As a struggling student in my first year of junior college, I managed to improve my grades with the help of 10-year-series assessment books ("Memorising answers won't score you the As"; last Wednesday).
These books helped me familiarise myself with the types of questions I needed to tackle in the A-level exams, which I sat last year. Many of the questions I encountered during the exams were actually very similar to the past year questions I practised answering in the assessment books.
Memorising answers helps students, particularly in subjects like science, where the facts remain, for the most part, unchanged for many years.
For internal school exams, teachers sometimes added trickier, tougher questions. In this case, rote learning was ineffective, and students had to use their conceptual understanding to answer such questions.
However, for national exams, the questions appear to be more predictable. My science teacher, for instance, instructed the students to focus solely on the 10-year-series in the run-up to the A-level exams, as the questions follow a similar answering format and marking criteria.
To be sure, blind memorisation is not the only way to prepare for an examination. A basic understanding of concepts is also necessary.
However, unless students regurgitate the wrong information when answering a question, memorisation is still a very effective way to ace national examinations.
This article was first published on Mar 2, 2015.
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