Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Well, I've been mulling over the decision I need to make, but it seems I have a good excuse to put it off for a bit. You see, I completely forgot that one of my M.A. students was taking his field comprehensive exam (written) this weekend, so I find myself needing to spend the next ten days skimming the books and articles I assigned him for the two questions I'm having him answer. This is especially critical because this particular student occasionally reads a book or article and completely misinterprets the author's argument, then goes on to build his paper on a misunderstanding. Since I haven't read most of this stuff since grad school, I need to refresh my memory, so I don't find myself saying "Reynolds argued that? Huh. Well, maybe..."

Did I mention this is my first comp as primary examiner? So I'm overpreparing?


Belle said...

Oh, be nice to him. My best experience in a boatload of bad ones was that my MA exam committee were very upfront about what they'd throw at me. They didn't cheat; they just advised me that they'd concentrate their questions on areas x, y and z. That left the rest of the mess out so I could focus my prep.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I am actually very interested in your opinion on this, Belle, given your recent post on your horrific grad school experience. I never promise to be nice, but always fair. He has a 40-item reading list (given to him in February), broken down into seven categories (three in part A, four in part B). He knows that he'll be getting one question from a category in part A, and one from part B. It's a 72-hour weekend takehome, so he'll have access to everything he needs.

Anonymous said...

You are so overpreparing.

Are you really going to read something very wrong and think . . . "Oh yes . . . Donald Worster -- he's the guy with the frontier thesis, right?" Wrong field, I know, but you get my point.

Plus, if you do have a moment of not being sure, you can always look up a couple of things then, rather than looking them all up now.

Belle said...

Well, remember: my reading list was over 130 (not 40) and had virtually no articles on it. All huge books. So knowing that my question on A was going to center on the Russian Revolution (no, of course not my field) rather than 1848 was a blessing.