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This may seem a little overwhelming and scary, but by understanding what a comprehensive exam is and all it entails, students can reduce the anxiety that usually arises during these exams. Passing a comprehensive exam, which can be written, oral, or in another format, indicates that the student is ready to move to the dissertation phase of the degree.
Who is comprehensive exam for?
Many master’s programs, especially Ph.D. programs, require students to take comprehensive exams (also known as pre-exams, general exams, or core field exams) as part of their program. The purpose of the comprehensive exam is to make sure that the student is knowledgeable enough in their field of study to make an original contribution.
What is a comprehensive exam?
The meaning of comprehensive exam, often abbreviated as “comps”, is a special type of exam that must be taken by graduate students in some disciplines and courses. As well as undergraduate students in some institutions and departments. Unlike final exams, comprehensive exams do not involve a single course, but test knowledge in one or more general areas of study. Comprehensive postgraduate exams are sometimes also called “prelims” or “generals” as basic field examinations. If these examinations are conducted orally. They may be known as” orals”.
What is the objective of comprehensive exam?
The aim of the exam is to demonstrate written and oral mastery of secondary research, to reflect on the student’s view of the discipline, to prepare him for a career as a professional in this field, and to prepare the student to proceed to his/her dissertation research.
The comprehensive exams will consist of a total of six components, three of which are specific to each student and his/her committee, and three are standard for all students.
How do comprehensive exams work?
There is at least one exam question for a closed book for three hours (or four for students for whom English is not their first language). The division of the other two questions between the closed book and the home exams determines by separate commissions. All parts of the exam that can be taken home, must be completed within 48 hours of receiving the student’s question.
Three exam questions, all from the subject area of the student. This includes as follows. one question from the theory and methods, and one question especially determines the student commitment.
Specializations are defined as those in which the student wishes to focus his or her studies. Such as ethnography of communication about nature, critical analysis of discourse and race, cultural production and sustainability, games and media effects, ethnography of productivity, and higher education.
Theories and methods typically consist of theories and tools in general, as well as those that a student will rely on most in a research career in their field. Such as social construction theories and ethnographic research methods.
Requirements for comprehensive exam
Again, they will be different in different schools and programs, with some requiring everything and others requiring some.
- Minimum grade point average.
- Completion of all term papers.
- Completion of the doctoral residency, if applicable to the program.
- Completion of documents, for example, request forms for a comprehensive exam.
- Additional requirements for students of licensing or internship programs are possible.
How to prepare for comprehensive exam
· Start with your coursework
Preparation for the exam begins when you start your coursework. This is not what you do two weeks before the exam. If you follow your readings.
Keep good notes (which you review periodically) and spend time thinking about the meaning of what you have studied. You will prepare for the exam. The course as a whole reflect parts of the process. What is the big picture? How do the topics of the course relate to each other?
· condense your notes into a workable unit
When you have completed each course, consolidate your notes into a work unit. Think again about what the general course was about. What do you need to be able to use this information? Keep your books and notes in an easily accessible place.
Too often, students spend too much time just looking for their information; keeping it together will make the process easier. We offer to buy a large plastic container in which you will store your notebooks, books, notes, evaluated projects, and handouts.
· Set up a study schedule 6 months early and stick to it
Remember that you will take the exam while taking other courses. You will be busy only with the traditional coursework. Don’t wait to start preparing for the exam. Start the process at least six months before the exam. Make a schedule and stick to it. Create a history for yourself and publish it somewhere you will see regularly. Create a study group. Meet with your group regularly and share notes.
Even the most diligent students will miss some points in the notes. Swap copies of notes with another student and review his / her information about yours. Give yourself plenty of time so that if you have questions, you can discuss them with another student. It is strongly recommended to exchange notes by the end of each course.
· Be as thorough and complete as possible on both the take-home and in-class sections
About 14 days before the lesson, you will be given a part of the exam that you can take home. You will know when your exam will take place. Clear your calendar! This is one of the cases where the school should be a priority. Do not try to prepare for the part of the exam in the classroom at the same time as you write the part – you will be overwhelmed. Complete your class before getting the part you can take home.
Be as thorough and complete as possible in both the home and classroom sections. One good tip for the part you can take home is to imagine that you are completing the answers to the written questions asked by your potential employer (the one you really want to work for).
You want to convince your employer that you know what you are doing and have a thorough understanding of your profession. This is what readers are looking for.
· Rest your brain a day before the exam
Finish the day or two before the exam. Try to relax the night before class. Get a good night’s sleep. Do not stay up late for training; you will be tired and confused. Collect your materials (pencils, erasers, clock, and portion home) early in the evening before class so you don’t have to panic in the morning looking for something.
What is the difference between comprehensive and cumulative exam?
Most universities and other educational institutions today consider the comprehensive exam as one of the main requirements that students must pass, and it is usually called a “comprehensive exam” while a cumulative exam demonstrates your ability to understand the materials provided throughout the year or semester. This allows teachers to make sure that students not only read these materials in order to follow the rules but also are able to understand what they are reading.
Do I need comprehensive or cumulative exam?
Of course, you can’t choose and decide which of these two your teachers will need. Therefore, it is very important that you are aware of their nature and the steps to prepare for them. The cumulative final exams can be lengthy and require a lot of effort on your part, as they cover even those taken during the first day of the semester, but they allow you to develop important habits that will help you in the future.