Why you shouldn’t cram: Applying the results of psychological research

Dr. Melody Wiseheart, Tina Weston, Audrey Wong-Kee-You, Vanessa Foot, Dr. Alice Kim

Although cramming is a popular study strategy, past research has shown that it is not effective for long-term retention of information. In fact, it is directly at odds with one of the most robust and replicable findings in experimental psychology – the spacing effect. The spacing effects refers to the finding that repeated exposure to information is more effective for learning when it is spaced apart compared to when it is massed together. Thus, given the same amount of time dedicated to studying, students can enhance their learning achievement by organizing their study time to avoid cramming. In this panel, we will discuss the spacing effect and the research we have conducted on it in classrooms and simulated classrooms across different age groups.