Hi, I’m Jess. I am a graduate student at UC Berkeley and am currently preparing to take my qualifying exam in January 2016.

In the psychology department at UC Berkeley, all PhD graduate students must take a qualifying exam to advance to doctoral candidacy. Preparation for the exam involves:

  1. Coming up with three broad topics that span the literature
  2. Putting together a list of about 30 readings per topic, broken down into subtopics
  3. Coming up with 2-3 proposed questions on each topic

Then the exam itself has two parts:

  1. Written: your committee will choose three questions and email them to you the morning of the exam. You have 9 hours to write a 6-8 page response to each question.
  2. Oral: a week after the written exam, you and your committee will meet in person. Your committee may ask you about your written answers, or any other questions they have.

As I go through the readings to prepare for my exam, I’m taking notes and posting them here, both as a reference for myself and for others who might find them useful.