can definitely be overwhelming when it’s 4AM and your exam is only hours away. However, if you don’t sleep for at least a little, your brain won’t retain any of the information you’ve stayed up cramming. At a certain point in the night, it’s important to grab some shut-eye for at least a few hours so you’ll have the energy to get through the actual exam.


Lastly, yet probably the easiest to forget, is that it’s important to breathe while studying. Looking at the amount of information you have to remember can be scary and overwhelming. Yet, you’ll accomplish nothing if you just freak out about all of the things you have to do. When you find yourself panicking, pause and take a deep breath. Then just start reading one page at a time.

Obviously, the best way to avoid all of this is to actually begin studying before the very last minute. Yet, it happens to all of us sometimes, so just remember that you’ll get through it if you take everything one step at a time. Cramming is extremely stressful and no one loves it, but there is definitely an art to it that you’ll learn as a college student.

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