Student Cramming

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Effect of Student Cramming Behavior
to Memory Retention of Basic Physics Concepts
LL Abejuela, JC Gallardo, AI Silva, RL Gallega, DM Tabernilla, JR Tuates, and EA Florido
Institute of Mathematics, Science, and Physics
Physics division, University of the Philippines Los Baños

Abstract

This study aims to determine whether cramming behavior had a significant effect on the memory retention students who took Physics 82(Fundamental Physics II) during the second semester of school year 2006-2007. A test was given to these students after one semester (first semester, 2007-2008). A comparison was made between the scores of students who acknowledged frequent use of cramming methods and those that did not. Data shows that retention decreases with time whether the student crammed or not. However, students that crammed have faster rate of decrease in memory retention.

1. Introduction

Cramming is defined as studying a relatively large amount of subject matter in a short period of time. It can be regarded as a desperate measure of students to pass exams, complete projects. The consequence of such manner of study is low memory retention [1]. This study aims to confirm or disprove this stereotype. It is possible that grades reflect only short term learning since they are given at the end of the semester and there is no assurance for long term retention. According to Duda, memory retention is enhanced if, for example, a five hour study session is broken down into five separate one hour sessions [1]. This applies to cramming where a single study session just before an examination is less effective than several short study sessions. A survey was conducted to verify these assumptions using UP Los Banos students who took Physics 82 during the second semester of school year 2006-2007. The survey was limited to these students who are currently enrolled in Physics 83 during the first semester of school year 2007-2008. Physics 82 covers fundamental concepts in electricity and magnetism.

This study aims to:
1.Determine whether there exists a correlation between the chronological order in which Physics 82 concepts were taught and the students’ memory retention of these concepts. 2.Determine the percentage of students who acknowledged to have employed cramming methods for their Physics 82 semester.

3.Determine whether there is a appreciable difference between students’ final grade (1-5 scale) in Physics 82 and their survey grade for both for the crammers and the non-crammers.
1.1 Hypotheses

1. There no strong positive linear correlation between the chronological order in which PHYS 82 concepts were taught the previous semester, and their memory retention of these concepts. Earlier topics taught are more retained than earlier topics. 2. There is no significant difference between crammers and non-crammers final grade (1-5 scale) in Physics 82, and between crammers and non-crammers survey score. Grade is not a good indicator of cramming behavior.

3. There is no strong linear correlation survey score and Physics 82 final grade for both crammers and non-crammers. Grade is not a good indicator of memory retention.
4. There is no significant difference between the between the students’ final grade (1-5 scale) in Physics 82 and their survey grade both for the crammers and the non-crammers. Cramming has no significant effect on the student’s memory retention of Physics 82 concepts.

2. Methodology

The survey population consisted of all Physics 83 students that took Physics 82 the previous Semester. The Survey was done in class hours of Phys83 to all students. The population needed was filtered out afterwards. The survey questions included 16 topics in Physics 82 which were divided into 4 sets reflecting the first to the last quarter of the semester. Questions were generated for each topic. Five basic equations and two to four conceptual problems were taken from the topics. This...
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