There is nothing as boring as revising for exams. It is easy to think of a dozen things you could be doing rather than reading your notes or doing those all important practice papers. Well now there is a new way to actually make revising enjoying in the form of a great little application know as “Cram”.
I won’t go into the science of the different ways people learn (you won’t be interested) but Cram offers a really great learning opportunity, at the same time making the process fun. Even in the process of setting up the software you will be engaging and learning the content you are studying.
Cram works by creating a database of questions. Lets take the example of a student preparing for their GCSEs. The student can create a Cram section for each subject they are studying and each week or month add questions to the database. These could be five or six questions per subject topic and questions can be in a number of different formats from multiple choice text to both image based and audio based questions.
Adding a question is easy (see the screenshot below). As you can see in the example it was easy to pick the correct answer by simple deduction, Cram can keep answers subject specific by means of an ‘Answer bank’ system.
When using the answer bank I would recommend putting all the subject related definitions and keywords into the bank and then creating a question or number of questions for each word. This means incorrect answers are other keywords are also from the bank and thus subject specific. This adds a bit more a challenge to each test.
As the database grows the student can use Cram to study using a flash card approach or alternatively they can take a timed test where Cram will throw the questions out in random order under the pressure of a timer.
The flash card system is perfect for revising the night before an exam, Cram loads the question and the “other side” button displays the answer.
In the test method of revision Cram offers excellent feedback at the end of a test and will even go as far as tracking your progress over time as you repeat topic tests. The feedback is brilliant, it is great to see the questions you got wrong, the answer you selected as well as the correct answer.
Cram also caters for a bit of competition and boasting as if you are particularly proud of your latest score Cram also offers the ability to Tweet your score to the masses !
Import and Export
If you have a number of friends who are also using Cram you can share tests by means of an easy import and export option. SimpleLeap also offers an online portal for test sharing so you can end up sharing your tests with students world wide and it also means there could already be a test for the subject you are studying !
The import and Export option also means teachers can share tests with pupils via Virtual Learning Environments or shared areas. Cram is a brilliant revision tool, and ideal for anyone struggling to concentrate on studying or just simply looking for a different approach to their learning.
Cram for iPhone (and Cram Lite)
Cram mobile is the perfect companion for Cram desktop. Cram iPhone lets you take your tests and flashcards on the road and is available for both iPhone and Blackberry.
The mobile version of Cram isn’t just a means of viewing and completing tests it also allows you to create and add questions from your handheld device.
Although Cram mobile doesn’t specifically need the full desktop version I think it is much easier to create your tests on your Mac and then port them over to the iPhone for portable revision. Cram mobile is the perfect application to comfort you on the way to the exam hall or for a quick recap before you go to sleep each night.
The mobile version is available in two forms. Cram Lite is Free from the iTunes store and limits you to five tests each with five questions. The full version removes these limits and costs only £2.99.
The entire process of creating questions, adding them to Cram and them studying via flash card and test is the ideal way to learn and prepare for the those all important exams.
It would be brilliant if there was some sort of Moodle integration even for storing Cram scores, that said Cram does everything it claims and as a teacher myself will be whole heartedly recommending it to any of my students with a Mac.
Cram for Mac costs just under $30 and is available from the Simple Leap Website.
Cram Lite is available directly from the Apps Store (iTunes Link).