Your ability to recall information as random as telephone numbers, the names of people you work with or even your friends' birthdays are all evidence of rote memorization. The rote learning method is based on repeated exposure to manageable chunks of information, and is a boon to students who must busy themselves with cramming for their exams.

Advantages

Rote memorization receives enthusiastic support from numerous advocates, including religious groups, military organizations and even ESL instructors. Within the U.S. Army, "success in training is amenable to rote memorization and practice, and knowledge and abilities thus gained are essential to the prosecution of war," according to retired Major General William F. Burns. Rote learning bears the power to discretely shape a person's thought patterns, with potential to reverse negative thought patterns.

Disadvantages

In the realm of higher learning, the merits of rote learning are frequently discounted. Comparably more complex methods of learning are favored in such contexts, since they promote the exercise of critical thinking skills. Schools, religious organizations or political systems that utilize rote memorization often do so in order to encourage unquestioned conformity.

Applications

Aside from its conventional uses, rote memorization is highly valued in the fields of engineering, mathematics and theater. Additionally, rote memorization is useful for expatriates and vacationers to distant lands who must practice speaking foreign languages in order to engage in successful interactions.

Considerations

College students often rely on rote learning techniques while cramming for their final exams. Since rote memorization of information requires a minimal time investment on behalf of a student, rote learning techniques often come in handy in a pinch. In fact, use of this learning technique is championed by New York University's College of Arts and Science, which advises its students to utilize rote memorization techniques in addition to review and self-testing while studying material.

Process

Rote learning is reinforced through a person's repeated exposure to manageable chunks of information. Repetition is easily accomplished with the aid of flash cards, or through strategic study with a partner. After being exposed to these chunks of information in this way, the power to recall information is enhanced by writing down facts that have been committed to memory.