Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Take a Nap Before Your Next A&P Test

New research shows that napping before a test or exam is just as effective as cramming.

I've offered advice on the value of sleep and napping in this blog many times before. We don't know exactly how it helps us learn and remember, but neuroscientists are getting closer. But why it works isn't as important as the fact that it does work when you are getting ready for that next exam.

The recent research points out that cramming can have a bit of an edge if your goal is short-term memory. But for the long-term memory needed for most exams, especially cumulative or comprehensive exams, napping works just as well. And let's face it—it's way easier than cramming.

You also need long-term memory so that you can "take it with you" out of your A&P course. You are required to take anatomy and physiology courses in your program because they give essential concepts you need in later courses—and in your career. So why waste your time and effort by purposely "throwing away" all those concepts by failing to get them into your long-term memory?

Of course, napping cannot be your only preparation for a test!  (I know where your thoughts were going with this!) There's a lot of work you need to do.

But in the brief time you have before your test, it may be better to get your brain in shape—perhaps allowing some sleep-time consolidation and organizing of knowledge—than to review and revise what you've already (hopefully) been working on. It might also prevent the escalation of test anxiety that often accompanies last-minute cramming.

Want to know more?

Advice from this blog about sleeping and studying:

Napping before an exam is as good for your memory as cramming.

  • This is an article giving more information about the recent research I mentioned.

  • Over a dozen brief blog posts about learning strategies and preparing for (and taking) tests and exams.
Photo: Jocilyn Pope

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