Skimming and Cramming

There are many study methods that are used by students while revising for examinations. Some methods are effective while others are ineffective. Effective methods are helpful since they help students to understand and retain a lot of information. Ineffective methods are not only tiresome but also lead to burn out.

Therefore, it becomes increasingly hard for students using such methods to retain reliable and important information. With that background in mind, this paper shall describe cramming and skimming which are ineffective study methods. Cramming can be described as a study technique which involves trying to absorb a lot of information within a short time. It is mostly used by students who prefer to study when the examination is almost or during the last few days. Due to the pressure involved, it results in poor retention of information for a long duration of time. It then serves the purpose of the examination after which the student forgets a lot of information.

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In many cases, a teacher gives a long deadline before the date of the test. Due to procrastination, the deadline almost comes to end without the notice of the student. A student may remember about the test may be a day or two before the due date. As a matter of fact, one day cannot be enough to go through all the work the student may have covered. At that particular time, the student tries to go through all the work and to retain a lot of information as much as possible (Pastorino and Doyle-Portillo pp. 216). The brain can be likened to a sponge such that there is need for it to absorb the information slowly. It can also be likened to a water way where water passes through while getting into a dam.

A steady flow of water usually has no problem but when a lot of water tries to get through the same entry, damages usually occur due to over flooding and some water also gets lost. The same case happens to brain during cramming. Some information is usually lost and the habit can also be detrimental to one’s health. Skimming is yet another ineffective study method especially while preparing for an exam. It is a method which involves reading a whole passage, a paragraph or any form of writing with an aim of knowing just the main idea.

Therefore, the reader using the method does not read carefully but only searches for the main idea. The reader only focuses on the topic sentence and does not read other sentences that explain or support the main idea. In most cases, skimming is used by a person who is already familiar with the information being read because if material happens to be unfamiliar, the person can miss on important details. For instance, a person skimming through this essay will probably read the first paragraph which is supposed to contain the thesis or the main idea. By so doing, the person will be able to establish that the essay focuses on ineffective methods of study which include cramming and skimming.

The next step would involve searching for paragraphs which explain the meaning of each method. In such a case, the reader won’t waste time on reading the explanation part. For that reason, the method is ineffective because there is a lot that is left out. In addition, it is done fast such that there is no time to synthesize a lot of information (Reading Styles – Skimming). The essay does not only focus on the description of skimming and cramming but also on why the two are ineffective study methods. Cramming involves trying to read and retain a lot of information within a short duration of time. On the other hand, skimming involves reading quickly through the reading material in order to search for the main idea.

In that case, it is clear that skimming and cramming cannot be recommended to students reading for examination purposes.

Works Cited

Pastorino, Ellen E. and Susann M. Doyle-Portillo. What Is Psychology? Essentials.

Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2008. Reading Styles – Skimming. 2011. 24 March 2011.


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