One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
Some parents adore homework, some parents don’t. Some parents think the school isn’t assigning enough homework, some parents think the school is assigning too much. Some parents love the drilling, some parents think it’s best to leave it once understanding is achieved. As no two parents (and their philosophy towards education) are alike, and no two schools (even among MOE schools) are alike, it’s better to understand / compare and go for a school that’s a better fit rather than go for a school because everyone is after it.
On CCA – every school will have some pluses and minuses; no schools will have every CCA available (e.g. my daughter’s school doesn’t have the sport that she’s involved in as well). Some parents don’t see it as an important component of education. However, if it’s essential to a parent, it’s best to research and find out what’s available before applying.
On teaching quality – every school will have good teachers and bad teachers, some schools will have more of the other. I won’t comment unless I have a valid basis of comparison, such as having my child in Chongfu. Nonetheless, I believe it’s uncommon for a school (even in ‘top schools’) to have every teacher living up to the parents’ expectations.
On oral / exam format – different schools do different things. I’m assuming they have their reasons for doing what they do, especially if they the (past) results to show for. The school (system) doesn’t cater for individual needs – they can only identify the common denominator and do what’s required. If need be, parents would have to get involved and help to brush up / beef up on the child’s weaker areas. Unfortunately, that’s just the reality of how things work, given the general constraints.
*While Chongfu is no doubt a popular school, it isn’t a bona fide “名校”. IMHO “名校” typically refers to the GEP or SAP schools. I won’t call it a middle ranking neighbourhood school either as it’s a lot more than that. Chongfu should be among a number of historical schools that has consistently produced relatively good results over the years