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How Hard Is PhD Qualifying Exam?

Importance of the PhD Preliminary Test

Most doctoral programs require students to take a qualifying exam at some point. Exactly when depends on the academic field as well as the particular institution. A student may be in a PhD program for two years or more before taking their preliminary exam. Generally, qualifying exams are taken after all coursework is complete. Qualifying exams in PhD programs can be given in a number of different formats and may be written and/or oral. Exam format also depends on the field and individual program.

Regardless of the format or field, the main purpose of the examination is to determine if students have acquired the necessary knowledge to conduct their dissertation research. Generally, research for students PhD dissertations cannot begin until the preliminary examination has been passed. Anyway, if you have a question: “how to write my PhD qualifying exam?”, you have to remember that is is a complex exam that requires a lot of preparations.

PhD Qualifying Exam Pass Rates

One of the major concerns of PhD students in the pass/fail rates for those taking qualifying examinations. Unfortunately, this is a question that doesn’t have a simple answer. Pass rates for qualifying examinations depend on the institution, department and academic field. In some PhD programs, 95 percent of students taking the exam are successful. In other programs, the pass rate may be 20 percent or lower.

It is necessary to check with each individual institution to determine what percentage of PhD students pass their preliminary exam. Even at the same institution pass rates can vary a great deal from one department to another. Fortunately failing the qualifying exam doesn’t always mean the end of your PhD hopes. Many programs will allow you a second and sometimes third chance at the exam. However, this can tack another semester or two onto the length of time it takes to complete the PhD program.
phd qualifying exam tips

Tips and Suggestions for PhD Prelims Preparation

The following are some basic tips you can use to assist you with your qualifying exam preparations for the preliminary exam:

  • Determine what is expected: Find out what format the exam will take, how long you have to take it and what criteria is used to assess the exam. This information can benefit you when it comes time to take the exam.
  • Talk to people: What people? Students who have already taken the exam are a great source of information. Your professors and committee members are also a valuable resource you should take advantage of.
  • Take and save notes: Make sure you take detailed notes in lectures and on relevant literature that you read. Organize your notes so that information is easy to locate.
  • Practice exams: One of the best ways to prepare for PhD preliminary exams is practice tests. Taking a practice exam will give you an idea what to expect and help you identify any areas you are weak in.
  • Set attainable goals: Preparing for your PhD qualifying examination may take 3 to 6 months. Set some daily or weekly goals that you can realistically achieve. Meeting goals you have set will help keep you in a positive frame of mind and give you confidence.
  • Ask for professional help: It is not a secret that there are a lot of ways to get professional PhD qualifying exam help. Sometimes it is much better to find good PhD qualifying exam service that will help you to prepare for your exam.

Preparing for your PhD comprehensive exam is no easy task. Our company offers assistance with preliminary examination preparation should you require it.

Contact us for expert help with PhD qualifying exam and doctoral prelims preparation provided by PhD degree holders in your field!