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Placing responsibility for the harmful effects of cramming on the shoulders of professors and textbooks as well as students, the Bureau of Educational Surveys of New York City recently estimated that Harvard students sacrificed a total of 5400 pounds while cramming for mid-years.
Bureau statisticians arrived at the figure by multiplying an average weight loss of two pounds by the 90 per cent of the student body believed to engage in intensive study before examinations.
Instructors too often do not present sufficiently complete course reviews, leaving the student "hopelessly involved in a mass of facts and ideas," according to the Bureau's report. Cramming is resorted to as a "final, desperate measure."
Poor continuity and organization characterizes many textbooks. Many present the material in "too ponderous and technical a manner for the average student's comprehension," the report finds. Lectures are sometimes not couched "in terms understandable to the average student."
Quoting Dr. John Black Johnson, retired dean of the University of Minnesota, the report states that "the 52 per cent of all students who can never become successful . . . would never pass at all but for the use of college outlines or other supplementary aids to study.
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