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Preliminary Examinations for PhD Programs

Being accepted into a doctoral program doesn’t automatically make you a PhD candidate. In just about every academic field students must pass a preliminary or qualifying exam in order to begin their dissertation research and be considered an official PhD candidate. When you take the exam and what format it takes depends on the field you are in as well as on the individual institution you are attending. The qualifying exam allows the student to demonstrate they have the necessary knowledge in their field to carry out their dissertation research. You can get help from preliminary exam writing service or you can prepare for exams using our tips.

Top 5 Rules for Preliminary Exam Preparation

Preparing to take your prelims is an intimidating task. After all it is intended to be a comprehensive exam covering the specific field you are in. However, there are some basic rules that if followed can make taking your PhD prelims less overwhelming. Here are the top 5 rules for PhD prelim exam preparation:

  • Understand the prelim exam: There are several things you need to know about the prelim exam if you want to complete it successfully. You should know what the exam format is. Is it written, oral or both? If written is it open book? You also need to know how long the exam takes. Some prelims will last several hours. Others could take several weeks or longer to complete. Finally you need to know how your exam will be assessed
  • Know your committee: It is a good idea to get to know something about those who will be on the prelim exam committee. For every prelim exam committee member find out what their academic background is, where they earned their degrees and in which departments. You should also find out what they have published and where as well as what topics they wrote about. Meet with them and ask questions about the prelims to get an idea of what they expect from you and the type of questions they will be inclined to ask.
  • Begin preparations early using a well organized approach: Use a systematic approach to exam preparation that goes from general to specific. Begin with the basics in your field covered in lower level course and continue to specifics covered in upper level classes. Follow this by preparing your research proposal as exam questions are often related to your proposed dissertation topic. Also prepare an answer to the question “Why this PhD?” Based on what you learned in researching committee members be ready to provide answers to anticipated questions. Follow this by taking a practice exam. Finally you should keep yourself apprised of the latest research in your area.
  • Keep stress to a minimum: Being a little bit stressed about prelims is normal. Knowing you have prepared well will reduce stress somewhat. Scheduling your exam for the time of day when you are normally at your best helps keep stress down. Also decide in advance how you will respond to unusual questions or those you don’t know the answer to.
  • Have a plan for exam day: Map out your preliminary or doctoral comprehensive exam day well in advance. Eat a light meal and dress appropriately. Know how you will get to the exam, and have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Arrive early and bring refreshments if there will be a break during the exam.

Basic Tips for PhD Prelim Preparation

preliminary examinations tips

Image credit: BBC.com

Here are a few tips you can use to help prepare for your prelims:

  • Talk to other students: Students who have already completed their prelims can be a valuable source of information.
  • Keep notes: Take detailed notes during classes and on relevant material you read and save them. Organize your notes so information is easy to find and include source information
  • Create a reading list: Ask professors, your supervisor and committee members to review your list and add recommendations
  • Use practice exams to identify weak areas: Put a little extra effort into those areas the practice exam shows you to be a bit weak in.
  • Ask help from a reliable service provider: You can always ask help from professionals. Sometimes it might be much better to get help from preliminary exam writer if you want to prepare for your exams.

Preparing for prelims is not an easy task. If you are having trouble with exam preparation and want to pass the exam our company can help.

Contact us for outstanding doctoral program preliminary exam preparation help provided by PhD degree holders in your field!