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Cramming Doesn't Work

Cramming Doesn't Work

Every week, the Null dissects the most self-evident studies and pointless papers not to hit the headlines. It's harsh, but funny. This week, Andrew Impey knuckles down (for a change) and does some revision.

As students brace themselves for the start of the academic year once more, scientists have released some invaluable information for them: cramming doesn't work in the long term.

Teachers, tutors and lecturers must be over the moon. After all, it's not as though they've been telling their students this every year since exams began.

According to research carried out at the University of California, any information we try to stuff into our brains during a short, intensive revision session will seep back just as rapidly. Hence how a student can name every single bone in the skull before entering an exam, but wouldn't know a palatine from a Palestinian twenty minutes after they've finished.

The current study recommends that, to learn most effectively, pupils should return to a given topic at regular intervals, but not overexert themselves during any one session. However, students will continue to believe that, as long as a bit of last-minute revision can get them through a two-hour exam, cramming is the best strategy.

More studies of the bleedin' obvious:

- Blimey - Adults baby-talk to babies
- Well I never - Clothes can prevent sunburn
- You're kidding - Teens likely to be a bit lazy
- Coat me in batter and cook me for 40 minutes - The longer you spend in ambulances, the more likely you are to die

This article originally appeared in our regular column on the Daily Telegraph website.
Image: Colin Adamson

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13 May 2008
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