A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Procrastination and Cramming

Procrastination provides only momentary satisfaction – the long-term effect is stress and pressure.  While you think you may work best under pressure, the last minute efforts result in lower quality work.

Procrastination Leads to:

  • Frantic completion of assignments – usually at a lower quality
  • Marathon catch-up sessions – resulting in stress and panic
  • Hurried cramming – resulting in temporary memory
  • Leaving out important details

Conquering Procrastination

  • Analyze your excuses
    • Do your reasons for procrastination fall into a pattern?
    • Can you catch yourself as you begin to make an excuse to postpone work?       
  • Break all large assignments into a series of manageable steps.
                                 
    •  Complete one mini-step before attempting the next.
    • Incorporate these mini-steps into your study schedule.
  • Follow the same plan for all major exams.
    • Break large amounts of material to be studied into manageable chunks.
    • Plan 2-3 weeks ahead of an exam and use 20-30 minutes blocks of time daily for study. 
  • Realize that change will not occur overnight.
    • Reward yourself every time you complete something on time.

Cramming involves frantic, last-minute – and sometimes all night—memorization.  In cramming you “rent” information rather than “own” it for long periods of time.  This is the least effective method of practice as information is superficially processed and only temporary.

Students who have studied all night for an exam are at a disadvantage

They are:

  • Tired
  • Nervous
  • Know very little
  • Have had little practice at recall and application
  • Have little chance at remembering much
  • Probably hungry

Should you Need to Cram

  • Limit what you try to learn – be selective and learn the large chunks, important information, and essential factors.
  • Recite instead of re-reading – it’s too late to re-read.  Your hope in passing comes in mastering the few facts you have in front of you – don’t try and find more.
  • Limit your study to 10 condensed class note pages and 10 condensed textbook note pages.
  • Recite, recite, and recite those limited class notes and textbook notes.