Is it worth cramming all of my classes into four days so I can have a day off, or is it better to keep them spaced out?

5 Answers
I think it's worth it. This past term I only had class Tuesday through Thursday, making scheduling my life so much easier. I made those three days solely about school to make myself less stressed. It also was a lot easier to have a five day weekend - I could work, go home for family events, and study as much as I wanted to. It also helped that I didn't have to make the effort to go to campus more three times a week.
One of the most robust effects in learning is the spacing effect. Many studies have shown that test performance as well as information retention is best when items are spaced over a long period of time instead of crammed! This also can be thought about intuitively, it is going to be much harder to remember long term information if you packed it all together because it is such a high demand on your brain. By spacing it out you can remain less stressed and more in control of your studying. As I have mentioned in a previous answer, in many ways, spacing is safer in the sense that if you get sick, you have time to recover and rest. But if you are sick on a day you had plan to cram, it is going to be harder to focus and be productive. Cramming may work for you to do well on a test, but you want to make sure that you remember the information, especially if the course is a lower division course that you are going to be building on through upper division courses in the same field. You will remember more, be able to feel more confident, and minimize your stress if you space out your study periods instead of cramming. Finally, you could also do a personal test where you cram for one test and then space out for another, either during the same semester or a different one. You can see how you feel and what method makes you most comfortable and confident for the test, and which one you perform better on and retain longer.
I personally prefer cramming all of my classes into four days because I enjoy having Fridays off for both social and academic purposes. If you have a day off (especially Fridays), it allows you to have an entire day where you get to create your own schedule from start to finish. You can workout on this day, make this laundry day, or visit family (if the day off is a Friday). If you have to have a class on your day off, try making it a one-hour class versus a longer class.
One of my semesters I took five classes, three days a week and had off on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I loved it! It's great to get all of your classes out of the way and then have a day to just study and do homework, or work at a part-time job. I also found that it made the week go by faster. I definitely recommend it if you are okay with being in classes all day instead of having a scattered class schedule.
I had a 2 day schedule my senior year of my undergrad, and I found that this was the most productive use of my time. These 2 days were very long, with 4 classes each, but that gave me the other three days of the school week to work on homework and stay on top of the classes.

Whether or not this type of schedule would work for you depends completely on your work ethic and organizational techniques. If you like to take days off to simply unwind and not do anything, this wouldn't be the best schedule for you. If you like days off to catch up and organize your assignments, this would be a great schedule for you.

It's going to come down to how you plan to use the day off as well as how cramming classes will impact you. If you're going to become burnt out by doing too much in one day, I'd recommend spreading it out throughout the week.

Essentially, it's going to come down to how you think you work most effectively.

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