Lisowski: Cramming can’t be good


Cramming for long bouts is an ineffective study habit.

Maximillian Lisowski, Editor

Is “cram time” really beneficial for students, or are we doing ourselves a disservice? 

When midterms and finals approach, social media accounts across Iowa State colleges litter their pages with promotional events encouraging students to cram before their exams. Often they offer free snacks, which every college student loves, and plan for three to four hours of strict study time. 

While these events do offer community, food and some fun, they should not be the end all be all when it comes to studying. Cramming often leaves students with a false sense of security and confidence when exam time comes around.

This is especially true when students do not take it upon themselves to study well in advance. Students who relied on cramming for their studying had poorer academic performance compared to those who had an organized study schedule, according to a study on learning strategies. 

Within the next couple of weeks, students will likely see these events pop up on their feeds. So, if you value your grade, consider hearing me out and taking the time now to study. Then, you can choose if you want to follow it up with a cramming session. I know that I’ve been extremely anxious about an exam in the past and thought cramming would make me feel better — it didn’t. 

Not only is cramming detrimental to performance in class, but it also encourages sitting down for hours on end without breaks. We have all heard stories about how we need to take breaks between study sessions, so maybe we should actually take them seriously. I’ve fallen victim to over-studying and could not tell you a thing that I “studied” the previous night. 

Three research professors in Austria suggested that students commit their break times to some sort of physical activity. According to the study, students who were active prior to returning to their studies were more attentive than those who sat during their breaks.

This increased attentiveness could foster a more productive study session and could help you push past your next writing assignment or math problem. 

Ultimately, I think it would be beneficial for Iowa State to promote many study events throughout the year. This will encourage students to form study groups, make new friends and increase students’ performance.

Cramming is not good. I urge you to take breaks while studying and maybe take a walk down the street. It could save your grade.