GRE Essay Topic 205 - Present your perspective on the issue below, "Students should memorize facts only after they have studied the ideas, trends, and concepts that help explain those facts. Students who have learned only facts have learned very little."
A fact is a piece of information whereas ideas, trends and concepts provide a setting for the establishment of such facts. The real interest should lie in application and development of ideas and trends and not merely memorizing. The whole idea of introduction of cramming lies in history.Dur...
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The issue whether "students should memorize the facts after they have studied the ideas,trends and concepts that help explain those facts" is a controversial one.One the one hand memorizing some of the facts reduce confusion for the students.On the other hand understanding the ideas and concepts behind the facts helps to create new ideas.I would agree
that students should understand the ideas and concepts before memorizing the facts.
First of all, understanding the ideas and trends behind the facts helps the students to remember the facts for a long period.To illustrate this point let us look into an example.Consider the process of learning spellings.First the sound of the words are taught to us in the lower class.Then we start spelling small words and later we start to write.If a student try to memorize the spelling of the words without understanding the phonetic sound he will not remember the spelling and will forget it in a short time.Moreover it will be very difficult to memorize spellings of all the words.So if he understand the phonetic sounds then it will be easier for him to spell the words.In this circumstance,it is very clear that understanding the ideas and concepts behind the facts helps the students to remember and learn the fact.
Furthermore,understanding the concepts behind one fact will be helpful in understanding some other facts related to it.To be more specific let us look into a chemistry student.If a student understands the nature and properties of a chemical element it will be easy for him to use the element for his study.He can easily tell which elements will undergo reaction
with the particular element and what will be the result .Thus it is evident that understanding the concepts and ideas helps students to learn.
But one cannot deny that sometimes facts are important than the ideas behind the facts.The ideas and concepts may not be accepted by others.In this case memorizing facts will help the student.The ideas may mislead him.Moreover if a student with arts major try to understand the ideas and concepts before memorizing a formula in physics it will only confuse him.Because,there is no need for him understand the ideas.However the above argument does not support that students should not understand the ideas behind the facts before memorizing it.Because when students understand the concepts and
ideas of the facts the it will be very easy for him to apply them in solving concept oriented problems.
To sum up, sometimes memorizing facts will be enough for a student to score marks.But he will forget the facts in a short span and he would not have learned.On the contrary if he studies the ideas and concepts behind the facts and then memorize the fact,it will always be in his memory and he can apply those ideas and concepts practically in the future.