Questions tagged [qualifying-exam]

A qualifying (a.k.a. preliminary) exam is an exam that qualifies a student to continue studies at a higher level.

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How to reduce stress before your qualifying exam

I'm taking my qualifying exam next Friday and I'm wondering what I should do the day before to help reduce my anxiety. Do you recommend last-minute studying or taking the day off to relax and reflect?
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3 votes
2 answers
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Can you transfer universities after successfully passing qualifying exams and begin with ABD status at the new university?

If a PhD student were to transfer universities after completing Course requirements Qualifying exams but not yet started a dissertation, could the student start at a new university with ABD status? ...
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Is it common to drop 50% of PhD students in a program?

I recently spoke to a graduate coordinator of a mathematics PhD program I was planning to apply to. I asked about admission, requirements to complete the degree and such. The program coordinator ended ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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How to approach my PhD advisor after failing a qualifiying exam?

I'm a first-year Ph.D. student in STEM who recently took their qualifying exams, in which we take two. I absolutely failed one and passed the other with flying colors (according to a faculty member). ...
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What is the the history of Qualifying Exams in the US?

I've been trying to do some research on the history of Qualifying Exams in the US; but, unfortunately, I've not been able to find anything other than the occasional quote, and nothing before the 1950s....
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2 answers
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Failed my 2nd Qualifying Exam in PhD. Absolutely devastated. How to proceed?

I just failed my 2nd Qualifying Exam in my PhD program. It was supposed to be a 60,000 word paper but it was an incomplete work. I am in my 4th year at my PhD and my research is in field of humanities....
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1 vote
2 answers
581 views

Second try for PhD after failing comprehensive exam

Two years ago I failed my comprehensive exam at the US PhD program, although my advisor was happy with my results. Then, I started to work at one of the top companies, but, I have never ever given up ...
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Asked to Provide a Submitted Manuscript that is not Published Yet

A student of mine and I submitted a manuscript for publication. It is currently under review. My student applied for a postgraduate degree program. The advisor (professor) of this program asked her to ...
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"In the event of failure, the candidate will be asked to withdraw from the Graduate Program.", How is it different from being fired?

This is from a document explaining the procedure for the comprehensive exam for entering the Ph.D. candidacy at my school. It mentions that the potential candidate should withdraw from the Ph.D. ...
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3 votes
3 answers
360 views

Final Exam: Proficiency Needed for Guaranteed Pass

Is it common to guarantee students a passing course grade if they demonstrate proficiency in some subset of topics/skills on a final exam? Note that this is in contrast to setting an upper bound on a ...
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2 votes
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Am I likely to struggle in a high-ranked PhD program, if I struggled to get GPA of 3.5 in my master's?

I want to be realistic whether I am a material who can complete PhD at top universities such as Stanford, Princeton, Berkeley or Caltech. Grad school courses were hard. I scored 3.5 GPA in my ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Problem with a cheater

I will be taking something similar to an entry exam for university. I also had another exam last week and then one person tried to cheat off me, but I didn't let him. Now I'm a little bit anxious that ...
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Is having a co-adviser a good idea in a PhD program

I'm currently doing a PhD in mathematics and have been working with my current adviser for almost a year. My adviser is at an advanced age, however, even though he still has a couple of more graduate ...
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2 answers
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How to cope with failing qualify exams?

I am a graduate student in mathematics and I recently found out that I failed my qualify exams. I have the chance to take them next year. But now I am really concerning my future. The problem is that ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
182 views

Unfair evaluation of written qualification [closed]

I recently took my Ph.D qualification exam. Out of the 4 exams I took, I passed 3 and I failed one. My professor failed me because I failed the written one and because of that, I failed the oral exam ...
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Appeal process for PhD dismissal due to health issues

What is the best way to craft the appeal letter based on health issues to have one last chance for taking the qualifying exam? Those health and mental issues have been already documented through a ...
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3 answers
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What is the chance of making a successful appeal to dismissal decision from a PhD program after failing the qualifying exam in the 2nd attempt? [closed]

I’m about to get dismissed from a PhD program because I failed in the 2nd attempt of the qualifying exam. Currently, I'm thinking of the option to appeal the dismissal decision due to a long history ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Anxiety and depression about the future of my PhD study

I did my master in one lab and am continuing my PhD here. My advisor asked me to do some research that he doesn't know, and is also beyond the domain of my current major. I have no other choices so I ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What Happens When Schools Cannot Provide A Placement Exam? [closed]

I am attempting to pass a class by exam this term, due to the fact that this is an option provided by the school and I need to in order to stay on track. I did this the previous term, but due to a ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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In the GRE, why are we allowed to use calculators and not dictionaries? [closed]

Basic arithmetic is pretty trivial, but it can take time and is often very tedious for large quantities and so they allow us to use calculators when writing the GRE (Graduate Records Examination). ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is it ok for an examiner to hide exam reviews

We recently had our final exam for our bachelor degree and most of us haven't passed it, despite all the hard work we've put into it and the difference in our expectations for the results. We asked ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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What are some tips for passing qualifying written exam (i.e., writing a lot in a week)?

My school's comprehensive qualifying procedure has thee parts. A paper that is a synthesis and analysis of the literature on my topic, A written exam that lasts 5 days, and An oral exam on my topic....
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Failed PhD qualifying exam, must it be mentioned it in SOP? can I ask my advisor not to mentions in recommendation letter?

I failed my written PhD qualifying exam twice in Computer Science from a middle-ranked university. Instead of kicking me out, I can get a terminal master's degree. Please note that this will be my ...
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Should I turn down PhD offer if I think I may not pass qualifying exam (risking immigration issues if I fail)? [closed]

I am done with my MS in EECS from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and I currently working full time in a good company on OPT. I will be defending my MS Thesis in coming December. Moreover, when ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Change of interest right before qualifying exam

I'm a first-year pure math PhD student. I'm going to take an oral qualifying exam in a few months, and for this I need to find at least one person who agrees to be my adviser and one of the examiners ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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How will failing a PhD qualifying exam affect admission to other PhD programs in the future?

My son, 25, just got notified that he didn't pass his qualifier the second time around so he's been dropped from his PhD program. As a parent, I only want my child to be successfully happy, both in ...
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1 answer
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How do deal with low self-confidence after a failed research rotation?

In short, my third rotation research supervisor withdrew support on a Friday afternoon before my scheduled qualifying exam the following Wednesday. I had been rotating in the lab for about three ...
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39 votes
7 answers
4k views

Why do past PhD exams appear more difficult than current ones?

I noticed while doing practice math PhD exams that the newer exams tend to be a bit easier than the older exams. The online archive goes back about ten years or so, but I was able to dig up some old ...
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1 vote
2 answers
210 views

Should I decide research field base on my performance on qualifying exam?

I'm about one year into a math Ph.D. program. With some scientific computing background in undergraduate and master study, my research interests are in numerical analysis/PDE or probability. All of ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
160 views

Stay in Institution or Move to a new institution [closed]

Last time I reported that I had failed my qualifier and now have been asked to leave. In that time, I have done the prep work to exit out of with my masters with a presentation for my Masters work ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Serving sweets at an oral qualifying exam

What are your opinions on serving sweets at an oral exam. The only people attending would be the exam committee members. For my master's degree I was at a school where it was customary for everyone ...
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1 vote
2 answers
1k views

Studying for mathematics comprehensive exams

Should mathematics PhD students work through all of the past exams, if, say, the department makes the last 20 years of exam questions available to students? Or should students mainly focus on the ...
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9 votes
2 answers
877 views

Are there any studies on the effectiveness of Qualifying examinations in Graduate Schools

Is any of you aware of studies that show how a Qualifying examination affects things like success in an Academic career, publications, etc. As many of you know, there are many countries that do not ...
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Who grades the mathematics phd comprehensive exams? [closed]

Is it a committee of professors, or is it one professor -- whomever wrote the exams?
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3 votes
1 answer
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Appealing failure in PhD qualifying exams

For a student who has failed the PhD qualifying exams twice, is there usually any hope for him/her appealing to stay in the school? Any advice from professors/students with experience in this will be ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Being asked to pay penalty if fail PhD qualifying exam

Just to ask, how common is it for universities to ask a PhD student (fully funded) who has failed the qualifying exams to pay back partially or in full their stipend? I heard some anecdotes that ...
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7 votes
2 answers
866 views

First try vs second try for PhD Qualifying Exam

For universities that give two tries for passing the PhD qualifying exams, are the two tries "equal"? In the sense that does the committee consider more carefully on the second and last try of the ...
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5 votes
6 answers
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How to proceed after failing exam to advance into PhD program, and subsequently losing motivation? [closed]

I have completed masters in Pure Mathematics a year back. I was preparing for an exam for pursuing a PhD program in the same. The results came out in this year in the month of April and found that I ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Expulsion from doctoral program

I was recently expelled from doctoral program in English for plagiarism in qualifying exam. Although it was for the lack of a citation, I attended a major research university with a zero tolerance ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Do non-Russian technical universities use Olympiad-style math/problem solving entrance exams?

In the U.S., colleges typically don't use entrance exams to select students. For test results they rely instead on standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. I heard that the top technical math/science ...
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Food for comprehensive or qualifying exam?

So it's pretty much an unwritten rule at least in biology departments in the USA that when a student is defending his or her thesis/dissertation that they provide some sort of food or refreshments. ...
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1 vote
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Withdrawing from PhD with or without a Master Degree

I have taken a leave of absence from my PhD program due to health reasons and since my health has improved dramatically over the past year, I am seriously considering never coming back. I have ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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What is the role and format of the qualifying exam in CS/ECE programs where the exam is not in the form of a comprehensive written exam?

I realize there are different forms that a qualifying exam can take in CS / ECE PhD programs. In departments where this does not take the form of a comprehensive written exam: What is the role that ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Value of PhD candidacy ("ABD")

If one is intending on leaving a graduate program before completing their PhD, is there value in obtaining candidacy status before leaving? Does it depend on where they are leaving to? If so, ...
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8 votes
5 answers
3k views

Do European PhD programs have a qualifying exam, and if so, what form do they take?

Now, I understand that European PhDs are far from monolithic in format, and that most quals in my field (physics) can fall into two general formats, as far as North American PhD programs are concerned:...
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9 votes
3 answers
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What is the best way to appeal an unfair qualifier exam decision?

Recently, I took the PhD qualifier exams for my department. In my dept. there are 3 exams, each covering a subfield (say subfield A, B, and C). First you are given an hour to work through several ...
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22 votes
3 answers
8k views

Are frustrations with lack of fairness and transparency on PhD qualifying exam warranted?

I apologize for the length of this post but I feel it is necessary to accurately convey the severity of the situation. I greatly appreciate those who take the time to offer advice. I am a prospective ...
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4 votes
1 answer
3k views

Does failing the qualifying exam leave a record?

For a PhD student, is it common that failing a qualified exam and thus leaving the PhD program results in a termination record, which any future academic program (the student will apply to) will be ...
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20 votes
5 answers
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Why do some universities not have a comprehensive exam?

I spotted that some universities do not have a comprehensive exam for their PhD students while it is standard at most universities (specifically for computer science). For what reasons do some ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Is it legal in the US for a professor to publicly reveal a student's performance in PhD comprehensive exams?

Is it legal (for a faculty member) to publicly reveal a student's performance in PhD comprehensive exams? In the US, isn't this in violation of FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of ...
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