Cramming for an exam (and passing it) is the rite of passage that marks the transition from IB wannabe to IB survivor. In this post, I teach you the Art of the Cram in 7 steps to help you maximise your learning efficacy with the little time you have left.

5-minute Prep

1. Plan it out

The exam is tomorrow, stress levels are high, and your mind is as clear as a bowl of oats left untouched for too long. The first thing you need to do is plan out your remaining study time.

Get a piece of paper old-fashion-style, and list the core topics of your subject in order of priority. This plan will serve as an arrow to direct your limited time and energy.

2. Remove distractions

Switch off your internet. The harder it is for you to get distracted, the more focused you’ll be. This will save you hours of time which you otherwise burn on Facebook memes, Unilad and Instagram.

Now, clear your study table. A clean workspace is a reflection of your psychology. Keep bare minimum of materials on your desk. Nothing more, nothing less.


3. Keep it holistic.

When you’re cramming, you don’t have the luxury to learn the content to the required depth. First cover the basic components of each section, and then move onto the intermediate and advanced components only if you have more time. Holistic understanding of the entire course will always supersede a deep understanding of one or two topics.

4. Use worked solutions.

Worked solutions are seriously a god send, especially rote learning them.  It tells you exactly what the examiners want. Take note of any specific or odd comments/strategies they use: diagrams, definitions, etc. Replicate the style of the responses. Of course, don’t mindlessly copy the solutions like some walking undead. Try to make sense of each step.

5. Collaborate.

If you are having difficulty learning theory and finding that the time spent is just taking you on a merry-go-round, make use of your smart peers who are more prepared than you. Talk to them, request solutions or ask them to mark your work (in exchange for chocolate, of course).

6. A final brief review.

Give yourself some time at the end of the night…or day (if you’ve suddenly found that your good old coffee mug is your new best friend) to touch up all the subject content and any remaining papers. If you’ve been taking notes throughout the subject, briefly run through it all. Your subconscious mind can mull over the details during your sleep.

7. Sleep.

As a chronic crammer, my biggest tip of all is to get proper sleep. 9 hours, I find, is excellent. The less you sleep the more you can study… yes “study”. Keep in mind that you need to be able to think for your upcoming exam. Sleep improves your performance.

That’s all, hope this article gave you some more effective means in perfecting the art of cramming!