How to cram for your exams without losing your mind

Everyone has an opinion on cramming. Some think it's a really helpful tool, others think it's a bad habit. Some think it will help them secure their dream grades right at the last minute, others think it might muddle their brain. 

Maybe it's time to give cramming a makeover and start thinking about it as the natural end to the revision cycle. Let's be honest, students that revise from January are very likely to still use cramming as part of their final exam preparation in the same way as last-minute-learners. 

So, if you've got to the cramming stage, don't get flustered! Follow our top cramming hacks to boost your revision. 

Create flashcards - the ultimate cramming tool

  • Cramming enables your brain to store the information you need to know for the exam into your short-term memory. Flashcards are a great way to help you to store the essentials in your mind.
  • You'll learn and memorise the information simply by creating the flash cards from your more detailed notes.
  • By making this kind of personal revision tool you'll also be making big decisions on what should be included in your flashcards.
  • Making informed decisions like these are a key part of the revision process and will also help your brain to process and store this information.

Create your own flashcards here with TSR's tool 

Combine your flashcards and test yourself

  • Combine all of your sets of flashcards for multiple subjects and test yourself at the same time to help train your short-term memory to pull out the information it needs to answer the question nice and quickly.
  • It will give your brain a workout that will put you in good stead for timed exam conditions.
  • Doing these short self-managed revision tests will help you to identify your knowledge gaps and ensure you really have got to grips with the content of the subject syllabus.

Did you know TSR has a bank of other people's flashcards? Use them here 

Use past exam papers as inspiration

  • Allow your flash card content to be inspired by past exam questions.
  • Use one side to write down an example question and note down the key points as bullet points that you would need to include in your answer on the other side. Then revise from these flash cards.
  • This is another great way of having to locate information under timed conditions as well as feeling confident that you have prepared yourself for any question that may come up

Find the past papers for your subject, level and exam board here 

Learn the key phrases examiners want to read

  • Make sure you revise key phrases that you'll be able to use as part of your exam answers.
  • If you're feeling uneasy about this speak to your teacher about the kinds of phrases and information examiners like to see included.
  • You can also refer to the previous year's Chief Examiner's Report for extra tips.
  • Add these to your flashcards or write them on Post-it notes and stick them up around your room reading them out loud.

How to use past papers to ace your exams 

Flashcard with the flow

  • Cram at your own pace in whatever way works for you.
  • If you like to read through your notes the night before, the morning of the exam, or two minutes before you go into the exam hall: do it.
  • As your exams progress you'll understand what works best for you.
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