Conceptual Understanding vs Memorizing

Why is conceptual understanding better than memorizing

Learners across the world can be broadly classified into two types – one, people who learn to understand and two, people who learn to remember or recall. The people in the first category understand the concept, while the latter merely memorize the concepts to be able to recall it later. While memorizing helps commit to the memory, understanding the concept helps us gain knowledge and appreciate our education.

In an attempt to understand which method of learning is better and why, we have listed down the differences between the two and their pros and cons:

Memorizing vs Conceptual Understanding

When you understand a concept, you will remember it for years whereas when you memorize the same, you will remember it for merely for days and gradually forget it. Conceptual understanding helps you understand the information on a deeper level unlike memorizing which merely touches the surface.

Marketing concepts for instance, need to be understood to be able to apply practically. If you memorize marketing concepts, you might pass your exams but you won’t know how to apply them unless you understand the crux of the concept.


Another advantage of conceptual understanding is it helps you grow as a person and shift your perception. This is impossible with memorizing. When you understand concepts you are able to connect it with other concepts, compare it with other concepts and generate creative ideas and apply the concept to real life situations. Whereas memorizing won’t help you achieve any of this.

Suppose you’re in a Indian political debate. You will be able to successfully put forth your points if you know the relevance of the point you’re making if you have done your homework and understood the history of Indian politics. If you have merely memorized it, you will forget it sooner.

Memorizing is helpful if you want to recall information at a specific given time. Memorizing helps you remember concepts. Whereas if you understand a concept you will not only be able to remember it for long, but also put it in your own words whenever you want and also explain it to others. Memorizing limits the memorized content to ‘recall’, whereas understanding the concept helps in generating creative ideas.

Memorizing is helpful in passing an exam. But apart from that, memorization is not going to help.

As you can see, conceptual understanding is much better than mere memorization; as it helps you gain knowledge, perspective and grow. Understanding concepts will also help you apply that knowledge to real world situations. Whereas memorizing things will not help you in understanding any concept or retain it for a long time. We hope the above analysis will help you approach your studies in a better way.

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