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EXAMS

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EXAMS

Postby Sonic# » Mon Sep 26, 15:01 2011

Why is this under happiness and not ranting? Because I passed.

Graduate programs can vary a lot, but generally for a PhD, there is some sort of qualifying benchmark before you do a dissertation project. In my case, I have two related exams. The first are written. I had to answer 3 questions in 3 days, with 10 pages for each essay. Grueling? Yes. Impossible to answer fully? Yes. Do you read over them two weeks later and cringe over some of the obvious errors? Yes. So, after writing them, I was both impressed with how much I knew, and humbled by how much I couldn't say.

Today, I had my oral component. It consists of up to two hours of fielding questions about my field, my interests, and the like. I came into it with an anxious eagerness taped together with some veneer of calmness. According to other people, I should've been falling apart left and right, but I think I restricted the falling apart to Minecraft binges over the last few weeks. My voice, affected by allergies, managed to hold for the exam. I fielded many questions, sometimes with relative grace, sometimes fumbling for the right words, but I always had some answer, even if it wasn't great. That, thankfully, was enough. My committee members congratulated me, I decompressed with a few of my friends, and now I'm in a coffee shop making extremely unhealthy choices.

But I passed! I can write a dissertation! I won't be tossed out prematurely. My higher-ups are now, in some measure, my peers! My year of effort was not for nothing. I feel like I could eat an eclair and drink hot chocolate at the same time! Wait - I think I just did. OM NOM.
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Re: EXAMS

Postby rowan » Mon Sep 26, 15:10 2011

WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Global warming is intricately tied to the decline in the pirate population. As the pirate population goes down, the average global temperature goes up. Ergo, pirates are cool, and we need more pirates. :pirate: ARRR!
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Re: EXAMS

Postby monk » Mon Sep 26, 15:41 2011

That's awesome, now you get to officially contribute an original idea to our accumulated human knowledge and have people call you DOC!

When your dissertation gets accepted we need to make Spacefem change your username to Doc Sonic#.

oh, and have an :icecream: you deserve it for the work you've done so far.
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage? - Pink Floyd.
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Re: EXAMS

Postby Butterfly North » Mon Sep 26, 15:41 2011

Healthy coffee shop decisions are not an option at this time. Woooo! Well done!
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Re: EXAMS

Postby zxanguissettexz » Mon Sep 26, 17:39 2011

Congrats! That's so awesome!!!!!
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Re: EXAMS

Postby cwbyrvr » Mon Sep 26, 18:26 2011

Congrats! Good luck on the dissertation.
spacefem wrote:incidently, hearing "i love you" doesn't count if you're naked. it's just too easy to love a naked person.

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Re: EXAMS

Postby Sonic# » Tue Sep 27, 20:13 2011

Thank you all, and I'll take all the luck I can get.

My indiscretions on Monday (a glass of wine, hot chocolate, and an eclair, you say?), combined with my allergies and my vocal exertions, have resulted in a lost voice. I can speak at one very deep tone with some exertion. I've given the vocal cords a break today, and I think I'll have more range again by tomorrow. In any case, because it doesn't hurt and I have no other symptoms, I mainly find it amusing.
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Re: EXAMS

Postby Eravial » Wed Sep 28, 3:59 2011

Congrats!!!

So, some questions from a nascent academic. What would have happened had you not passed? Like, would you actually be tossed out? Or like, tossed out with a Master's consolation prize? Or could you keep doing work until you could try again? And does this happen only in certain fields or does it happen in most fields, and/or does it vary by university? I'm in science, and I haven't heard of my grad student friends at my school having to defend anything formally til their thesis.
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Re: EXAMS

Postby Sonic# » Wed Sep 28, 6:33 2011

Good question

In my case, I had three reading lists that I designed with my committee members, and I could have failed any one or all three of those. If that happened, I would have had to retake the ones I failed. If I failed the retake, I would be tossed out of school. No master's consolation (which I get if I pass). Nothing. Given that my advisor really *wants* me to pass (find one of those), he had me take it when I was ready and not before. But it was still high stakes, and I think that the culture here really talks up the exams (partly because we don't have a required dissertation defense - though I'm going to have one, dammit).

The process varies somewhat by department here, and it does vary by university. Many places have comprehensive exams, where you learn everything in a particular field in order to pass a test that everyone else takes. The department here (English) eliminated that several years ago, but the Philosophy department still does it as their main form of qualifying exam (take a test in every field but your own). At the school I attended for undergrad, the graduate students picked a few comprehensive exams to take. I think that you'll likely some form of comprehensive or qualifying exam if you're in the humanities, but the format may change a lot in other fields.
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Re: EXAMS

Postby edit the sad parts » Thu Sep 29, 18:05 2011

Huzzah! *highfive*
What was once before you - an exciting, mysterious future - is now behind you. Lived; understood; disappointing. You realize you are not special. You have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. This is everyone's experience. Every single one. The specifics hardly matter. Everyone's everyone.
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Re: EXAMS

Postby Mathmo » Fri Sep 30, 2:43 2011

YEEEEEAAAAAHH!!! Congratulations! That's amazing! Well done! :) :roll: :rainbowsmile:
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Re: EXAMS

Postby Eravial » Fri Sep 30, 10:40 2011

Thanks for the answer!!
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Re: EXAMS

Postby rowan » Fri Sep 30, 11:12 2011

I totally varies per field and somewhat by department/institution. In astro usually there are qualifying exams, which can take the form of either or both of written + oral exam (and what form those are vary by department). Then after that you may or may not be able to get a master's degree, depending on several factors (assuming you pass) such as if you're enrolled as PhD student, they may not assign you the master's degree if you pass unless you do a thesis as well or maybe they will or maybe they won't at all. Which means if you leave as ABD (all but dissertation) you may or may not have a master's degree, which may or may not screw you over. Every PhD that I am aware of (in astro) is a defense of the dissertation, however.

Needless to say this is a question you should ask of any department you are considering, if you can't figure out the details from their website. Bear in mind they will always make it sound easier than it really is.
Global warming is intricately tied to the decline in the pirate population. As the pirate population goes down, the average global temperature goes up. Ergo, pirates are cool, and we need more pirates. :pirate: ARRR!
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Re: EXAMS

Postby xo_disturbed_ox » Thu Oct 6, 16:24 2011

Ah! Props to you for working so hard ...and succeeding!! You should definitely reward yourself now...oh, the goodies within coffee shops! CONGRATULATIONS! :cocktail:
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