I had studied the way I always studied history. it was a tried and true formula that worked throughout all of high school.
Well, that's what I learned. This wasn't high school anymore.
I was now expected to think critically even when I wasn't specifically called upon to think critically during lectures. The moment you're called upon to give your own thoughts and conclusions was never during class--it was during the exam. You wrote down your findings about how Event A led to Event B, and how Thing A contributed to Event A happening, which in turn resulted in the development of Thing B.
It was a rude awakening to be tossed from the expectation of memorizing facts into the world of drawing conclusions and making findings based on historical events and facts. The years did matter because it meant that Thing A developed before Thing B, and therefore Thing A probably had a role to play in the development of Thing B. Your answer was about what that role was.
I really hope that this video reaches other first years going into music school. I wish someone had been more explicit about how exams are different between high school and university because I know that at least I would know why the first few marks I get were, in fact, quite justified.