Preliminary Written Exams

Well normally on Fridays I have been getting together a “newsflash” piece about interesting dress and culture things that were floating around the web that week. “Newsflash” is part of the new Worn Through schedule you might have noticed that I’ve been playing around with the past few weeks.

Mondays-Calls for Submissions and Conference Announcements
Wednesdays-Heather’s History Commentaries

And then throughout the week anything else we feel like dropping in.

But, this week I did not have time to get a “Newsflash” together as I have been taking my preliminary written exams. Wow. What a relief two days are done although I have one more to go on Monday.

Basically, the exams are 9a-5p, closed book/note, on a computer and with pen and paper handy, and you have to answer two of three essay questions. The questions follow a general format for the days of theory day 1, then evaluation and analysis (method) day 2, and then concentration (your specialization) day 3, and so they are general questions which have been tweaked to personally suit you and your studies.

If you’ve ever taken them and passed-congrats to you!-as I now know what an arduous task that was.

Plus, after it’s all done on Monday, I then have to wait 4 weeks for the results to find out if I passed. That proces is based on my dissertation committee each reading my responses, grading them, and conferring to decide if basically I know enough to be allowed to move forward in the program.

Overall, I think I’m doing ok so far but who knows really. I will say I studied a tremendous amount, and taking it over the summer was a valuable asset as it provided me the time to treat studying like its own course. I have two classmates and friends who are also taking it around this time, and we have been meeting weekly to go through our notes class by class for the entire summer. Luckily we’ve taken many of the same courses, and the differing ones are fairly complementary. So, every week we’ve “assigned” ourselves a course to summarize for the group, and we discuss what we’ve all come up with. While telling you the specifics of my questions and answers doesn’t help anyone, if any if you readers want to see our course note summaries I’d be happy to share them as they were invaluable for the studying. We’d go over authors, theories, concepts, examples, in each set of notes. We then capped the summer by going through outlines for potential answers to sample questions in an effort to synthesize the material. The final thing I did to study was to re-read all of my own term papers and projects over and over as there was no point in reinvneting the wheel on what sources I like and am familiar with and what concepts are already drilled into my brain. Plus, papers always do a decent job of integrating material from a few different courses as there is a bit of a building block idea in there.

So……I’ll spend this last weekend studying some more, and then I actually have about 1-2 weeks of so-called “free” summer with which I’ve got a million school/academic things to do but I’m determined to rock out a bit. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings will be playing the Minnesota State Fair (for free-cool!), and there are a few gallery events and pre-RNC conference activities around town that sound interesting.

I’ll try to get a “Newsflash” up this weekend, but hang in there with me as my brain is a little fried. Wish me luck!–Monica

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  • Worn Through » Newsflash
    September 19, 2008 - 3:19 pm

  • Maggie December 01, 2009 08.08 pm

    Hi! Long time reader, first time commenter… I’m a student at the neighboring UW Design Studies, and I will be preparing for my prelims soon. I tucked this blog post away, meaning to take you up on the offer for sharing course summaries/reading lists, but am only now confronting the inevitable. Would you still be willing (or have these) to share?

  • Worn Through » Grad School Written Exams
    December 2, 2009 - 5:00 am

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Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at :, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.