DEFINITION of 'Cramming'

An emergency test-preparation strategy that involves an attempt to absorb copious amounts of information in a short period prior to an exam. Cramming is a memorization technique that only lasts for the short term. For long-term retention of material, it is recommended students practice active learning and critical thinking through discussions, individual thinking and studying in groups.


Although generally frowned upon as a preparation strategy by educators, cramming has found success among some students for its ability to pack large amounts of information into a short amount of time. In fact, one study by the University of Michigan found that there was little to no correlation between the amount of time spent studying and a student's grade. This may be one of the reasons why cramming is so widely used.