So our long held belief that reading about it and then doing some questions is the best way to learn may actually be true ... !
From the NY Times: "To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test" http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/scien … .html?_r=2
"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..." - Leon M. Lederman
Thorough once said that he would have learned more by sailing once around the harbor. Dry studying rarely sticks, being forced to apply your knowledge as in a test is a powerful stimulus. The adrenalin rush is unparalleled.
In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
I agree with you regarding the satisfaction and importance of actually computing some numbers. I can't tell you how often I see time and money wasted because someone didn't bother to run the numbers.