Don’t Mistake Memorization for Understanding Concepts
👋 Hello, my friends at GRE Prep Club!
Concepts such as the relationship between the length of a side of an equilateral triangle and the triangle’s height, the slots method for answering a combinations question, and using the strategy of looking for synonym pairs in Sentence Equivalence questions can be somewhat tricky to remember, and preparing for the GRE involves learning many such concepts.
While it may seem simple enough to remember them and keep them all straight the week you learn them, what about a month later, or two months later?
One approach is to push beyond memorizing concepts, formulas, and strategies to fully understanding what underlies them.
For example, if you understand that the height of an equilateral triangle is also the long leg of a 30-60-90 triangle, and that is why the height of an equilateral triangle is always √3/2 times the length of a side of the equilateral triangle, you will remember this relationship far more easily than you would if you simply memorized it. When you truly understand what underlies concepts, they become practically impossible to forget.
In fact, if you forgot the formula for the height of an equilateral triangle, for instance, but you understood how to derive it, you could simply derive it yourself rather than looking up the formula. After a while, derivation and recitation would become basically one and the same; if you weren’t sure about some detail of a formula or approach, you could confirm what is correct within seconds.
In general, the deeper your understanding of a concept, the clearer and more detailed that concept will be in your mind, and the more your memory of the concept will be self-supporting. So, whenever it is practical to do so, seek to understand what underlies GRE-related concepts.
Warmest regards,
Scott Woodbury-StewartFounder & CEO,
Target Test Prep