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30 Days to Better Grades: Day 23 – Don’t Cram

Better Grades - Don't Cram

How many times has your child brought a study guide home the night before the test? Does it drive you nuts? Teachers who send a study guide home the night before a test are encouraging a bad study habit: cramming.

Some people swear by cramming. They insist that waiting until the last minute provides a sense of immediacy that helps them retain more information and thereby perform better on the test. While this strategy may provide short-term benefits, it does not promote long-term learning or retention. Acquiring knowledge requires building on a history of facts and information.

Thankfully your child is already studying every night—there’s no such thing as “no homework,” remember? That gives them a leg up. But even if your child brings a study guide home the night before the test, don’t tackle it in one setting. Take breaks during studying to allow the information to sink in. Think of studying as a gentle rain instead of a roaring flood. Information needs time to soak into the mind instead of overwhelming it and running off. Hold one last short review right before bed; your child is more likely to wake up remembering the last thing he or she heard.

Today’s Task

Never cram for a test. Study over the course of several days and take frequent breaks.

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