Memorizing everything isn’t learning

ULM Hawkeye


Around finals time, no matter what kind of student you are, the stress starts to build. There’s a million things to review, learn and relearn and not nearly enough time.

Any tips our professors can give us along the way is helpful. And there’s always that one brave student that finally asks the question we all have in mind; “What do we need to know for the final?”

Of course, most professors will reply with probably the most annoying thing we’ve heard since that fox song on youtube; “Everything.”

Everything? Really?

Asking students to basically go re-memorize everything we have seen in a semester and expecting us to actually understand it is unreasonable and not a real measure of what we have learned.

Then, multiply that amount of studying by five to create approxiamately two weeks of cramming, stressing, crying and not sleeping.

When we’re asked to study everything, our first instinct is to memorize. Memorize anything and everything. Then, we walk out of the final and dump everything at the door.

The chances of us actually learning anything long term when we’re memorizing are pretty slim. If students were told exactly what concepts were important to learn and understand, we would not only do well on the exam, but we will remember it as we continue our education.

It’s not that we’re lazy and don’t want to put in the effort to learn “everything”. We just physically and mentally can’t handle the pressure of doing it five times over.

The only way we can retain what we learn in class and be able to apply it is if we actually understand it. Professors should guide us to  that understanding and telling us to learn “everything” isn’t the way.