by Molly Worthen
This is the season for final exams, but maybe we should drop the pencils, paper and keyboards and start talking instead.
The thought is scary at first. If Chidera Onyeoziri had known that her introductory sociology course required oral exams, “I’m not sure I would have taken the class,” she told me. She was a sophomore at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.; she had never taken an oral exam before.
“I remember putting in a lot of work, spending a lot more time on the course than I otherwise would have,” she said. During the first exam of the semester, she coped with her nerves by getting out of her chair and pacing. Her professor, normally so friendly, stared impassively and interrupted her with questions.
Looking back on the class after a few years, “I can definitely say that’s the course that I remember the most of, and that may be a function of the oral exams,” said Ms. Onyeoziri, today a student at Harvard Law School. Now that she’s planning to be a lawyer, she added, “public speaking is something I really can’t do without, so the oral exams were probably, in the long run, more helpful to me than written exams.” … (continue at The New York Times)
3 thoughts on “Suggested reading: If it was good enough for Socrates, it’s good enough for sophomores”
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The Viva exam brings my memory of the late 60’s when I went through med school & always felt it challenging to spare with my professors in an oral interaction & came out with a high level of satisfaction. At that time when I heard that the American system tested there students on MCQ I though it was very simplistic. Very interesting article. Thank you.
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Socrates didn’t have to give Meno a grade
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