Post # 1
So, I’m finishing my 4th year of grad school (I’m getting my PhD in art history), and I’m studying for my orals exam. This is, hopefully, the last test I’ll ever take, and once/if I pass it, I’ll move on to the dissertation phase. It’s also the craziest exam ever in terms of the amount of material I’m responsible for and in the sense that there is no real way to be totally prepared.
Are there any other PhD brides out there who have taken orals in the humanities before, or who know they’ll have to take orals eventually? I have one month left to study, and I’m totally overwhelmed with grading student papers right now (I also teach 3 undergrad courses), and on top of that, I’m procrastinating all of it with wedding planning! Anyone else in a similar situation who can sympathize, or anyone who can advise on orals-passing strategies, I’d love to hear from you!
Post # 3
I’m finishing up a doctorate in clinical psychology, and we sat for our comprehensive exams last August. What worked for me was setting up a study schedule covering all the areas that I expected to be on the exams. I also worked with a study group, which was tremendously helpful but may not be feasible for you if your program is very small. We created “study guides” by outlining and summarizing different areas of the literature/theory.
I would also advocate scheduling in study time – for me, it was twice a week for three hours for the six weeks before the exams. This helped stave off panic and allowed time for all the other things in my life without feeling like I was procrastinating. I would suggest scheduling specific time for your different obligations – say, making Monday evenings from 6-10pm your wedding planning time and Tues/Thurs/Sat from 8am-11am your studying time, for example.
Post # 4
I’m gearing up for my qualifying exams and I feel you – there is just so much material and I feel like I will never learn it all. Just take a deep breath and take it one day at a time. Talk to people who have passed the exam and see what they reccomend for studying techniques, and once again – BREATHE. You can delegate your wedding tasks, you can’t delegate your exams. Good luck!