When it comes to rote learning, there are some benefits and situations where it helps students. Cases such as memorising the times table, new vocabulary of a second language and the periodic table. But in most cases while we learn throughout our education years, learning with comprehension and understanding is the most viable and longer lasting method when it comes to gaining knowledge of subject matter, and applying it to specific tasks, normally assessments such as a test or assignment.
Comprehending information requires us to know the subject matter in relation to how it interacts or is connected to other information we may have learned in the past or may learn in the future. It requires us to critically think about how this new knowledge (sometimes required for a test) impacts on or is affected by other events or possibilities.
Think about events in history. Nothing that has ever happened 'just happens'. A memorable historical event occurs because something else caused that event to occur. It's also the same in science and geography. Everything is interconnected somehow in some sort of flow. You could almost create a flow diagram of anything.
How does this help you in school? When you need to remember information for a test, just think:
1. How does this info relate to any other info I have learned? What is the relationship, cause or effect.
2. Can I find out more about the subject matter so I can deepen my knowledge base on it, and therefore understand it better.
3. Why am I learning this? How does it relate to the world around me?
You could honestly come up with a bunch of questions around the topic you are learning. Just keep thinking, why? how? what? when? who? where? It's all related.
Knowledge is the answer to everything. When you take ownership of learning (uhem, not just rote learn), you empower yourself to do better, and everything you learn has 'context' which makes it easier to understand. That's another topic, really.