That is exactly what my physics teacher did to us - you could bring in one index card of notes — and I spent a good deal of time cramming all I could on the card.
A physics professor I had wouldn’t allow a cheat sheet. When students whined the professor agreed to provide a cheat sheet on the day of the exam.
When the day came the cheat sheet said two things:
- You can’t push on a rope
Your secret is safe with us.
And deciding what to put on the card, and what not to. Which of course is a form of studying that students in that situation usually don’t even realize they’re doing.
When I first went to college, just about the best piece of advice I got from anyone was to type (yes, with a typewriter) out my notes as soon after a lecture as I could. Not only did this give me something readable to study from, it cut my study time by half or more and my retention was much better than from simply reviewing my notes.
That’s awesome pedagogical jiu jitsu.
For the final for an intro to physics class I took we weren’t allowed a cheat sheet, but to do certain problems we did need a graphing calculator. I had a TI-86, which meant it could do some programming in BASIC, of which I knew enough to put together a little program that’d feed me whatever formulas I needed but had difficulty memorizing. Was really the only reason I passed that exam.
My university exams either didn’t allow a cheat sheet, or they were open book (meaning take in whatever books you want).
Generally I ended up creating something like a cheat sheet for every exam any, which was usually a side or so of A4, but written at a normal size. I’d use this to do last minute revision, but mostly because I’d realised that making it was the best way of checking what had gone into my brain, and what hadn’t.
It wouldn’t include anything that I could remember (so no F=ma or KE=1/2mv^2 etc.), because why bother writing down something I already knew? They were just ma distillation of the bits of the subject which weren’t sticking well.
I couldn’t take these into the exams, but I’d skim over them just before the exam, and as soon as I got into the exam I’d copy down any formulas etc. before they fell out of my short term memory.
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