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"Pass those November Hour Exams!" is the advice sung into the ears of Freshmen by worried parents and harried school principals every year at this time, and despite the monotony of the chant, it is sound counsel. For there can be no doubt that the instructors and section men take a general impression of every Freshman's work from the results of his first Hour Exams, an impression, be it good, bad, or indifferent, that is harder to change as the year wears on. But what those who watch others go into Hour exams for the first time fail to tell them is, that it is not hard to pass the tests, given a reasonable amount of brains and ability, and in general the College is willing to stack the cards in the student's favor.
Hour exams for many who come from far-flung high schools and preparatory schools that do not have the same teaching methods as Harvard, present a high hurdle. The system of teaching is arranged here so that examinations count for a major part of the academic training, especially in Freshman year, where courses are large, and there is no tutorial guidance to help the student on his way. But to pass these examinations it is fair to say that no especial genius is required. When a student has done a fair amount of work and is able to organize his synthesis of this work on paper under pressure, he should have nothing to fear. And although those to whom the technique of taking exams is new may find their first "Hours" a gruelling nightmare, after a little experience, it should not be hard for them to master the terrors that stalked them.
This does not mean, of course, that everybody will pass. In every class there are a certain percentage of gentlemen who prefer to loaf, or let other people do their work for them. With men of this breed the College will, and should make short shrift. Also there will be a few who are incapable of making the grade at college, no matter how hard they try. These, also, will feel the first tickling of the knife about their necks at the current "Hours." But the rest should find no particular difficulty with the tests, and it is to be hoped that each man does as well as he possibly can, in order that the College may make a fair estimate of him at this time, and not under-rate him simply because he has failed to do his best.
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