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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 asking help from preliminary exam writers or passing them on their own. 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.

Even the best and most qualified students still face prelims challenges. Taking a PhD qualifying exam requires a lot of effort, preparatio, and knowledge on your part. After all, the standards and expectations for PhD students are high. Let’s take a look at the acceptance rates of some of the world’s best universities.

  • Cornell University. Across all programs, the acceptance range ranges from 13% to 16%. For their PhD in Computer Science, they have an acceptance rate of 16.4% whereas in History, it is just 14%.
  • Duke University. This university has a relatively low acceptance range. History PhD is only at 9% whereas English PhD is at 6%.
  • Harvard University. Considered to be one of the top universities in the world, in getting into a PhD business program, the average acceptance rate is at 10.7%
  • MIT. In Massachusetts Institute of Technology, across all grad admissions, the average rate is 13% which is relatively higher compared to others.
  • New York University. If you want to get into the School of Business, brace yourself for the NYU is not that easy to get into. Their acceptance rate of PhD Accounting is at 2.1%, same as PhD Economics and Marketing.

Simply looking at the data, one can easily see how difficult and competitive it is to get into these universities. But no need to worry, we have experts to provide assistance with your prelims.
phd qualifying exam tips

Tips and Suggestions for PhD Prelims Preparation

PhD qualifying exam is very challenging to hurdle. To get into a reputable university and the program, you really have to exert a huge amount of effort to pass the preliminary test. The following are some basic tips you can use to assist you with your qualifying exam preparations for the PhD comprehensive exam questions:

  • 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.
  • Prior to taking the exam, be aware of what is expected from you. Having a dialogue and not being afraid to ask questions can significantly help.
  • Preparation is key. In an exam, you need to give yourself enough time to prepare. Make sure that you organize your data. When writing proposals, allot about 2 months so have time to study and master everything that you need to know.
  • Read and read. There is no guarantee that you can answer everything. But when you read and write notes, you are most likely to be able to answer the questions.
  • 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 of 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!