Sunday, March 22, 2009

Comprehensive Exams - Part I

Regardless of the number of times, the different ways, or the various people we asked, no one prepared us for the emotional toll of the comprehensive exams. Our small group asked the students who were one year ahead of us and received snarls and nasty faces -- I guess the impression that we were to get was that it was distasteful. The testing professors gave us the sage advice of study as you did for your finals, that should work. Then the week prior to the exams, the lead professor advised each of us that 10 hours of studying a day was not going to be enough!!!! By that time, I was no where near 10 hours of studying a day - more like eight hours, if I was lucky. I did take 6 days of vacation time off to study, but I should have taken more.

After the exams, subsets of our small group got together to see if we could recall the individual questions, in case we had to go into 'rewrites' for the exams, which was my personal goal and the goal of a couple of others. Our goal of getting to the 'rewrite' level was based on the discussion of the other professors that nearly no other student that they could recall would pass the exams -- many have failed, and if you are lucky, you would get to the 'rewrite' stage.

So we gathered together to see if we could recall the questions and discuss our answers -- what a drama we started among other students and the professors -- story best left to after completion of this entire process.

So we started studying together until a month later when we received notification of our scores -- and a paragraph requiring our signature stating that we would not discuss the exam with other students -- now or ever -- which is probably why the older students would / could not give us any information on what was on the exam.

For some insane reason, I felt as if I had possibly passed one or more of the four comprehensive exams -- not one! So, I am in rewrite mode for all four exams. I did complete one rewrite and received word that I am ready for orals for that one. I am dragging my feet on the other three -- three instructors with three different approaches to the rewrites, all different and only one instructor has been my classroom instructor, so I am unsure what they want.

So, that is the reason for the lapse between posts, and there may be another lapse until I complete the other three rewrites. O yea, and I am launching a new business in the midst of this as I am working full-time and my only daughter is getting married in four months.

Parts II and beyond to come later.