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If the general examination plan is to succeed in its purpose of developing men with a real knowledge of their subject rather than a superficial ability to cram for tests, the tutorial system must be made of more importance in the College curriculum. This system aims to furnish a link between courses and co-ordinate all the work a man does in College into a unified whole. At present, however, it only adds to the old cramming system. Undergraduates cram for their tutorial conferences quite as much as for tests and to just as little purpose. The idea that the tutor stands for a real liberal education rarely enters the head of one of his students. Hastily prepared for, lackadasically attended, and quickly over, these tutorial meetings have become merely an added chore amid the routine of themes and reports.
This state of affairs is not due entirely to a lack of interest on the part of students for their studies. The fact is that neither the time nor the incentive for effective work is provided by the present tutorial system. To be anything like effective this system ought to occupy quite as much of a man's time as a full course. At present reading is assigned which takes as much time as a full course, and there is no opportunity to do it justice. The faculty has made no provision by which a student may be relieved of the work in any course because of his tutorial obligations. Moreover, no credit is given for tutorial work apart from its indirect results in the general examinations, and, for incentive, men have to depend upon a tutor assigned by lottery. He may be inspiring and he may be dull--it is a gamble.
By allowing an undergraduate to count his tutorial work as credit for a course, and by eliminating some of the many little tests which now take up his time, the system could become much more worth while. The general examinations should bear sufficient weight in determining a man's standing in his class, to allow him to dispense with some of the minor tests he is now obliged to take. Furthermore the tutor should be recruited from the best minds of the Faculty and greater stress laid on this preparation for the general examination than on any course.
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