He's not wrong. It's a memory test if you make it one, but personally I don't remember learning things off for English, Irish, Maths or French - rather I learned the storylines (which isn't exactly intensive rote-learning), for maths I tried to understand concepts, and even with proofs I understood them moreso than rote-learned. Constructions are 25/600 marks, hardly a memory test, and French is learning but it's definitely not testing you on your memory when you go into the exam. I learned the Irish and French languages, I didn't memorise them. If it's "just a memory test" then why does everyone make such a big deal of it? It's more than that. Even in history you form your own opinions and critically analyse the document on the day and in business's applied section you apply what you've learned. You can't hope for a certain document or applied business question, or a certain word in Irish and French, and while you can hope for a poet you have to thoroughly understand their work to do well in English - you have to think on your feet.
I'm not trying to have a go at you or anything but it really puts down all the hard work people do for the exams when people make comments like that. I, personally, see it as more than a memory test, but maybe some don't.