One episode I remember well from my training was a lesson on engine failure. To this day I am still a little uncertain about the takeaway from that lesson, which was by a secondary instructor, not my main instructor.
What happened is that we were cruising along around 3000 feet AGL and he reaches over and closes the throttle, putting the engine on idle: "You have an engine failure and cannot restart it, what are you going to do?"
I scan the landscape in front of me and see a muddy pond with a road next to it. From my glider experience I know I can land the plane in 50-100 feet on the bank of that pond and it will be an easy landout because the road is right there. So, I make for the pond.
The instructor says, "No, no, do a 360". So, I do a 360 and lo and behold there is a small 2500-foot private airstrip right behind me. What a coincidence. I line up and deadstick onto the airstrip. He opens the throttle before I touch down and the lesson is over.
So, in that situation I had a place I knew I could land OR I could do a 360 and look for an even better place at the cost of losing altitude. Doing a 1-minute turn at -500 feet/minute, the altitude penalty for doing the 360 is probably going to be between 500 and 800 feet (out of my 3000). Is it the right policy to do the 360 or go for the first landable location you see as I had done originally?