Saturday, March 23, 2013

Comp Exams...

Today, 15 students took the same comp exam I took last June. Unlike the two subsequent exams, I spent some time with most of those students in online sessions, one in face to face, and two in email exchanges. I shared materials that had been given to me to prepare, as well as my own experience with the three hours that they'd spend summing up the knowledge they'd gained in eleven classes.

Now, I'm anxious to hear how they did. Not quite as much as they are, but definitely invested in hearing they succeeded. I am hoping some of the information I shared about my experience helped them, things like:

  • Study one content area per day.
  • Focus your efforts on your weakest area first.
  • Write so that someone who knows nothing about what we do can understand.
  • If given an either/or (two content areas typically do), go with what feels right, rather than the course you took's question.
  • Figure on your toughest topic to take you an hour to prepare and write, the remainder around a half hour.
  • Start with the toughest topic, so your time doesn't run out. You can easily finish the other three areas in the remaining time.
  • Don't study the night before. Relax completely, because this is not a cram-type exam.

  • My major professor (and advisor to the student organization I'm in) asked the three officers who would be leading the study sessions. My boss is far too busy (she's the president), the other person was characteristically quiet, and at first I thought there was no way I had time. In retrospect, it was probably about 12 hours total that was worth it. I suggested to my professor that we set up a course in Canvas for the M.Ed's to have as a gathering place to prepare all along for the exam. I'd be happy to manage it. It makes sense when I'm going to be in the program for another four or five years and of the three of us, I'm the only one who took the M.Ed. comps.

    Now, if only someone had thought to do that for my quals in a few years!

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