IT IS a common misperception that students are work-shy layabouts. According to figures collected in Europe, Portuguese students are the most academically assiduous, spending over 40 hours a week at lectures and in the library. And even English students in higher education, seemingly the least likely to flick through a recommended text, put in over 25 hours a week. Yet an element of doubt remains. The estimates of working hours were supplied by students themselves, who may have considered time spent in the college bar as indistinguishable from any other period of study.