We all know we're not supposed to cram. Our parents told us, our teachers told us... heck, our bodies even told us at 3 in the morning when we were up studying for a test. But something our parents and teachers never covered (and our bodies only hinted at) was WHY we shouldn't cram. Inquiring minds would like to know, so here we go!
It's bad for you
Cramming is bad for you. It's as simple as that. It's really hard on your body. Think about it: you are staying up late, under a high amount of stress, fueling yourself on chemicals and caffeine, getting up, fueling yourself with more chemicals and caffeine and stressing out on the way to take the test or turn in a paper. How could that be anything other than harmful for your body?
You won't remember
One big disadvantage of cramming is that stuff doesn't stick. You simply won't remember things you cram for. Oh, you might remember stuff during the test - you might - but none of that will stick more than a day or two. If you jam stuff into your head, it starts to run out as soon as you let up on the pressure. Your brain works much better on a "drip system" - you want to put stuff in slowly and consistently for maximum benefit. That's why you don't want to cram. You put stuff in gradually, over the course of a week or two leading up to a test. That way, you remember it, it makes sense and it doesn't get all scrambled up in that gray blob in your head.
You won't do as well
Let's face it - you never do as well if you cram. Yeah, some people can get away with it. They cram like crazy and manage to pull off a passing grade or even a good one. But imagine if they actually put the time in and studied for real? They'd invariably do a lot better.
Not only that, but cramming for every test will inevitably come up short and you'll fail. Trust me, there are few things more miserable than cramming all night for a test and failing anyways.
You never want to cram. Ever. It's pretty much always a bad idea. But there are times when you just can't help yourself. Or maybe you could and you just got a little lazy. Point is, sometimes you do cram. It's important to realize what you're doing to yourself and your body and try to minimize the damage. If you must cram, cram smart, not hard, and take care of your body. Your brain lives there, after all.