What They Didn’t Tell You on the Admissions Tour: Reading and Finals Periods

On the Admissions Tour, the perky Harvard undergraduates kindly inform you how delightful it is that Harvard is one of the few schools with an extended amount of time set aside for reading period and that we have an extended amount of time set aside for finals period.

However, they’ve conveniently glossed over a few essential facts about reading and finals period.

1) Each final is 3 HOURS long!

So, if you have four classes, this means you have 12 HOURS of exams.

2) Professors are fond of assigning papers due during reading period.

This means that instead of studying you will be slaving to complete your papers. Be warned when taking a core with both a final and a final paper.

3) Some classes still meet during reading period.

Aka, mandatory introductory language classes and often, science and math classes enjoy making you learn new material that the professor was unable to cover in the alloted time. Obviously, their main concern is that you learn as much as you possibly can from the course.

4) Review sessions all get scheduled at the end of reading period.

This means, bouncing from one review session to another, shopping review sessions, and generally realizing before it is almost too late, that you know nothing!

5) Reading and finals periods in the “fall” semester make the “fall” semester extend to February!

Thus, you get to ponder what you didn’t learn in the first week of your core class in the last week or so of January while your friends are having their last hurrah back home.

6) The college kicks you out 18 hours after your last spring final.

When even the messiest person takes to organizing and cleaning as a procrastination method….


7) Everyone complains, no one wants to listen.

Note irony. Har, har.

As to why Surviving Harvard has not been recently updated by either John or me, please see above. Peace.

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