What's a bigger waste of time than procrastinating? Cramming. It seems counterintuitive: how can studying be a waste of time? It's not THAT you study, it's HOW you study.
Why doesn't cramming work?
Teachers have long hated cramming because students who cram do not retain the material long-term. However, long-term retention is not important for college prep exams. For example, if you get a good score on the SAT, you're only going to take it once and probably won't need the information again.
You should hate cramming for another reason: you can't really apply what you reviewed to the test. Why not? Cramming is essentially memorizing a large amount of information shortly before an exam. That's a good idea if the information is asked exactly as it was presented or in a similar form. On the SAT, GMAT, and the other tests, you won't be asked the same questions, see the same math problems, or read the same passages. These tests rely on your ability to analyze questions and think critically for which, unfortunately, there is no easily memorizable concept.
How you should study
1. Set a manageable study schedule and stick to it. Even one hour a day helps.
2. Focus on understanding HOW to do the problem, not just finishing the problem. Quality rather than quantity is important when sharpening your analytical and critical thinking skills.
3. Correct problems you got wrong by reworking them or going back to reading passages to understand why your answer is wrong and why the correct answer is right.
4. Take a look at one of our previous posts to learn How to Use Practice Tests (the Correct Way).
5. Form a study group with friends. A study group will not only be a good place to exchange ideas, it will help you keep your studying on track.
6. Work with APPLY ME so you will be held accountable. We will set a schedule for our sessions that we will stick to. We'll go over homework and make sure you maximize you're studying.
Don't let this happen to you...say no to Red Bull and No Doze!