Hawking began his university education at University College, Oxford, in October 1959 at the age of 17.  For the first 18 months, he was bored and lonely – he found the academic work "ridiculously easy".  His physics tutor, Robert Berman, later said, "It was only necessary for him to know that something could be done, and he could do it without looking to see how other people did it. " A change occurred during his second and third year when, according to Berman, Hawking made more of an effort "to be one of the boys". He developed into a popular, lively and witty college member, interested in classical music and science fiction.  Part of the transformation resulted from his decision to join the college boat club, the University College Boat Club, where he coxed a rowing crew.  The rowing coach at the time noted that Hawking cultivated a daredevil image, steering his crew on risky courses that led to damaged boats.  Hawking estimated that he studied about 1,000 hours during his three years at Oxford. These unimpressive study habits made sitting his finals a challenge, and he decided to answer only theoretical physics questions rather than those requiring factual knowledge. A first-class honours degree was a condition of acceptance for his planned graduate study in cosmology at the University of Cambridge.  Anxious, he slept poorly the night before the examinations, and the final result was on the borderline between first- and second-class honours, making a viva (oral examination) with the Oxford examiners necessary. 
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