We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is a Cram School?

Mary McMahon
Updated: Mar 02, 2024

A cram school is a school that teaches a highly accelerated curriculum, with the goal of preparing students to take examinations. Typically, these schools are designed to provide supplementary education, with students attending regular school during the day and going to the accelerated classes after school or on the weekends. People may also hear this type of school referred to as a grind school, test preparation center, learning center, or tutoring center.

There are cram schools all over the world, but they are especially common in Asia, where attendance has become commonplace for students. Usually, the goal of the school is to prepare people for examinations through the use of a curriculum that promotes memorization and recitation of information. Test-taking skills are also often taught, and students are given many opportunities to take practice tests.

A variety of students take accelerated courses, ranging from elementary and middle school students preparing for school admissions tests to college graduates who want to ensure that they pass the examinations required for admission to professional schools. Cram schools are especially common for high school students who wish to prepare for college, especially in countries where exhausting entrance and proficiency exams are a critical part of college admission.

Going to a cram school is usually quite physically and intellectually demanding. Students must cope with the regular curriculum from their day school on top of the accelerated material, and in some nations, there is a lot of pressure for a student to perform well. Failure to do well on examinations can result in censure from parents and teachers, and a remedial course in a specialized school that caters to students who have taken and failed exams.

Cram school culture has been criticized by some educators. The concern is that the focus on memorization does not promote critical thinking and an in-depth examination of knowledge. While these schools may teach students to perform well on tests, the students may struggle with real-life tests of their ability to process and analyze information. Teacher quality is also quite variable, as local laws about training for teachers are often relaxed. The heavy load of cram school can also become problematic, with some students taking uppers and other drugs to push themselves to the limit in order to succeed.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Practical Adult Insights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By famnfriends — On Feb 15, 2011

@abundancer--The traditional GED prep classes are not considered cram schools. However some students preparing for the GED may go to these schools to help prepare them on top of the traditional GED classes. Usually this is an option for someone who is severely behind in a particular subject. We looked into this when my son was studying for his GED. It can be quite expensive if you decide to do this and it is all an out-of-pocket expense, usually no financial aid is available.

By abundancer — On Feb 14, 2011

So would the classes offered at a college for GED prep considered a cram school? My son needed to take some of these classes for two subjects and they were very intensive and fast paced. It seems like there was a lot of memorization involved.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.