One of my students, who is a high school student, had exams in his school two weeks ago and we talked about his English exam. He said almost half of the exam was on vocabulary.
The words, which included anorexia, barometer, and hepatitis, were not something they discussed in class. The teacher just gave them the words to memorize.
anorexia – lack or loss of appetite for food (as a medical condition)
barometer – an instrument measuring atmospheric pressure
hepatitis – inflammation of the liver
He spent time memorizing the words for the exam, but a few days after the exam he had forgotten most of them. It’s a waste of time, I think, but at the same time I can understand why. He was told only to memorize words, he would rarely use, for an exam. If I was him, I would have done the same thing.
I’m lucky that my teachers in high school, elementary school or university never forced us to memorize words just for one exam because I don’t think I would have enjoyed English in school.