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With the present system of a three hour examination in February and in June there is the well-known tendency among many students to put off today whatever work can be done tomorrow or the day before the half-yearly test. This is particularly true among undergraduates in the smaller and more advanced lecture courses where interest in the subject is the chief motive relied upon to keep men up to date in their work. In spite of the fact that the present system may be adapted to the ideal attitude which students ought to hold toward their work, it is often little adapted to the actual situation. It is only human nature to do what appears to be disagreeable only when the call is imperative. The more thoroughly the system of conducting courses is adapted to the actualities of human nature and the less it is based on the theoretical "whatought-to-be," the better must be the results. We believe that the more often the imperative call of examination is sounded, the more will be known in the end about the subject in hand. Tutors and outside coaches too often prey upon our own feeble-minded self-indulgence in matters of study, when such self-indulgence might be made impossible, at least during periods half a year long.
Of course such an argument as this leaves out of consideration all those men whose genuine interest does lead them to do regular work. But their scholarship is presumably high anyway. It is in an improvement by those at the bottom that there is the greatest room to raise the average.
The thought of more hour examinations may appear distasteful to many students, but to such the idea of any study whatever is probably none too agreeable. Frequent hour examinations would necessitate an increase in the day-to-day work and put a premium on regularity. If each hour examination included questions on the work of a course from its beginning, as well as from the preceding test, the importance of the mid-year examinations in course lasting the entire year should be lessened. In any event the student should be in a much better position to do well on the semi-annual papers by reason of the work done for the frequent tests. This change, then, which in the last analysis is no more than an adaptation of the examination system to the natural inclinations of the average student, should result in better average scholarship.
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