The Path to Public Service at SEAS
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Undeniably there is a place in the College community for the professional tutors. With their help, men who have been compelled to be absent from courses during term time are able to make up lost work most expeditiously. They merely provide what is beyond the reach of the student.
Contrasted with this is the entirely different function of giving in concise form reviews of courses. Many men who are on the whole regular in attending lectures are led to believe that seminars by outside coaches are essential. Apparently they are too lazy to prepare themselves thoroughly or else they are victims of the fantastic notion that by listening to the charmed words of the tutor and reproducing them as nearly exactly as possible on the examination paper they will get a good mark.
The tutor's seminar is doubtless better than no preparatory review at all. Yet a review of any real value to a man is something that he can do best for himself. Just as the act of note-taking in the first instance seems to impress the subject matter of a lecture upon the memory, so the process of reviewing and boiling down notes makes the reviewer at home with the entire field before him. The result is directly proportionate to the effort. The man who leaves the compilation and preparatory work to the tutor deprives himself of the most essential part of the review. The bird's-eye view of a subject is of little value without the foundation, and when an examination question involves reasoning the lack of familiarity with the groundwork is fatal. That a thinking student should purposely deprive himself of the most essential part of his preparation and pay for the privilege is hardly rational.
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