One of the numerous objections that have been urged against the examination system is that a test of this kind does not give a fair indication of a man's abilities or of the work he has done on the course throughout the year. In a course where nothing but the two regular examinations count, it is possible for a man to neglect his work during the main part of the year, and by a little hard study, just before the examinations, to obtain as high a mark as the man who worked faithfully and regularly on the course. As no one examination can completely cover any course, there is too much at stake in one of the half-yearly examinations. There is too large a margin for chance to enter into the result.
If a man should not happen to feel at his best on the day of an examination, even though he is not actually ill, he can not do himself justice. This objection has been met in part by many instructors who give hour examinations in their courses. As but three of these can be given in a year the same objections apply in a smaller degree to them.