In my opinion you definitely DON'T succeed by cramming. You succeed by understanding. And this is why most college graduates today aren't even proficient in what they supposedly learnt in college. After a few years some don't even have any idea what their courses were all about.
This is similar to something I heard long ago about graduated passing through a school for years without allowing the school to pass through them. If you spend your time in college just trying to pass a course or some courses alone, without really trying to understand what you're being taught, you'll realise at the end of the day that all you have is merely a paper certificate.
And nowadays people are looking for more than paper, people are looking for what IS in your head; what you'VE learnt to do on your own; by yourself without the aid of a textbook
Graduates cramming through college like zombies is, in fact, why some people would even agree that college is not as important as it once was. Not as important now as learning to acquire real knowledge and expertise. Because ideally what the college is there to do is give you the knowledge and expertise, and give you the evidence that you have this knowledge. But the way things are now people are getting the evidence- -i.e the certificate-- without even getting the said knowledge. Becsuse all they do is go to class, listen without understanding, get a few materials, cram them? go to the exam hall, put down everything they've cramped, and pass the exams in flying colors!
But you see the thing about just cramming is that you can't retain something you crammed for long. You'll have to cram other things and these will displace what you already crammed, and because your brain can only take so much cramming, after a month you don't even remember a single thing.
But if you understand something; REALLY understand that thing, then you understand the PRINCIPLE being it; you understand what makes it works, what makes it stop; the reason it operates the way it does. And consequently you'll know how to change it, how to make it better!
But if you choose to cram, you only know what you crammed for a short time. And that is NOT wjat college is about. College is supposed to be there to help improve humanity! Not just to hand out degrees and papers. And how can you help humanity when all we care about is to get a paper and go to work and work a 9 - 5 zombie job everyday?
Well seeing as Its barely a year since I left college, I can boldly say that both of them are important, although it's more ideal to understand things.
Whatever you're studying requires you to completely understand everything you're taught because if you get a college degree in a particular field of study, it's expected that anything and everything that pertains to that field of study shouldn't be new news to you. Aside from that, passing exams are actually supposed to be alot easier if you read to understand because even if you can't remember exactly how your text book or lecturer put it, then you'll still be able to put it in your own words.
Reading to understand is necessary if you want to become successful in your profession, it'll definitely give you an edge over people that crammed through out their time in college.
As for the case of cramming, it can actually be quite helpful sometimes. I'm an engineer and I can tell you that sometimes it feels like there are more equations and relations in my field of study than there are birds in the sky. Even if you succeed in understanding how the formula works and why the formula works, it doesn't guarantee that you're going to remember it when the time comes, and that's where cramming comes in handy!!
Cramming is something that should be done as a last resort though, it's not ideal in anyway but if you seem to be unable to get a particular formula or definition to stick when you try to understand it, then just cram it and give it all back to your lecturer in the exam hall.
When I was in school, I had a lot of lecturers who wouldn't give you full marks if you didn't give them back the exact same thing they gave you in their notes. If they say something is "ABC" and you say it's "ACB" then you aren't going to get full marks, so in the case of lecturers like that, you simply have no choice but to cram and give them what they want.
Cramming and Understanding are two very different things, but if done properly then they can both help you better than either one could do alone. Read to understand and let it help you become a better professional, but cram when it comes to exams, that way even if you forget something you crammed, then you can rely on the knowledge you gained when you actually read to understand to bail you out.
I hope this helps
I think you should always aim to read to understand. You have to remember that you go to college or university in order to prepare for a potential job after finishing, so what's even the point of going there if you are just going to cram and then forget about it a bit later?
Despite understanding being a lot better, cramming can be nice if you have an exam in the next week and really don't understand most of it. So it's better to cram than to do nothing.
Let's get this straight cramming helps you to pass exams wonderfully, while reading to understand may just make you pass, I want you to notice the thin line here, when you cram any you're lucky to have everything you crammed surfaced on the day of examinations then you'll definitely do well, but turns out wrong and you didn't see topics you crammed being set in the examinations then you may just fail woefully.
That's the difference between cramming and reading to understand in reading to understand you actually digests the topics make them your own know the various area so when you're not even in the exam hall and you need to apply it in a real life situation then you can, cramming sometimes brings excellent results but reading to understand always brings true knowledge and understanding.
In college I crammed and read to understand, some professors wants verbatim answer when they give you exams and the only way to give verbatim answer is to cram, so in college, I crammed, at the same time I read to understand, blending the both to make me refined (mind you cramming comes withva little benefit, it's not all bad) as a matter of fact some formulas need cramming and at the same time needs understanding to present it well. So I succeded by cramming and reading to understand most importantly.
Studying needs time and effort. You need proper organization, by doing that you have to start early and make things productive, for example: making a "to-do-list".
Proper implementation is important when you want to succeed. In my opinion, understanding is more effective and useful (it is way easier to connect the dots).
The earlier or advanced you study , the more you gain knowledge, skills and ability , thus, the easier it is for you to practice these on experience especially when cramming.
I hope you find these useful.
I think many people graduate college through cramming, and this may be a recipe for success short term, you are very much shorting yourself in potential future success, that is, by understanding a subject better, you become more of an asset towards the subject long term.
I would try to fundamentally understand and learn topics, rather than put them in your short term memory just to pass a test.