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Although more than a week has elapsed since another Reading Period came to a close, the examinations which in the final analysis are accepted as the most adequate proof of its success are still looming ominously ahead of weary undergraduates. Even if official reports again magnify the advantages of the Reading Period, as the CRIMSON has predicted, to those students who have found it imperative to spend long hours of each day in order to accomplish the prescribed work, mid-years present a more dangerous outlook.
Merely because lectures are discontinued, the period preceding examinations is not in any way prolonged, as some seem to believe; and accordingly whatever reading is assigned ought not to tax the student to a greater extent than would the old system during a similar length of time. Theoretically the Reading Period is not intended to increase the burden of education, but rather to stimulate new interests by a temporary substitution for didactic methods.
In many courses to date, the meaning of the word "substitution" has not been fully carried out. In spite of the example of last year, volumes of reading have been prescribed, covering material sometimes vastly more extensive than could be accomplished in the six lectures which formerly were held during the corresponding two weeks. Such an increase in the assignments can hardly fail to bring with it unfortunate results: the work is performed in a more superficial manner which does not produce the same lasting value, and when examinations finally set in, the student at once feels the strain which has been imposed upon him.
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