But you also assume that everyone else shares your method of learning.
Nope, didn't assume, that's why I said "Depends on how you learn." :-).
the final part of the story relates how the student got so good he could do less work than anyone else, and still get perfect marks. He started out doing too much at the beginning, but got good fast
Yep. He learned about the subject and didn't have to put in as much effort to get good marks. Your point being...?