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By deciding to sponser free reviews for final examinations the Union Committee of 1940 takes up the cudgels laid down since last year. Neglected at mid-years, these reviews for final examinations should be welcomed by all Freshmen, and particularly those lost in the trackless maze of large, none-too-well-organized survey courses.
Last year it was estimated that from one-third to one-half of those enrolled in such courses as History 1, Government 1, and Biology D took advantage of the opportunity to correlate their knowledge. At finals ten reviews were given, among the most successful of which were Chemistry A and History 1. To the former came two-thirds of those enrolled to unsnarl their formula-ridden minds. As for the latter review it threw a beam of light across six hundred years and caused the broad outlines of the whole to fall into meaningful order. The most severe jolt handed the Committee was during the review of Government 1, when the students walked out on the lecturer.
From last year's uneven experience one all-important conclusion may be drawn--everything depends upon the reviewer. He must be a man who is enthusiastic and willing to spend himself in an effort to bring into focus a half-year's work. His summary must be a happy synthesis of facts and significant trends. If he shirks, if he warms over a few cold lecture notes, he will lose his own audience and do much to blight a slowly-blossoming system.
This year's Committee is ambitious; it wishes to provide reviews for all courses which include fifty or more Freshmen. In pursuit of this worthy goal, it must not overlook details, particularly the judicious selection of instructors, in its haste to round out a big job.
Such reviews cannot drive tutoring schools to the wall, for they will not "spot" questions or feed students strained pap. That is not their purpose. But they can, if properly organized, perform an important and legitimate function--one sometimes provided by tutoring schools--that of crystallizing knowledge and remedying some of the notorious defects of Harvard's course instruction.
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