Understanding, Not Memorization, is the Key

Far too many students believe that they have to memorize every single word in their notes to do well on a test. While it’s true that you should be highly familiar with your class notes by the time the day of the test arrives, it’s not necessary to be able to recite every page word for word. Instead, you should be striving to develop a good understanding of the material, which is different from memorization. Here’s how to tell whether you really understand the information that you were presented with during class:

  • You can elaborate on key points: When you have a complete understanding of a topic, you can expand on the outlines and condensed information in your notes.
  • You can express information in your own words: When you truly understand a concept, you don’t need to recite your notes verbatim. Instead, you can explain the concept using your own words.
  • You can apply the material in different ways: Having a good understanding of a concept means that you will be capable of answering any type of question about that subject, whether it’s an essay, a true or false, or a multiple choice question. It also means that, if asked, you will be able to analyze a given topic using your own experiences, opinions, and observations.

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