Ec 10 Renames Practice Exams ‘Unit Reviews’

Course staff for Harvard’s flagship undergraduate economics course have renamed the practice exam portion of the class to reflect its role as a place for academic support.

Formerly called “Unit Tests” and now called “Unit Reviews,” the optional exams for the course, Economics 10: “Principles of Economics,” will still function as practice tests for students to demonstrate their knowledge of the material, said Anne Le Brun, the course’s new head teaching fellow.

Le Brun succeeds Ec 10’s longtime head TF David W. Johnson, who left Harvard at the end of last school year.

Undergraduate students who previously served as Ec 10 peer “graders” are now are called “tutors,” and students who oversee the tutors are called supervisors.

“The change in terminology is just to make students aware of the support function of this program,” Le Brun said. “The word ‘test’ and ‘graders,’ I think ... it potentially could stress people out.”

Ec 10 has five of these optional “Unit Reviews,” each with several versions and offered eight times. If students wish to participate in the review, they are assigned a deadline based on who serves as their teaching fellow.

Depending on how students demonstrate knowledge of the course material, they receive passing or failing marks from the peer tutors on duty. Regardless of students’ grades, those tutors subsequently review the practice exams with the Ec 10 students.

James M. Graham ’17, formerly a course grader and a supervisor of the program this year, said he appreciates the new Unit Review name.

“The program really focuses on solidifying economic concepts through tutoring based on a test,” Graham wrote in an email. “As such, it's more about the tutoring than the test itself, hence the name change.”

Le Brun described the program as “really nice, informal walk-in tutoring.”

Over the summer, Rachel Deyette Werkema, the course staff member responsible for coordinating Ec 10 Unit Reviews, suggested the name change, an idea that “seemed like a lot of sense,” Le Brun said.

Werkema referred The Crimson to Le Brun and course instructor N. Gregory Mankiw, writing in an email, “the economics department would prefer that you speak directly to [them].”

Apart from Unit Review tutors, students who serve as Ec 10 tutors through the Bureau of Study Counsel said the name change highlights how well the program complements the course.

“As far as the program goes, I think it’s very helpful to go over the material, and I encourage all of my tutees [to participate],” BSC tutor Eric J. Hollenberg ’17 said, adding, “If they’ve changed the name to make it more accessible, then great—I think that only helps.”

—Staff writer Melissa C. Rodman can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @melissa_rodman.