Cramming a definition without actually understanding what it means, makes it difficult for you to remember it. Truly understanding a definition, and the words that make up that definition, is also about putting it in context and perspective.
This learning strategy, Word Web, helps you do just that: putting words in a context that you already know.
The Word Web is about creating links from what you already to what you must know.
Choose the word or definition you want to learn.
Write it down in the middle of a sheet. Think about what other (difficult) words or concepts are related to this word. Don’t look for them in the text just yet, but start with those you already know; only after that, scan the assignment text for additional terms. Place these terms around the center, and connect them with the most important word in the middle. Do not just draw the line away, but also think about why these belong together: try to put your own words on that link. If you understand the why, it’ll be all the easier to remember.
This is the reverse: write down all the words and definitions related to the specific topic you must know, on a piece of paper. Draw lines to connect the words that belong together. See which words have to do with all or most of the other concepts, and draw a circle around it. You’ll group them together that way (see also Chunking, by the way). Don’t be afraid to redraw this on a new piece of paper to make this clear to yourself.
Choose a chapter that you need to learn. For example, for geography, you can create a list of definitions in a chapter.
Now see if you can find other ideas or words that also fit that you already know, and then supplement these with those you find in the chapter.
Remember that it is about getting the information into your head, so everything that you already know about the topic or that is related to it helps you remember it.