I'm giving my SAT in May and would like to know how you would grade this essay. The assignment is: What is your view of the claim that knowing facts isn't as important as understanding ideas and concepts?</p>
<p>In todays technology-savvy world, we are constantly bombarded by facts and figures. In school, we are taught dates in History and numbers in Geography. This seems to me to be extremely ironic, as the scientific revolution which brought us into today's world was based on ideas, theories and imagination.
When still at school, Einstein was being reprimanded by his History teacher for not learning up dates of important events. Einstein repled in his typically honest way that he felt that he could look up dates in any book. He was more interested in why the battles were being fought in the first place. This excerpt from his biography highlights the scientific revolution that was taking place at the time, when ideas were given more importance than the rote learning of facts.
My question is, what use are facts? We all learn up huge books in school, answer competitive exams using the facts we have learnt. Take Physics, for example. We learn up techniques of solving problems posed on a paper, but are bewildered when confronted by anything in the nature of a practical puzzle. Without understanding concepts, the knowledge of facts is no more than worthless junk cluttering up our minds.
All revolutions in our thinking, since the time of Socrates to today's world, have been due to new ideas and theories. If people throughout History had been content with facts, we probably would still believe the Earth to be flat. It would be a pity if we forgot that ideas were the root of all the inventions that we use today. Today's generation of students has got to stop thinking of facts and figures and start thinking again as Einstein did all those years ago.</p>