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Do schools just test your memory?

As a middle school student I have rather unsatisfactory grades but the way I see it, I just have a bad memory.

Think about it, don't tests technically just assess what you remember and not what you actually know? I could remember that 2 + 2 = 4 but that doesn't mean I know why. I guess this doesn't count for those who actually understand the process.

Please share your opinions with me, I am here to learn.

Topics: education
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  • Nov 19 2012: Ali,

    I hope that you don't mind me putting in my two cents after you've already thanked everybody else for their opinions.

    I remember very well when my time in junior high and high school. Although those times in my life are becoming more noticeably a part of my past (I graduated high school in 2007), the feelings I had about education at that time are still very fresh to me. There was one time I found myself in almost exactly your situation. One day in grade 10 math class, I stopped my teacher while we reviewed the Pythagorean Theorem (a sq.+b sq. = c sq., I don't know if you've covered that yet), when I stopped her in the middle of her explanations to ask her, "Why are we learning this? What are we ever going to use this for later on in life?" She had no great answer or insight for me. After pressing her for something meaningful she eventually said with no small amount of annoyance in her voice, "It's in the curriculum so you have to learn it!" It was from that experience that I had lost all curiosity with regard to math, and later the sciences, for several years.

    It's exactly as most of the people who commented on your thread has said; memorizing the base skills are essential to understanding concepts; however, I think you're at about the point in your education where you're starting to see the structures and ideologies that are behind education as a whole. My best advice to you would be to not lose your curiosity. Math is wonderful. It's a language that speaks to us about the beauty of all things natural and created. While I study words and meaning, math speaks to me about how the world moves, and how it maintains movement in a sort of chaotic beauty. So do your memorizing practices. Take the tests that don't mark your understanding. In the meantime, try and understand things on your own terms. Think about everything you're taught, turn them over in your mind, come up with your own opinions, and then talk about them. All of a sudden school will become fun.
    • Nov 22 2012: Thanks for the advice! My cousin told me the same thing, and its been really helpful! Thanks for the input, I really appreciate it!

      Have a good day!

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