What is the best study method? To cram or not too cram?

  1. I have my first Microbiology test on Wednesday and of course I am nervous as usual. I have always studied days before the exam and I for some reason can NEVER get better than between a 75 and 80 on all of my exams. I feel like I know the material pretty well but for some reason I blank out during the test. I have thought about cramming before the exam but I do not know if I will have enough time because I have school until 9:30 every night before the exam. By the time I finish with dinner, shower, and getting ready for the next day it is passed 11 and pretty much time for bed.

    I want to get 90's on some of these exams but for some reason it never happens. Could cramming be an option? Maybe if I burst study I will retain the information better? How important is sleep the night before an exam?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   BeccaznRN
    A thread was just started about this topic:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f50/stud...ht-204243.html
  4. by   WDWpixieRN
    With that kind of time frame, it doesn't sound like cramming is a good option for you....I always made tons of notes in a Word document on a regular sized piece of paper, then folded it up and took it with me in my purse...I would constantly review it when I had free time at the doctor's office, in line at the store, on a break from work....just over and over and over....particularly when it is material that is more about memorization than the critical thinking skills that we now have to use in NS (ugh!)....cramming definitely does NOT sound like a good idea for you!!

    Good luck!!
  5. by   onduty23
    i cram my way through nursing school. i recommend you not to go that route. i been during it for years. but the thing is the night before the test i get no sleep and i get serious anxiety realizing that i wont be able to read the material be cause i started studying so late. lazyness to read early is the reason i cram. if i had to do it again i would read early and not cram because the stress before the test was too much for me. lucky i never failed a nursing class and i got my degree. but even thou i did cram i did know the material better than most of my class lol
  6. by   HeartsOpenWide
    When I was in micro I got all A's and I crammed mostly. Now that I am in nursing school I still cram (l am taking a break from it right now) but I also study everyday so its not just making sense the night before. You do not absorb things as much when you cram. My micro teacher however made everything make sense the first time around so all I had to do was a little cramming before tests. I think it depends on your teacher. I did not read a page of my Micro book but but have a serious intimate relationship with my nursing books.
  7. by   HM2VikingRN
    I vote for the do something every day approach. Cramming is occasionally inevitable but reading ahead improves your acquisition of psychomotor skills during training.
  8. by   pyrolady
    To retain information for testing you must first UNDERSTAND the information - NOT memorize it. There is a difference. Please try thinking through the information in a logical manner where one thing follows or leads to another. Cramming means memorize - memorize means higher chances of forgetting. Understanding the process and subject matter of what it is you are studying means you have learned it. Once you understand, your grades will go up. Also - HOW do you take a test? You should typically sit AWAY from where everyone has to walk through to get out of the room (ie: sit in front far corner, not back row by exit). When you sit where you can see people leaving it increases your anxiety because you think they have all finished, they are brilliant and you are not (they probably didn't know most answers and so gave up faster perhaps?), and you should be done. Also, don't enter the room until lthe last possible minute (or go in, put something on the seat you want and leave - enter to sit down later). Why? Because everyone is anxious and talking to each other about thoughts on this and that and what will stick in your mind is the last comment you heard about a possible question / subject and it may be the wrong information - but you won't be able to get rid of the thought. Wear a little perfume on your wrist and when you get anxious smell it - it will relax you (ummm, if you're a guy you are on your own!). Make study cards and carry them with you at all times - review them at stop signs, in the park, wherever you may be. Take information in at a leisurely pace whenever possible (ie: always review your notes after class - perhaps retype them in a more orderly fashion for easier understanding). STOP studying after a certain time the night before the test. Put the books away and don't touch them again before the test. If you don't understand and know it by that time, you won't get it. Better luck on the next test - hope this helped !! GOOD LUCK....
  9. by   Kathyz
    I vote "No" for cramming. Too much stress and you may run out of time.
  10. by   MB37
    I am a reformed crammer. I'm still only in my last semester of prereqs, but I took micro a couple semesters ago. When I got my first degree, I rarely cracked a book until 2-3 days before an exam, and that was if I was lucky. I pulled several 30-40 hour study sessions, washing my vivarins down with coffee. I was working 30 hrs/wk, going to school full time, and trying to maintain a way too active social life. I'm also one of those people who feel like they need good grades, and I graduated with a 3.6. So cramming can work as far as getting decent grades is concerned, but I honestly remember almost nothing now from four years of school (graduated 6 years ago, but still). I decided to go for nursing 2 years ago, and decided to change my ways. I read all my chapters before class, go to every class if possible, take detailed notes, and then I'm already halfway done. I start actually studying about a week before an exam, taking my own notes on the material and/or making flashcards. If we have any review questions or a detailed outline, I'll type out the answers to all of those...then for an 8:30 exam I go to bed at 11. I get up at 6:15, shower, drive to a Denny's by school, and have breakfast and coffee while I go over all my info one last time. I learm better on a full stomach, and the crammer in me still wants to review right before the exam. I do think that seeing it one last time helps me with recall, but generally I already know it all by that point. And no, I'm not a morning person, but I do what works. I have a 4.0 since returning to school. The key is not to rely only on cramming, I think. Good luck to you!!
  11. by   shoegalRN
    Do not cram. I crammed through my AS and I'm now in nursing school and it does not work. You need to actually understand the material and know it to apply it to the next class. Nursing school is different. It's not like you will be taking classes you don't need to just fulfill a requirement and forget everything you learned. You will need to know everything from every class to apply it to the real world. So far, I've passed both of my tests in nursing school thus far. And I did it by studying each and every day.
  12. by   Race Mom
    Tonight it is to CRAM! for a test at 11, then get home from school and CRAM! for another test the next day at 11!!!!! Terrible week, ughhhh.

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