Why Cramming Is Bad for Your Studies
We’ve all been there. Those moments when the test you thought was on a Thursday is really a Friday. That period of time when you decided haphazardly that you didn’t need to study for the exam when you could watch the new episode of “New Girl” instead, and so you showed up for school the next day with every intention of cramming for the quiz or exam five minutes before the bell. But then a buddy or a crush starts talking to you, and you couldn’t study if the fate of the world depended on it.
Snap out of it. Because in a way, the fate of your world depends on how you treat your studies. As the marketplace for jobs and industry becomes a global one, it is vital to have the kind of education that sets you at an advantage compared to the rest of the world. Cramming your brain with information that you’ll forget five minutes after the test is over may have worked 30 years ago. It may still even bail you out of a jam. But over the long term, it threatens to place you in a position where you’re left behind by the competition.
Here are a few reasons why cramming is bad for your studies:
1. You commit to short-term memory concepts that are meant for the long term.
When dealing with topics like chemistry or physics, the dangers of cramming to long-term education are undeniable. While some of the “lesser” subjects out there for which the job market is basically non-existent may allow you to “get by,” failure to understand a concept in algebra, economics or mechanical engineering will, no question, result in disaster to those educational and career goals.
Even if cramming gets you past the next test, it doesn’t mean you’ve learned a concept vital to the next chapter or that you’re ready to explore that concept deeper on a standardized test or college entrance exam.
2. You Learn Just Enough to Be Dangerous (to Yourself and Others).
Unfortunately, the worst thing that can happen is for you to make an A or B on such a test without true understanding because you think you’ve “got it” when in reality what you’ve learned was briefly committed to short-term memory and was gone the minute you regurgitated it for testing purposes.
Important concepts must, 100% of the time, be committed to long-term memory, or you’ll crash planes, build defective buildings, and make other poor choices. It’s the age-old question: would you rather the brain surgeon doing your operation have graduated at the top or bottom of his class? One day, you may be that brain surgeon.
3. You Create a Culture of Forgetfulness and Procrastination in Your Brain.
You have probably heard teachers say this a lot: “The world is a different place than it was XX number of years ago.” Broken record, right? Well, they keep saying it because it’s true. Twenty years ago, no one thought they could watch movies from the Internet. The general public didn’t even know the Internet was even possible, and those that did, probably didn’t fathom how quickly advanced it would become.
The world moves faster and stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. Not exactly the type of environment that encourages the forgetful procrastinator to succeed. But when one takes important things and trivializes them, that’s exactly what they become. And from there, it’s just one step to getting left behind.