How to Study for a Test Without Cramming

There is a way to study for a test without cramming. Only if you don't leave it until the last minute. The first and most important way for this to work, is based on notes taken in class. If you are not willing to take notes, then this is not for you. Start by trying this method with a class you are comfortable in. When you see how well it works, you will definitely want to put it in place for your other classes.


  1. Image titled Study for a Test Without Cramming Step 1
    Get about ten sheets of copy (computer) paper, a spiral notebook large enough for the class you are attending, and a three-ringed binder, either large enough for the class you are attending, or to contain notes for several classes, which ever is best for you.
  2. Image titled Study for a Test Without Cramming Step 2
    Fold and cut the copy paper sheets in half, making them 8.5" x 5.5". At the top of the first sheet for that day, write the class you are in and the date. This will help with the organization of your information at a later time. You should never mix up your notes with several classes. Each group of note taking sheets should be kept in the associated book.
  3. Image titled Study for a Test Without Cramming Step 3
    Use these sheets to take notes on in class. Don't worry about how they look, if you scratch something out, if you have to write things out of order, or upside down. If you find the need to draw instructional pictures, or lines drawn from one point of information to another, definitely do so. This is for your use only, and the only person who needs to understand the information is you.
  4. Image titled Study for a Test Without Cramming Step 4
    Turn the pages over, or go to another sheet, as necessary, progressively numbering each page in the top right hand corner. By numbering them, if they were to get out of order, you can easily find how they should be organized. Again, do not worry about how things look. The most important thing here is to get the information given in class so you are able to use it at a later time.
  5. Image titled Study for a Test Without Cramming Step 5
    Remember that as soon you get home from class, if any reading is required to correspond with the day's lessons, it would be worth while to take notes, again on your note paper.
  6. Image titled Study for a Test Without Cramming Step 6
    Know that as soon as possible, preferably that evening, but before a test is scheduled, rewrite the information you took in class, and any associated reading notes, into a spiral notebook. This spiral notebook should be for this particular class only. There should be one notebook for each class. At this time, just rewrite the information in a more organized manner than on your note sheets.
  7. Image titled Study for a Test Without Cramming Step 7
    When a test is scheduled for that class, a day or two before the test, rewrite the information from the spiral notebook into the three ringed binder. At this time, you should take care to make sure all of the information is as organized as possible. Using an outline form can be very helpful.
    • If there are any associated drawings, for example, a drawing of a plant cell and all of it's components versus an animal cell, include it in your binder in as much detail as possible. Do not worry about your skills as an artist, but concentrate on the accuracy of the information. Also, coloring in items in your drawings will help you to remember how things look. Once you have completed the above steps, put everything away, and don't look at it anymore before your test.

  8. Image titled Study for a Test Without Cramming Step 8
    Get to bed at a reasonable hour the night before your test, and get a full night's sleep. Make sure you have all of your materials needed for your test; i.e., pens, pencils, calculators, etc.
    • The morning of your test, get up early and eat a healthy breakfast. Taking a test on an empty stomach, or a stomach without the proper food, is like trying to drive your car 100 miles (160 km) on two gallons of gas. You will move along fine for a while, but will eventually poop out.
    • Arrive to your test a little early to avoid panic and rushing.When you are in your class at your desk, don't panic about the test. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. You have done a lot of work preparing for your test, and the information is in your brain ready to be called on.
    • As you take your test, you will find you will be able to recall the information you wrote or drew. Sometimes, after reading a question, you can close your eyes, and you will actually be able to see your notes in your mind. The idea is, you have seen the information so many times, you have actually stored that information in your brain with out trying to cram it in there.
  9. Image titled Study for a Test Without Cramming Step 9
    Understand that what this method works, is your persistence in following the above noted steps. If you don't do all of the steps, most likely you will not be able to retain the information as well. Good luck! Everybody has their own way of studying.


  • Highlight very important information, and use color for the illustrations.
  • Get a good nights sleep.
  • If any drawings are needed, do not worry about the artistic quality of your drawing but the accuracy of the information.
  • Take notes from any associated reading.
  • The morning of your test, eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Get to your testing area early.
  • Take a few deep breaths, and relax.
  • Number each note sheet to keep the information in order.
  • A day or two before a scheduled test, rewrite the notes from the spiral notebook into a 3 ringed binder as neatly and as organized as possible using an outline format.
  • The morning of your test, do a few short exercises like jumping jacks, running in place or sit-ups. This will get the blood flowing and help motivate you.
  • Take accurate notes in class not worrying how neat the information is.
  • The night before your test, organize the materials needed for the test.
  • Indicate the class and the date at the top of the first note sheet.
  • As soon as possible after your class, preferably that evenings, copy all of the notes into a spiral notebook just for that class in a more organized manner.
  • Cut about 10 sheets of copy paper so they are 5.5" x 8.5".


  • If you are not a note taker, this method will not work for you. But if you want to get good grades then perhaps you should learn to take notes.
  • Make sure you don't listen to the same music in the last few weeks of exams. Otherwise you will keep on repeating the lyrics during the exam.

Article Info

Categories: Tests and Exams