(Posted April 2023)

Everyone has crammed for a test at least once in their life, either because they completely forgot about it or procrastinated until the last minute. Cramming may be how many students choose to study, but is it actually effective?

What Is Cramming?

Cramming is a method of study that requires students to literally cram as much information in before their exams as possible. It usually happens when studying for a test or exam, such as a PEP Module Exam, is put off until the last minute, whether because of a busy schedule or procrastination. Students spend hours memorizing as much of the required material as possible when in reality, it should take them days or weeks to learn and understand the concepts. 

Why It Could Work

Cramming right before an exam can be an effective way (in theory) for students to remember information in the short term. You can often retain that information just long enough to take an exam. However, there is not usually a lasting connection to the knowledge. Students who cram cannot retain the information long enough to actually gain a deep understanding of the concepts. Just enough is remembered until a student who crammed walks out of an exam and immediately forgets it all. 

Why It Doesn’t Work

Cramming is the least effective way to actually learn and understand a topic. Research has found that students who cram cannot recall much of the information they just memorized. The learning process is undermined because the student has only trained their brain to recite information without actually understanding it. 

There are many negative impacts that cramming can have on a student overall. When a student tries to cram information hurriedly in hopes of getting a good grade, their stress levels rise dramatically. It is extremely difficult to concentrate when your brain is under stress, making preparing for an exam even more difficult. Additionally, cramming is likely done the night before, leading to the student trading in sleep for a cramming session. 

Develop Effective Study Skills

Instead of cramming, develop techniques to effectively study for the PEP Module Exams with retention of information for future modules and the CFE. A great technique that has been found to be most effective for many students is called “spaced learning.” Spaced learning is when students review the material over a long period of time. This gives their minds time to form connections between ideas and concepts. This knowledge can be built upon and easily recalled later. Moreover, students who do this are more likely to understand the knowledge and gain a meaningful learning experience fully and make studying a less stressful experience.

When it comes to preparing for the PEP Module Exam for the Core and the Elective modules, gain an EDGE by using Densmore’s Core and Elective courses to master your case writing skills and move on to the next stage of your CPA journey.