Myth 4: You need to cram a lot of information to pass the exams
One of my colleagues told me a funny story of how on the last day of his Bar Final Exams, he was seated in the hall waiting for the exam papers to arrive, and suddenly realised he could barely remember anything in the course he was about to take (i.e. the Professional Skills and Ethics exam). In desperation, he turned to the person seated beside him and asked, “Do you know any of the RPC rules”? “Yes, I know a few….”, she responded. “Oya, start telling me the ones you know, please…” he pleaded. Quite fortunately, the exams didn’t turn out bad for him, and he made a 2:1. It may have been a different story if his brain had gone on recess after the exam papers had arrived.
The brain is like a supercomputer that processes tons of data every second of your conscious existence.
Cramming is an unnatural method of study/revision which leaves a student having all the required information available in their short-term memory, but really knowing nothing about it. Which is why sudden panic or mild fatigue can cause all of it to be lost. It irks me that teachers in the classroom encourage and many times even compel students to cram.
Think about it, how are you able to effortlessly able to recall things you were taught in early childhood without trying hard to?
The brain is able to retain and reproduce information it receives naturally when required. It’s like a supercomputer that processes tons of data every second of your conscious existence. Think about it, how are you able to effortlessly recall things you were taught in early childhood without trying hard to? It’s because learning then was less of a harrowing experience and was done without the ominous fear of exams or questioning your ability to recall what you were taught. And that’s how the most effective learning takes place, in natural and stress – free conditions. The brain is well equipped to store and recall information, you only need to trust its ability to function properly.
There are many methods of learning that are viable substitutes for cramming. For instance, associative learning, metacognition, and critical thinking (These methods would be discussed in a future blog post). Memory devices such as mnemonics and rhyme may also prove useful.
In the final analysis, what you learn now is what you’ll be taking with you into the profession. Would you want to be clueless about the basics just a week after a 3-hour exam, or would you want to be comfortable and confident in the knowledge you possess?
Have a great week!
January 6, 2019