> So you equate being able to memorise, regurgitate and forget with "applying themselves". And consider that this is the key skill.
> those who have aptitude, insight, creativity or even many who have genuine interest or commitment, but who just aren't good at churning out preformed answers to artificial questions.
In order to be proficient in any language it is necessary to build a vocabulary. High school (and even undergraduate level) study is largely concerned with building a student's vocabulary in a given subject - and this is equally true of languages, humanities and sciences.
Unfortunately there is no shortcut to acquiring the requisite 'vocabulary'. This process almost always requires memorisation, whether it be amo, amas, amat, the date of the Norman conquest or the definition of a halogen. Even the highest placed Harley Street medic was required to undergo tons of rote learning as an undergraduate.
Certainly, understanding is crucial (the meaning of words in the vocabulary), but it is only after internalising the shared vocabulary that people with aptitude can progress to being creative with the 'language' of a given course of study.