When you repeat something and remember it, you are using rote learning or memorisation method. It is used by school students right from the day they memorize the alphabets in the nursery, to the periodic table much later.
How to memorise?
An effective way to remember things is to read it very fast, more than once, then write it again and again. You can recall the fact after some time, and keep doing so until the fact is ingrained in your brain. Try reading a news repeatedly and jot down its points, you will remember it quite well even after a few days.
Is rote learning effective?
While the method is necessary to remember things, by itself, rote learning is ineffective. This is because when you are only memorising things, you disconnect it from past and future learning. One cannot apply facts learnt in such a way to practice.
Millions of students in India appear in entrance exams every year, however, no topper has ever commented that they succeeded purely by rote learning.
There are many instances where one has to purely remember facts and figures, such as the anatomy in medical science, legal rules and compliances in law studies, theorem and formulae in science.
However, memorized facts can only be useful in consonance with meaningful relationship to skills. For instance knowledge of human anatomy is useful to a medical practitioner if he or she can relate it to the medical case in hand.
Relation of memory to intelligence
The two are closely linked, but a good memory is not a director indicator of high intelligence. A student who is solely dependent on remembering things from a very young age continues this dependency to later parts of his or her life. This becomes problematic because whether it be in performing in exams or applying skills, they are unable to quickly think, analyze, and act.
So how to actually learn?
A student who can learn while memorizing, understand the core concepts while remembering the constants, can implement them anywhere.
Use rote learning as a building block to analytical thinking. For example, when you do higher level mathematics, remembering the tables of multiplication is useful.
Let us conclude with few benefits and disadvantages of memorisations/ rote learning.
1. Your brain gets trained to remember things
2. Trying to remember things challenges your brain
3. Remembering things frees up your brain to do other things
4. It develops focus
5. It prepares you for future learning.
1. You offset learning with memorisation
2. Understanding is essential for success, which is affected by rote learning
3. Stressing on remembering creates undue pressure
4. It does not encourage practical implementation
5. The absence of conceptual understanding may lead to wrongful applications.
Learning is a process of logical discovery and thoughtful exploration. Do not compromise on that.