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How to prepare for doctoral comprehensive (preliminary, qualifying) exams

I often get asked about how did I prepare for my comprehensive exams. This is the process I used, but of course, your mileage may vary. The usual disclaimers apply.

As always, your mileage may vary. This is what worked for me. There are strategies that work for other people. Self-care, resting, and socializing can’t be overstated. You NEED to make sure to take care of yourself, always.

For me, doing my comprehensives along my cohort colleagues was really empowering. It helped me feel that I wasn’t alone.

If you liked this blog post, you may also be interested in my Resources for Graduate Students page, and on my reading notes of books I’ve read on how to do a doctoral degree.

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Posted in academia, research methods.

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3 Responses

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  1. Brittany says

    Thank you for sharing so much helpful advice. Did you take notes for your comprehensive exams in your Everything Notebook, or did you devise another notebook method for those?

  2. Raul Pacheco-Vega says

    I did! I also did Evernote-style notes.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Preparing for comprehensive-qualifying exams: Seeking guidance and practicing through sample questions – Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD linked to this post on August 26, 2019

    […] wrote a previous blog post on how I prepared for my doctoral programme’s comprehensive exams. I did my PhD at The University of British Columbia, in Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada). Their […]

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