Students are under a great deal of stress this time of year: final exams. With up to seven exams and final projects due in a matter of days, we hope that students have learned how best they learn so they can study effectively. Thankfully, those approaches to looming deadlines can translate well into the work world. This series covers three types of people: the last-minute crammer, the study as you go-er, and the procrastinator. Today we examine the last-minute crammer.

The last-minute crammer
These creatures can often be found barricaded in their room the night before an exam. Not to be scoffed at, the true last-minute crammer actually engages some proven skills to ensure he or she maximizes the potential for recalling important information: Recency, repetition, and rhythm. By studying intensely at the last minute, the brain can more easily access the information that was stored.

Hallmarks of a crammer:

  • Studying is a highly intense process
  • Schedule the amount of time needed to study as close as possible to the deadline
  • Often read and repeat the information out loud over and over, especially using rhythm to assist the memorization
  • Employ colour-coding and other organizational and visualization strategies to their notes
  • Schedule studying at the last possible moment so the brain can recall what was recently studied
  • Deadlines produce a positive stress and actually assist in the learning process

[pullquote]Ensure that your last-minute intense style does not affect your coworkers…. for some people, approaching deadlines can cause negative stress.[/pullquote]

Not to be confused with procrastinators, crammers already know in advance that they need to study at the last-minute. They know how much time it will take and schedule their start time accordingly. They usually take detailed notes and employ a thought-out plan of attack to cover the material in question effectively, but definitely at the last-minute.

If this is how best you studied in school, this might be the way to go when you’re preparing for that big presentation or delivering that report to your superior. Crammers in the workplace are able to focus intensely on the work at hand and work well under tight deadlines. If this is your effective working strategy, ensure that your last-minute intense style does not affect your coworkers. In group work, everyone needs to pull together and respect that for some people, approaching deadlines can cause negative stress.

How do you work best? What methods do you find effective in your work? Check out our next post, where we review the good and the bad of a procrastinator and how you can work effectively.

All the best to all the students out there. Study smart. Study hard. You can do it!