Are you the student who usually doesn’t know there’s a test until the day of? Or the student who stays up the entire night before a big exam to cram as much information into your brain as possible? If so, you’re not doing yourself a favor. You may think, “well I won’t need to know the quadratic formula after high school.” Being the student with this kind of attitude only sets yourself up for future failure.

Most teachers goals aren’t to have you necessarily remember the quadratic formula years down the road, but instead to help you learn overall, which does help your brain (believe it or not!)

Different classes help to focus on developing and challenging different parts of the brain. When a person crams material for a test, it is only stored in the short-term memory. The fast pace of trying to learn the material, doesn’t help it to stick well. This makes it hard to connect the new material with things you’ve learned in your previous long-term memory. Therefore, you don’t ever really learn the material you cram for. A simple way to put this is, you have to know what an apple is, before you understand the idea of an apple pie.

Next week is the week of final exams. If you’re a regularly disciplined student, who learns a small amount each class, final exam week should be a breeze for you.  However, many of us will feel overwhelmed with feeling the need to cram. The best advice is to not worry about what grade you will get on the exam, but focus on the need to learn the material. Fully understanding and knowing a few concepts is more rewarding than regurgitating tons of answers that you don’t actually understand. Learn a little each day, and don’t overwhelm/cram your brain 24 hours before an exam, then I’m sure you’ll see a difference in your grades and your anxiety. :)