Have you ever asked yourself this question? You are a college student and you are supposed to learn many subjects during your 4 years of courses. You have to take several tests, including a final exam for each course you take for credit. Do you expect to learn something from every course? I suppose you do. At least, you should expect. But what have you learned really well? How do you know what you know really well?

Suppose you take an A for your final exam. That’s great. Does this mean you know that subject really well? Maybe, or maybe not. When you take two, three or even four final exams in one day, it is not humanly possible to know those subjects really well. It means you must have good memory. Memory is necessary but not enough for learning.

You need also to understand well what you memorize. You need to make correlations, to connect new knowledge with old knowledge. You learn something by placing what you learn in your mind like in a drawer; whenever you open that drawer you know what’s inside.

Let me quote Anatole France, a French writer who lived between 1844 and 1924:

An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.

You know something really well when you explain it to someone else. When you teach a subject you had previously learned, then you find out what you know and what you don’t know. You know something really well when you teach it over and over again.

You know something well when you are able to use that knowledge in different contexts, and to solve problems.

Finally, a joke:

The world is divided into two groups. There are those who know, and those who don’t know. Those who know are no problem. Those who don’t know are also in two groups. One is those who don’t know and know they don’t know. Well, they can learn! But then, there are those who don’t know, and don’t know they don’t know. And they become unit managers!

I hope you are not a manager! 🙂

Unfortunately, there are also those who know but don’t know that they know, which is really bad …

One of your college needs is to know well what you learn. Strive to learn and to know what you know!

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