So I said I would blog about what these exams are about. I don't have time to get into a lot of detail but basically it's this:

  • 3.5 days to to write 4 essays (15 pages each, for a total of 60 pages)
  • one essay typically deals with primary methodology we use in our research (mine is on cultural studies)
  • the other three essays are topical (e.g. Asian American pop culture, development of Asian American studies as a discipline etc.)
  • each essay should demonstrate our knowledge gained from doing a list of readings for each essay -- about 20-30 readings (mix of books and journal articles)
And here is my preparation schedule to date

April 2008 (early April): my first draft of reading lists sent to committee members to edit and add readings
Summer 2008: did a few readings after teaching A-term (2? credits); continued negotiating and refining the list with committee members
Fall 2008: took 10 credits of reading; continued negotiating and refining the list with committee members
Dec 2008 to Jan 2009: focused on getting through all the Cultural Studies methods readings
Sep to Dec 2008: took 10 credits of reading, 5 for each of 2 committee members (meetings with each every 2 weeks to discuss and review my understanding of the readings and how they are situated in the larger scholarly conversation)
Mid Feb: finalized a date for exams, booked meeting room for orals with admin
Feb 28: Completed 90% of all readings (5 books and 20 articles remaining), Completed final meetings with all committee members; got form signed and returned
March 1:
TO DO: Finish key readings e.g. Lowe, O&W, Wei, Almaguer; review Cultural Studies Theory/ist summaries online ; outline arguments by scholar and by concept for each exam question area, prewrite some arguments, read remaining low-priority readings only as needed in the pre-writes
March 15: rest and spa day??
March 13-16: written exams
March 17-21: grading of final papers for teaching responsibilities
March 22-28: staycation/mini vacation
March 29: review my exam essays
March 31: oral defense


Robyn said...

yay! good luck! so... how much of an idea do you have of what the questions will be? i know some people write whole essays... or at least outline before hand. is that a possibility for you?

Fumbling said...

yeah I was given a general idea of my essay topics but not the exact wording of how they'll ask it. I need to start at least outlining soon.