ORAL EXAMS preparing for and passing candidacy, qualifying, and graduate defenses

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ORAL EXAMS ORAL EXAMS Preparing For and Passing Candidacy, Qualifying, and Graduate Defenses A LEE FOOTE University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada AMSTERDAM • BOSTON • HEIDELBERG • LONDON NEW YORK • OXFORD • PARIS • SAN DIEGO SAN FRANCISCO • SINGAPORE • SYDNEY • TOKYO Academic Press is an imprint of Elsevier Academic Press is an imprint of Elsevier 125, London Wall, EC2Y 5AS 525 B Street, Suite 1800, San Diego, CA 92101-4495, USA 225 Wyman Street, Waltham, MA 02451, USA The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 1GB, UK Copyright r 2016 Elsevier Inc All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher Details on how to seek permission, further information about the Publisher’s permissions policies and our arrangements with organizations such as the Copyright Clearance Center and the Copyright Licensing Agency, can be found at our website: www.elsevier.com/permissions This book and the individual contributions contained in it are protected under copyright by the Publisher (other than as may be noted herein) The cover illustration was originally hand drawn by Christine Hornung and converted to a digital image by Matthew Limbert The cover is meant to convey the graduate student resting on their carefully prepared information, receiving the string of questions from committee members, and creatively rebutting from multiple sources of knowledge and ways of knowing Notices Knowledge and best practice in this field are constantly changing As new research and experience broaden our understanding, changes in research methods, professional practices, or medical treatment may become necessary Practitioners and researchers must always rely on their own experience and knowledge in evaluating and using any information, methods, compounds, or experiments described herein In using such information or methods they should be mindful of their own safety and the safety of others, including parties for whom they have a professional responsibility To the fullest extent of the law, neither the Publisher nor the authors, contributors, or editors, assume any liability for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions, or ideas contained in the material herein ISBN: 978-0-12-802578-9 British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress For Information on all Academic Press publications visit our website at http://store.elsevier.com/ Typeset by MPS Limited, Chennai, India www.adi-mps.com Printed and bound in the United States of America Acknowledgments There are many people to thank in a work like this First and foremost, I thank the graduate students, both my own and those who gave me the honor of sitting on their evaluation committees, for making me think hard about how to evaluate their research I learned more from them than vice versa so this is my attempt to return the favor to the generations of students who follow As an elected judge for 30 years, my father, George M Foote, demonstrated how to ask probing questions and keep an open mind for assessing answers I hope some of his insight rubbed off on me For the love of words and story-telling, my mom, Antonia Voelker Foote, reinforced the joy of language—she could really tear up a scrabble board in her day! Over thousands of breakfast tables, kilometers of discussion, and late night glasses of wine, my wife, Dr Naomi Krogman, an accomplished scholar of sociology and exceptional student-mentor in her own right, has hugely influenced my views on the pivotal role of epistemology in exam questions (and she helps keep us all fed and happy too!) My daughters are my light, air, and water and they have endured my holing up in my study for writing more than any of us wanted but they still entreated and lured me out with music, coffee, and perfectly timed interruptions My own PhD supervisor Dr John Kadlec and PhD mentors Drs Dave Balph, Wayne Wurtsbaugh, Phil Zwank and Barry Gilbert and Jim Grace all demonstrated academic rigor with a humane streak and a little wry humor on the side My colleagues in the field, at the coffee shop, and around the backyard fire pit have debated and enlivened my thoughts about how we assess student completeness, comprehensiveness, and communication Many of the questions in Appendix I are their handiwork For this, I thank B Shotyk, V Adamowicz, M Luckert, K Tierny, E Foote, J Bisanz, H Keshani, C Wilkinson, N Krogman, C Maclean, L Siegler, N Nations, M Kostelsky, N Lemphers, L Siegler, N Kav, and S Zwicker Finally, I thank David Foote for his editorial eye and Ms Mary Preap, editorial professional at Elsevier who read my prospectus and saw sufficient promise in this topic to urge me to keep writing If you have comments, corrections or suggestions for future editions of this book, please send them to Foote_OralExams@gmail.com ix C H A P T E R Introduction Success is a science If you have the conditions, you get the results Oscar Wilde Why grooms sometimes faint at the church altar? Polite women in labor make exorcist sounds and curse like a sailor? Tough football players sob like a child after championships? Or highly trained graduate students blush and bluster under questioning? It is partly because each of these situations is rare, unpracticed and because the individuals care so deeply about the outcome The immersion into the experience places the participant into a new zone of emotional and psychological investment and expectation Thinking through these exams carefully and systematically preparing can help channel the energy, emotion, focus and responses constructively Oral exams leading to the MSc or PhD degree are mysterious and unique exam types to many students and a source of anxiety for most Virtually all graduate students experience tensions and concerns while preparing for their graduate oral exams and, of all the milestones of one’s career, these may represent the most intense intellectual crucible To many, walking into an oral exam can feel like marching into a firing squad where students will face five austere professors armed with papers and computers ready to fire questions for h before dismissing the exhausted student from the room so the committee can pass judgment on the performance The pressure and implications can rattle even the most secure students because these are evaluative exams with a pure focus on the student’s knowledge and communication; there is truly no place to hide, and faking it is not an option Consequently, most students enter oral exams on pins and needles Indeed, there are the very real opportunities for a tremendous career step up toward holding an advanced degree as well as finding doors to employment and social approval opened to the student for life It is Oral Exams © 2016 Elsevier Inc All rights reserved INTRODUCTION helpful to focus on this positive outcome and how to achieve it Still, understanding the downside, what can lead to less than stellar performance and how to avoid problems is the glass-half-empty portion of this book There are also repercussions following the occasional failure leading to embarrassment, economic hardship, a great deal more work and sometimes abandonment of a body of work and years of one’s life endeavors Thus, the stakes are quite high Then there is the perception of what it means to fail Because the oral exams come sometimes a year or years into the program of study, the sunk costs in concert with the ungrounded worries about failure can lead students to conflate their own sense of self-worth with the outcome of the exam This linkage needs to be spelled out as two clearly different components Unfortunately, many graduate students (and professors!) have their identities wrapped up in their degree-holding academic credentials Consequently, the elevated prospects of success or failure are seen as a knife edge between being a success or enduring banishment, rejection, and personal failure at the hands of the very peers one seeks to join Simply knowing that it is possible to fail an oral exam for many different reasons is terrifying An outright fail, although rare, can influence one’s entire career trajectory Given the high stakes, it is essential that you learn what is expected, strategies on how to prepare and how to exercise your options at each stage of the process This book can be very helpful in that process Holding knowledge of the examination process, personalities, and your own strengths can convert the oral exam from a chilling ordeal into one of flow, validation, and completion Oral exams can become, if not a pleasant, at least a rewarding, stepping stone into an elite circle of academia Ultimately, I hope this book is part of changing the culture of fear and mystery that has needlessly surrounded these exams for the last 3001 years My personal experiences in my own three oral exams in graduate school helped motivate this book and added to my empathy and an awareness of needs faced by many graduate students we see facing a paucity of information on oral exams Further experience accumulated from serving as an examiner, chair, external or committee member in over 100 oral exams in the last 15 years as a professor at a large research university Shared experiences with my own 25 successful graduate students (no failures yet!) and the advice and suggestions of over 30 professional colleagues, scholars, and reviewers confirm the scarcity of guidance and training for oral exams These same experts produced many of the several hundred excellent (and a few lame) oral exam questions recorded over the last decade (listed by discipline in Appendix I) The text is written in a casual, readable style replete with anecdotes and characters to keep the reading conversational and accessible instead of dense and slogging—you will have plenty of that in your topical ORAL EXAMS INTRODUCTION preparation! Please read this book and keep in perspective that neither these exams, your ego, nor even your degree is the most important thing at stake here These are just progress markers on a life journey, not the traveler themselves Your dignity, value as a human being, your loved ones, and your life’s contributions in all forms come first In stressful oral exams, it helps to remember there really are more important things in life even if it doesn’t seem the case as you walk into that examination room If you can’t see this prior to the exam, I assure you, it will become obvious in the fullness of time Patterns of successful and unsuccessful candidates emerge from large numbers of test-takers and these patterns are generalized to help readers recognize syndromes or personality types that often lead to predictable outcomes One of my graduate students liked to say “Hind-end sight is always 20:20” In virtually every problematic exam, hindsight reveals ways that could have converted the outcome into a successful and gratifying test had the student or their supervisor prepared differently or been more strategic Please know that brilliance is not essential to earn a PhD, though discipline and hard work certainly are Advanced degrees are more of a grunt than a flash A recent study (Burmeister et al., 2014) found grade point averages at admission were poor predictors of graduate student success in medical physics for example They found that analytical and communication skills were better predictors of success This book will help you capitalize on strengths and skip many traps Students preparing for their oral exams should be able to benefit from the mistakes that have occurred in the past, burnish winning strategies of preparation and communication, and frame the oral exam in a positive light Unfortunately, until now, there have been no good compiled sources of this kind of guidance We will examine some heartwarming stories of success and some exam train wrecks, then outline how each came to be Few students reach the oral exam stage in graduate school without adequate intellect, aptitude, and knowledge and it is heartbreaking and utterly unnecessary for any of these highly qualified students to fumble oral exams for simple, preventable reasons There is one important caveat I will repeat throughout this book however; oral exams vary greatly by country, institution, and even committee membership so students must research the examination criteria specific to their institution, faculty, and department There is guidance in this book that will be helpful to all, for example, managing nerves, nutrition, composure, practice, question types, etc., but understand that microbiology MSc defenses differ from Sociology PhD qualifying exams, which differ from European arts vivas in their structure, content, committee membership, duration, question order, and expectation ORAL EXAMS INTRODUCTION Still, despite my drawing heavily on North American examples and questions, the guidance in this book will assist all oral exam takers I have added a trio of chapters toward the end to bring some useful oral exam concepts to bear on job interviews, medical board oral exams, judicial cross-examination, and oral testimony before governing bodies The three objectives of this book are to (i) provide abundant guidance and material for student use in a thorough preparation for oral exams, (ii) help gain control and comfort with setting, emotions, interpersonal dynamics, and other exam-crushing distractions by demystifying the process, and (iii) assist professors to become better examiners and mentors in preparing graduate students (and themselves!) for oral exams The content, dynamics, and psychology of oral exams make them dramatically different from conventional written exams Although the most caring professors offer much great advice and preparation by actively mentoring their students, far too many cannot, or not Equally as troubling is that for students who feel lost, under-advised or needing more perspective, there is a paucity of written information; however, one excellent UK-focused book by Murray (2003) focuses on the viva, a specialized European style of oral exam Although they may disappear into the digital vacuum at any moment, there are also websites and blog sites about preparing for oral exams listed in Appendix II A word of caution however, some bloggers have posted cynical or even fear-inspiring personal stories that I don’t recommend This book is designed to fill a pressing need of providing a comprehensive and systematic treatment of oral exams Professors are also valuable teachers of this process and most will eventually learn success strategies through trial and error, but what about the fates of great students who bear the brunt of helping the inexperienced assistant professor make those learning mistakes? Therefore, this book is also for professors who care about their graduate student’s welfare and would like additional perspectives on how to help them There are many paths to the mountaintop but having a choice of routes up is very nice By the end of this book, you will better know options at each step of the exam process which is hugely valuable for erasing the irrational fears and uncertainties about this process You will also have a wellprompted list of questions to ask and assumptions to explore with those who will decide upon your performance We will go step by step through everything from managing your nerves, influencing the committee makeup, understanding your committee’s expectations, preparing and arranging your content, mental preparation, question framing, structuring answers, practice, and the major types of questions you can expect There are many sample questions in Appendix I sorted by representative disciplines that you will be encouraged to use ORAL EXAMS EXAM TYPES This exam preparation and presentation advice will also benefit those preparing for other types of intensive oral delivery of qualifying or certification exams, job interviews and heck, maybe even that allimportant oral exam upon first meeting your future in-laws! Throughout the book, I will try to provide true stories, metaphors, and examples from my own students I have changed names to provide anonymity and in some cases have combined components from different situations to illustrate helpful points Although I recommend students read all of the chapters because they build on each other, each chapter is also a free-standing treatment of the topic for readers with specific information needs EXAM TYPES There are distinctions between the various types of oral exams In the United Kingdom, Scotland, Germany, and a few other European countries, the more common term for the PhD oral exam is viva voce, literally translated as “living voice” or “word of mouth”, while undergraduate oral exams are just called oral exams These European exams, sometimes shortened to vivas (pronunciation almost rhymes with “fiver” said with a Brooklyn accent), are the precursors and models for the more recently created oral exams, though they differ in some important ways outlined later In most of North America, the family of oral exams includes the MSc thesis defense exam, preliminary exams or qualifying exams, Candidacy exam, and the PhD defense Oral exams are also used in some undergraduate honors theses Various institutions may convert some of these to written exams and may combine or substitute the qualifying and candidacy exams Be sure to examine the graduate handbook or guidelines of your specific institution for the format details and expectations If you don’t check your university’s specific arrangement you may end up being surprised at what you will face Still, all oral exams share certain needs such as content preparation, composure management, awareness of committee dynamics, synthetic thinking, well-structured answers, and responsive interaction under questioning Although some graduate programs incorporate written exams, those are not treated here beyond saying sometimes oral questions are drawn from the student’s answers on writtens so be warned Professors are encouraged to keep a copy of this book kicking around their labs or to provide copies to incoming graduate students Conversely, it may be wise for graduate students to make sure their professors have read this as well so everyone is on the same page! I take a few pokes at my colleagues in text and encourage us all to not ORAL EXAMS INTRODUCTION be “That guy!” on committees Lab groups might find the sample questions in Appendix I a good starting point for practicing collegiality and helping quiz their lab mates so all can grow and succeed Some discussion of the Web site content listed in Appendix II would make a good beer and pizza night too I am confident that every student following this book’s recommendations can move their oral exams further from a traumatic episode and closer to a gratifying experience of Socratic discussion of their project! Let’s get on with it CHAPTER NOTES ORAL EXAMS 176 APPENDIX I AQUATIC AND MARINE ECOLOGY Explain the importance of hydrologic residence time in whole-lake ecosystem studies What is a biofilm and is this a technical term? Where is the pelagic zone in the ocean? Describe the coriolis effect Is it related to ocean gyres? Distinguish between allochthonous and autochthonous Under what conditions might one expect to observe Langmuir lines? Discriminate between meromixis, monomixis and what causes them? What is the littoral zone and how is it identified? What are three dominant users of oxygen in wetland systems? 10 Discriminate between COD, BOD, and respiration? 11 What are the approximate salinity break points between fresh, brackish and saline? What are some units typically used to measure these levels? 12 What kind of aquatic organisms are photoautotrophic? 13 How can one bridge science to policy formation in aquatic sciences? In oceanic science? 14 Explain a nutrient spiral in lotic systems 15 Describe the River Continuum concept 16 Use wetland examples to explain alternate stable states concept 17 In lakes, what is Gross Primary Production? What is Net Primary Production? 18 What is the general relationship of biomass to respiration? Plot it 19 What does pH stand for and why the funny capitalization? 20 How may turbidity be measured in the field and how does it differ from lab measurements? 21 Distinguish between salinity and electrical conductivity 22 Is there any difference in total chlorophyll concentration and chlorophyl a concentration? How are they related? 23 Distinguish shredders from grazers from collectors in aquatic systems What does this refer to? 24 Why doesn’t coral grow in all oceans? 25 Distinguish between anadromous and catadromous 26 What is the maximum sustained yield in fisheries and where is it located on a production curve? MICROBIOLOGY What is the role of calcium in hyphal growth and branching? Describe the mechanism and role of mycorrhizae on plant nutrient availability APPENDIX I 177 GENETICS Explain the difference between species trees and gene trees Explain polyphyly and monophyly in phylogenetic relationships and give examples Explain the relationships between a clone, genet, and ramet in the context of plant growth What is a hybrid? Distinguish between a gene, a chromosome, and an allele, a loci Use an example to explain genetic drift and introgression Mutations can aid or extirpate subpopulations Explain how this can be Describe the transmission mechanism of epigenetics ARCHEOLOGY What is a species dental formula and why is it important to archeologists? How placental and marsupial mammals differ? Explain the fossilization process Describe the stratiographic discontinuity VETERINARY SCIENCE Distinguish between captive, wild, feral, and domesticated Discuss the metabolic trade-offs between gonadotrophic and somatic growth What is a parasite? What is a parasitoid? What are their attributes and life history? What is a vector in terms of disease transmission? Give a working definition of a hybrid What is hybrid vigor? What is a basal metabolic rate? Explain depuration in relation to egg-laying species? What enzymes for organisms? Where they originate? What are the relative definitions and roles of tendons and ligaments? 10 Discuss the factors (other than time!) that cause a domestic animal’s physiology to show signs of aging FISHERIES SCIENCE What is a Ricker curve used for? Provide some evidence of knowledge about trophic cascades 178 APPENDIX I What is the difference in a fish stock and a fishery? What is depensatory predation within a fisheries system? How are stock-recruitment tables used in fisheries science? Distinguish between additive and compensatory mortality in harvested populations What is the shifting baseline syndrome (also known as Pauly’s ratchet)? What does Q stand for in fisheries equations? Discuss the role of hooking mortality in catch and release systems CHEMISTRY How does methylated mercury and elemental mercury differ in the environment and how your results ameliorate their relative risks? What groups of organisms facilitate methylation? Write the reaction for the dissolution of carbon dioxide in water How to calculate the concentration of carbonic acid? What is the concentration of carbonic acid in water, in equilibrium with atmospheric pCO2 What is the pH of this solution? Why and where is cation exchange capacity important in ecosystems? Describe the mercury condensation effect in polar regions Is this effect universally accepted? Explain What is the form of atomic weights of elements in the periodic table? Clarify the difference between a chemical and a nutrient Distinguish between bioaccumulation and biomagnification What happens (chemically) when material burns? How does this materially differ from rust? 10 Describe the pathway of biochemical nitrification in waterbodies PSYCHOLOGY When you submit a report on your thesis work for publication in a top-tier journal, what are three criticisms you can expect from those damned reviewers? How will you respond to each of these criticisms? You have described empirical effects that reflect interesting psychological characteristics If you were to design a computer program that could mimic these characteristics, what kinds of preexisting knowledge, dispositions, or processes would you have to APPENDIX I 179 build into this program to get it to work? That is, what would the program have to “know” to mimic human behavior successfully? The mechanisms/characteristics/dispositions/behaviors you describe in your thesis had to develop (or evolve) in some way How you think these mechanisms/characteristics/dispositions/ behaviors developed (or evolved)? Why? What you think caused them to develop (or evolve) over time? Questions about the validity and reliability of the measures used are common in psychological research, where there is a tendency to create new or modified measures all over the place In this research, you used a quantitative (qualitative) approach How could this research have been done using a qualitative (quantitative) approach or a combined, mixed-method approach? What would have been gained, and what would have been lost? Why did you choose the approach you took? RANGE SCIENCE Explain grazing facilitation Clarify top-down and bottom-up ecosystem control How are isotopes used to study ecosystem metabolism? Explain the difference in standing crop and plant production How are each measured? Rationalize the point at which grazing becomes overgrazing RESOURCE ECONOMICS Discuss whether stated preference responses reflect “actual choices.” Speak to hypothetical bias, consequentiality, validity, and other related concepts Discuss how you would overcome the challenges raised in question for using stated preference response techniques for valuing (i) a public good, and (ii) a private good GEOCHEMISTRY Eight elements account for 99% of the mass of the Earth’s crust What are they? What are the two most abundant metals in the Earth’s crust? 180 APPENDIX I Name three major elements that are essential to all living organisms Name three trace metals which are not essential for any organisms, and are potentially toxic Why rocks weather? Give an example of a rock which weathers easily and one which weathers slowly Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust (8%) and iron second most abundant (5%) Why are the abundances of these metals in most natural waters very low (commonly parts per billion)? Calculations show 99% of the water on Earth is held in two reservoirs—what are they? What is the dominant cation in rainwater? Why? The dominant anion? The main source of Ca to surface waters? Other sources? The main sink for Ca in the oceans? Why sediments become anoxic? 10 What is the difference in anaerobic and anoxic? 11 What is the chemical sequence of reduction reactions in sediments? SOCIOLOGY Explain the importance of epistemology for your methodology Select a social problem and provide three perspectives on it: Feminist, Structuralist, and Constructivist Show clearly how they differ in their foci What is a Gini-coefficient; how is it calculated? What does it indicate? For what purposes is it used? Provide arguments in support of and in opposition to Garrett Hardin’s tragedy of the commons concept Why is social theory important? How post-modern theorists challenge empirical work? Appendix II Online resources and perspectives on oral exams (current to March 2014) http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/academicservices/qualitymanual/ researchdegreeprogrammes/viva-voce-examinations.aspx http://paultrafford.blogspot.ca/2009/10/viva-voce-20-minuteexamination-of.html http://www.axonpotential.com/steve-nash-and-the-imaginary-freethrow/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v 99ZR4SYYrh4 http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2009/03/oral-exam.aspx http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1079624/ https://www.qbankdmd.com/ http://www.ada.org/en/jcnde/examinations/nbde-generalinformation http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm? FuseAction Hearings.Testimony&Hearing_ID 7efcd166-802a23ad-4634-25057d9d08bf&Witness_ID 5924b692-92ae-4437-9bd83482a55e0b94 10 http://www.absurgery.org/default.jsp?certcehome 11 http://www.studygs.net/oralexams.htm 12 http://www.cs.umd.edu/Boleary/gradstudy/node7.html 13 http://www.testtakingtips.com/test/oral.htm 14 http://www.aaos.org/member/mbrsvc/oralexam.asp 15 http://www.space-policy.com/resources-for-students/Dr-jills-vivatips-pass-your-phd-oral-exam 16 http://homeworktips.about.com/od/schooltests/a/Preparing-ForAn-Oral-Exam.htm 17 http://www.jobs.ac.uk/careers-advice/studentships/633/ten-tipsfor-getting-through-your-phd-viva 18 https://www.hamilton.edu/oralcommunication/how-to-take-anoral-exam 19 http://pages.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/Bsaul/wiki/uploads/Chapter1/ NastyPhDQuestions.html 20 https://www.uvic.ca/graduatestudies/resourcesfor/students/ thesis/oral/guidelines.php 181 182 APPENDIX II 21 http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/al/learning_english/leap/ listeningandspeaking/skills/tips_for_viva/ 22 http://cgi.stanford.edu/Bdept-ctl/tomprof/posting.php?ID 955 23 http://www.srhe.ac.uk/downloads/events/ 34_NR_De_Mystifying_may2010.pdf 24 http://www.theguardian.com/education/2003/sep/16/ highereducation.postgraduate 25 http://pages.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/Bsaul/wiki/uploads/Chapter1/ NastyPhDQuestions.html 26 http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/ previous_issues/articles/2002_09_20/nodoi.13743698190043080701 27 http://modeling.asu.edu/R&E/WhatDoOralExamsTellUs.pdf 28 http://www.jwelford.demon.co.uk/brainwaremap/viva.html 29 http://blogs.agu.org/martianchronicles/2012/01/11/graduateschool-advice-part-2-qual/ 30 https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/students/qualifying-exam.html 31 http://earlymodernnotes.wordpress.com/2005/01/15/the-finalhurdle-getting-through-the-phd-viva/ 32 http://100rsns.blogspot.ca/2012/04/81-comprehensive-exams.html 33 http://w3.unisa.edu.au/easresearch/degrees/docs/viva_phd.pdf 34 http://www.gradhacker.org/2013/04/26/surviving-the-oralcomprehensive-exam/ 35 http://depts.washington.edu/history/graduate-studies-phddegree/20-tips-phd-exam 36 http://www.cse.chalmers.se/Bfeldt/advice/ twigg_preparing_for_phd_viva.pdf 37 http://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/survivingyour-comprehensive-exams/ 38 http://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/survivingyour-comprehensive-exams/ 39 http://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/hardest-orweirdest-question-you-were-asked-during-your-candidacy-exam/ 40 http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/faq-the-snake-fight-portionof-your-thesis-defense Appendix III Examples of Universities Worldwide Showing Examples of Oral Exam Requirements University MSc oral defense Qualifying exam Candidacy or preliminaries PhD defense U Alberta OD ** O OD Candidacy no less than months prior to graduation U Arizona OD ** O or W OD Public then in camera exam U California, Berkley OD Oral may have written precursors ** OD U Colorado, Boulder OD ** ** OD U Calgary OD ** ** OD Cornell U ** Some fields O OD Iowa State U OD ** O OD John Hopkins U OD ** O OD City U of London OD ** ** OD Exemptions possible Supervisor does not examine Louisiana State U OD, oral and/or written Language oral for some International Students Some depts have pregeneral qualifying exams Required within years OD One dissenting vote allowed U Manitoba ** ** ** OD Public exam Notes (Continued) 183 184 APPENDIX III (Continued) University MSc oral defense Qualifying exam Candidacy or preliminaries PhD defense U Mass, Amherst ** ** ** OD Michigan State U OD ** ** OD U Nebraska OD some faculties ** ** OD Open to public North Carolina State U OD & W O&W OD May require writtens in minor PhD field Oregon State U OD ** O OD Public then in camera exam Penn State U OD ** O or W OD 2/3 vote required to pass PhD oral Queens U OD ** None OD dissenting vote allowed for all exams U Rhode Island W&O Required for PhD if no MSc held W&O OD Unanimous vote required for PhD oral pass U Sheffield, UK OD ** ** OD Dept provides training for oral exam Supervisor does not question U Sydney, Australia Some faculties require ** ** OD PhD oral may be opted for by Dept Chair or student Student may invite accompaniment U Surrey, UK ** ** ** OD Required workshop for students Notes (Continued) 185 APPENDIX III (Continued) MSc oral defense Qualifying exam Candidacy or preliminaries PhD defense U Texas, Austin ** ** ** OD Unanimous vote required for PhD pass Virtual on-line defense offered U South Wales OD ** ** OD Dates available are restricted Waterloo U ** ** W or O OD Any Univ faculty can attend oral exam Western Ontario U OD ** ** OD Attendance of any staff with permission from chair University Notes U Tasmania, NZ O, oral; OD, oral defense; W, written exam; **, no information Check institutions for specifics and details References Allen, J.G., 2004 How to Turn an Interview into a Job Fireside Rockefeller, New York, NY, 128 pp Burgoon, J., LGuerrero, Floyd, K., 2010 Nonverbal Communication Allyn and Bacon Press, Boston Burmeister, J., McSpadden, E., Rakowski, J., Nalichowski, A., Yudelev, M., Snyder, M., 2014 Correlation of admissions statistics to graduate student success in medical physics J Appl Clin Med Phys 15 (1), 4451 Cassidy, J.C., Johnson, R.E., 2002 Cognitive test anxiety and academic performance Contemp Educ Psychol 27 (2), 270À295 Code, K., 1997 Twist of the Wrist: The Motorcycle Roadracer’s Handbook California Superbike School Publishing, California, USA Day, R., 1998 How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper Oryx Press, Cambridge, UK Foote, A.L., Krogman, N.T., Spence, J., 2009 Should academics advocate on environmental issues? Soc Nat Resour 22, 579À589 Graziano, M 2014 The first smile Aeon Magazine August ,http://aeon.co/magazine/ science/should-we-ever-take-a-smile-at-face-value/ (accessed July 2014) Heath, J., Flynn, J., Holt, M.D., 2014 Managing yourself: women find your voice Harv Bus Rev.June 2014 issue Heiss, A.M., 1970 Challenges to Graduate School Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA Hestenes, D., 1995 What graduate oral exams tell us? Am J Phys 63, 1069 Keuler, D.J., Safer, M.A., 1998 Memory bias in the assessment and recall of pre-exam anxiety: how anxious was I? Appl Cogn Psychol 12, 127À137 Lindquist, J., Wortman, S., Francis, C., 2011 Adding value to graduate education: the comprehensive examination NACTA J 55 (4), 106À107 MacIntyre, P.D., Gardner, R.C., 2006 Subtle effects of language anxiety on cognitive processing in a second language Lang Learn 44 (2), 283À305 Mangen, A., Walgermo, B.R., Broniuk, K., 2013 Reading linear texts on paper versus computer screen: effects on reading comprehension Int J Educ Res 58, 61À68 Markulis, P.M., Stang, D.R., 2008 Oral exams as a teaching and learning experience Dev Bus Simul Exp Learn 35, 118À127 Mechanic, D., 1962 Students Under Stress The Free Press, Glencoe, IL Medley, H.A., 2005 Sweaty palms: the neglected art of being interviewed Bus Plus 464 pp Murray, R., 2003 How to Survive Your Viva Open University Press, Berkshire, UK, 160 pp Murray, R., 2009 How to Survive Your Viva Open University Press, Berkshire, UK, 160 pp Olteanu, G.I., 2013 Suggestibility in interview and interrogation—the smile Int J Juridic Sci 2, 134À144 Patrick, J.R., 1934 The effects of emotional excitement on rational behavior of human subjects J Comp Psychol 18, 153À195 Patton, S., 2013 Graduate students urge changes in comprehensive exams Chron High Educ 60 (7), 16À17 187 188 REFERENCES Schemeckebier, L.S., Eastin, R., 1969 Government Publications and Their Use Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, USA, 166p Shakaib, U., Rehman, M.D., Nietert, P.J., Cope, D.W., Kilpatrick, A.O., 2005 What to wear today? Effect of doctor’s attire on the trust and confidence of patients Am J Med 118 (11), 1279À1286 Wikipedia reference to Attar ,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attar_of_Nishapur (accessed 09.08.14) Wine, J., 1971 Test anxiety and direction of attention Psychol Bull 76 (2), 92À104 Index Note: Page numbers followed by “f” and “t” refer to figures and tables, respectively A Academia, oral exams types comprehensive oral exams, 13À15 conceptual weight balance, 18À19, 19f family of, 11À13, 13f MSc defense, 13 PhD dissertation defense, 15À16 pre-exam seminar, 19À21 symbolism and tradition, 17À19 viva voce, 16À17 Academic job interview, 141À143 Answers coherent verbal delivery of, 31À32 detailing, 104À105 good solid answer, 102À103 and hypothetical questions, 44 illustrating, 44À45 structuring, 102À104 Apologies, nonverbal clues, 89À90 B Boards, medical training, 12 Books and papers, 57 Business degrees, oral exams in, 11 C Choreography, oral exam committee deliberations, 83À84 committee members, roles of, 81À82 order of exam, 82À83 Circumspection and open-minded approaches, 106À107 Clothing style, 17 Committee chair, 137 Committee members, 18À19 with communication connections, 84 and professors, 131 roles of, 81À82 Communication skills, 122 Comprehensive oral exams, 13À15 Conceptual weight balance, oral exams, 18À19, 19f Confidence-inspiring, 87 Critical listening, 90À91 D Delivery management, 119À120 Digital interaction, 152 Discrimination, 91À93 E Energy management, 37À38 Entry-level professors, 138 Exam See also Oral exams administration, pivotal role in, 137 choreography, 81 committee deliberations following, 83À84 native language, 81À82 outcomes, 125 should not in, 96 time management, 67À68, 99 types, 5À6, 45, 45f Exam day preparation exam clothes, 67À68 list of items, 69t location, and time of exam, 67À68 schedule, 67 Execution correcting mistakes, 93À96, 95f critical listening, 90À91 and discrimination, 91À93 and presentation, 88À90 Expert witness, 146À147 Eye contact, nonverbal clues, 89 F Face-to-face problem identification, G Graduate study, 25Students goals, 25À26 personal motivation questions, 26 Groomsman, 17 189 190 H Handling disagreements, 119 Handshake, nonverbal clues, 89 Honest questions, 127 How to turn an interview into a job (Allen, Jeffre), 141À142 Hypothetical questions and answers, 44 I Illustrating answer, 44À45 Institutional exam strategies, comparison of, 132À133, 132t K Knowledge and communication, 11 L Legislative, 144À146 Long version question, 102À103 M Mannerisms, 73 Medical board exams, 143À144 Memorization matrices, 58À59 MSc defense, 13 N Native language, 81À82 Nervousness adrenaline problem, 32À33 energy management, 37À38 habits, 37À38 overcoming, 33À36 perfection problem, 37À38 physiology of, 31À33 symptoms of, 31 visualization exercise, 36À38 Nonverbal clues, 89À90 Nonverbal communication (Burgoon), 88 O Oral exams academia, types of, 11À21, 13f choreography, 81À84 committee, 137À138 comprehensive and systematic treatment, dynamics, and psychology of, history of, 5À6 intent, 5À6 students experience, 1À2 symbolism and tradition, 17À19 INDEX syndromes or personality types, types of, 5À6, 11À21, 13f Order of exam, 82À83 P Parliamentary, 144À146 Personalities, archetypes Clever Coyote, 75À76 Dependable Hound, 76À77 foghorn leghorn, 74À75 honey badger, 75 wounded bird, 73À74 PhD dissertation defense, 15À16 aims, 15 dissertation defense’s format, 15À16 outcomes, 18 Possible questions, preparation and contemplation of, 151 Posture, nonverbal clues, 89 Pre-exam seminar, 19À21 Preparation time books and papers, 57 committee, 59À60 committee members, last five papers, 57 flash cards, 59 graduate students, 56 memorization matrices, 58À59 previous exam questions, 60À63 textbooks, 56À57 Previous exam questions, 60À63 Professor’s perspective collegiality, 111À112 deliberations, 111, 113À114 integrity, 111À112 potential, 111À112 practice style, 114À115 privilege and perk of, 115 students benefit, 111 Q Qualifying exams or prelims, 13À14 Questionable rationale, 14À15 Questions after short story, 42À43 category of, 41À43, 45f honest questions, 127 inappropriate question, 44 long version question, 102À103 numeracy or illustration, 44À45 personal motivation questions, 26 possible questions, preparation and contemplation of, 151 INDEX previous exam questions, 60À63 series of, 42 short version question, 103 Socratic questioning, 152 R Real-time communication, Research, 141À143 S Second language, 121À122 Seminar, 20 Senate testimony, 144À146 Short version question, 103 Socratic questioning, 152 Students defeatist spiral, 133 options, 125, 127 perspective vs side of degree-holder, 26 reduce failure traps for, 134 Supervisory committees academic friendship, 51 impress, 49 management, 49À50 191 professors, classes of, 50 selection, 50 working relationship, 49, 51 Sweaty Palms: The neglected art of being interviewed (Medley, Anthony), 141À142 T Teaching or academic job interview, 141À143 Textbooks, 56À57 Time management See also Preparation time comfort topics, 104 detailing answers, 104À105 impossible question, 105À106 structuring answers, 102À104 work and self, promotion, 106À107 V Visualization exercise, 36À38 Viva voce, 16À17 Voice, nonverbal clues, 89 .. .ORAL EXAMS Preparing For and Passing Candidacy, Qualifying, and Graduate Defenses A LEE FOOTE University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta,... examiners and mentors in preparing graduate students (and themselves!) for oral exams The content, dynamics, and psychology of oral exams make them dramatically different from conventional written exams. .. types to many students and a source of anxiety for most Virtually all graduate students experience tensions and concerns while preparing for their graduate oral exams and, of all the milestones
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