Tag Archives: Comprehensive examination

Surviving the Comprehensive Oral Exam

Matura (oral part) - during exam.
You may be asked to diagram you ideas, so be prepared. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article originally appeared at Gradhacker.org on April 26th, 2013.

While my last Gradhacker post focused on the written aspect of comprehensive exams, for many graduate students there is another, equally dreaded component: the oral examination.

For even the most prepared students, this can be an intense and difficult experience. However, with enough preparation and the right mindset the oral examination can actually be an enjoyable experience where you get to talk about your ideas with members of your committee.

Having just completed this hurdle myself I’d like to go over some of the things that worked and those that I wish I had known before undertaking this process. This advice is the most relevant for those of you defending a written document that you’ve had time to prepare, but some of this will be applicable to more generalized oral examination formats. Continue reading Surviving the Comprehensive Oral Exam

Deconstructing the Written Comprehensive Exam

We've all felt like this at some point leading up to comprehensive exams. Photo from Flickr user Jixar, used under CC license.
We’ve all felt like this at some point leading up to comprehensive exams. Photo from Flickr user Jixar, used under CC license.

This article appeared in its original form at Gradhacker.org on March 22, 2013.

The dreaded written comprehensive exam. Many graduate students will have to pass some form of comprehensive exam at some point in their program. This can often include putting together a multi-page grant-style project proposal. Putting one of these together for the first time can be a daunting process if you are unprepared. But have no fear, there are ways to make crafting a solid document far less painful and even somewhat enjoyable.

Now at this point I have to mention that this advice will be most relevant for students preparing an exam on their own projects in the style of an NIH grant. However, this basic approach can apply to putting together any large proposal for your project. Continue reading Deconstructing the Written Comprehensive Exam