What do the topics of empirics versus theory, unveiling the mystery behind card tricks and exam-taking strategies have in common? Xan explains in an interesting post. Here's an interesting quote from the post:
I suppose it's an obvious point, in its many forms. Even when an exam seems to test rote memorization -- say by requiring students to reproduce proofs they've seen before -- it is far easier to "memorize" things when you understand the underlying logic. So it can still separate people out on the basis of their understanding. (Of course there can also be a pooling equilibrium where everyone gets everything right, and so forth).This post plus all the linked posts are worth a read (and ponder).