I met a student today from one of the elite secondary schools in Hong Kong. At one point the conversation turned to examinations. He had 9 As from the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examinations (HKCEE). Not from this year. So don’t bother to identify him or the school.
I know many students prepare for the HKCEE by working on past examination papers. So I asked him about it. He said, “I did not do that many.” I pressed him on it, “How many is not too much?”
He: “I only worked on papers for the last 10 years.” When he saw my surprise at his referring to 10 years as not too many, he explained, “It is really not that many. Some of my classmates went through the papers for the last 20 years.”
I am not so naive to be surprised that students rely so much on studying past examination papers. I am just surprised that 10 years is now considered “not too many.”