22 Nov

Cramming VS Understanding

Cramming is the process of committing something into your memory. It is not necessary to understand a particular text or image in order to memorize it. Back in school, students spend hours memorizing concepts so that they can score high in their examinations. For example: In Mathematics, students tend to memorize formulas to solve equations and then forget about it a few months later. This happens because memorizing without understanding leads to a person to forget that particular concept within a short period of time.

For example: Area of a triangle = ½ bh , once given this formula, it is easier to substitute the numbers and answer it correctly. However, it is easier to forget this formula if a student has not understood HOW it has been derived.

To understand something is to have a clear knowledge of a particular topic or situation. When a person can logically grasp or perceive a particular concept that is read, spoken or heard without any confusions or questions.

Therefore, going back to our example of finding the area of a triangle whereby 1/2bh equals to area of triangle. This is derived by; multiplying the base by the height, and then divide by 2. The division by 2 comes from the fact that a parallelogram can be divided into 2 triangles. Since the area of a parallelogram is A = b x h, the area of a triangle must be one-half the area of a parallelogram.

It is important for every student to understand what they learn from a young age. In order to ensure every child has a strong learning foundation it is necessary for them to grasp the knowledge with thorough understanding. A stands for apple but A also stands for Ant, Airplane and Arrow. 3+3=6 but 4+2 also equals to six. Memorizing is not enough for a child to excel in their education.

Some benefits of understanding include;

  • When a concept is understood it can be applied to daily life.
  • A student can remember up to 90% of what he has studied.
  • Ideas can be converted to own words
  • Increases love for studying and gaining more knowledge
  • Ensures excellent performance amongst students and higher score tests
  • A student can connect and relate their understanding of a particular concept to things outside the classroom. For example: inflation is when prices increase, this is the core concept. But after fully understanding the chapter of inflation, a student can relate it to how an increase in fuel and oil around the world will affect the economy and inflation in general.
  • Also solutions can be generated faster when there is a clear understanding of concepts and situations.

Drawbacks of Cramming :

  • It is easier to forget concepts that are just memorized temporarily to attain a goal. For example: cramming in topics just to give the exam in order to score well.
  • Answers are always in one format as per the books or notes.
  • Cannot inter-relate concepts and topics due to lack of knowledge
  • Inability to apply knowledge outside classroom
  • Have only one perception as per the text.
  • Inability to solve problems or think of quick solutions due to lack of core understanding.

Thus, it is necessary for every student to strive harder to understand what they learn so they can excel in future and make right career choices. Many at times students are forced to choose career paths they do not like because of their weakness in other subjects. None the less, by ensuring our children have the right means and materials to study will help them learn and understand better which will create a positive growth in their lives.