Comprehensive Exams (and Peace of Mind)

Some of us are taking comprehensive exams this summer…and we are under the pressure. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Does anyone want to share how to keep peace of mind..or how to effectively prepare for the exams?



P.S. Here is the Origins’ on-the-Spot stress relief…at least a picture might help.


8 Responses

  1. I have just successfully completed my comp exam a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, I found that the preparation for the exam is more stressful than the exam itself. One strategy that helped me to study effectively was to develop a table, summarizing the most important points in the last 5 years of literature (e.g., research question; main findings; level of analysis; conceptualization of the IT artifact; main theme; sub-themes; etc.). I could then run queries to get aggregate results and statistics from this table using a software like MC Access. Also, for peace of mind, I went for a massage one day before the exam which greatly helped to relieve some of the tension.

    Good luck to all,


  2. Thanks, Shamel.

    That sounds a really good preparation in terms of study and peace of mind!



  3. I did nothing but renovations to my house in the 3-4 days before my comps. I realized that I wouldn’t gain much more from studying at that point. The manual labor took my mind off the upcoming exams. It was actually quite relaxing.

  4. I am a few months out from comps, and have already began to feel the pressure. I did not want the stress to dominate my life for three more months, so I have set a limit to the amount of studying I do each day. For example, I would say that I will read 3 articles a day. After that is done, then I can participate in “fun” relaxing activities – or, more realistically, work on research! By making an unstructured process that can easily become overwhelming into a structured manageable daily task, I can reduce the stress and pressure.

  5. Colleen- Agree. A structured manageable daily task sounds good to me too. Sounds like you already have peace of mind. ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck!

  6. Failure is imminent.


  7. Someone needs to compile these suggestions and write a book about it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Remembering to keep a balanced perspective while preparing for comps is especially important to remember.


  8. Yeah, just as the “how to write a phd” book, this one would be a bestseller. BTW: Are comprehensive exams part of all doctoral programs in the States? Cause in Europe, some schools have those and many don’t…

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