New History Format encourages SPM takers to Think Critically?

History, a must-pass subject in SPM 2013 onwards, takes on a new format. Previously it had two papers but now it has third paper which is an open book examination.
Paper One consists of 40 multiple choice questions to be answered within one hour and accounts for 30% of students’ overall marks.
Paper Two has 4 structured questions which students will have to answer. They can choose to write 3 out of the 7 essay quesions provided. This paper takes 2.5 hours and accounts for 50%.
Paper Three is a guided, open-book essay examination which takes three hours to finish. It accounts for 20%.
A month before the examination, students will be given the general topic of Paper Three so they can prepare. The exact question, however will only be revealed during examination day.
Students will be allowed to bring relevant printed materials such as textbooks, magazines and reference books into the examination hall.
An officer from the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate said that the reason for the new examination format is to encourage “higher order thinking skills” instead of rote learning.
Likewise, Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said that the country’s education system should undergo continuous transformation in an effort to produce people whom excel at critical thinking. Without critical-thinking people, a country would be left behind in development, he said after launching the national-level Science Fair for Young Children (SFYC) 2012 at the German-Malaysia Institute last Sunday.