Hi all, the Comprehensive Examination is a requirement for the degree. Everyone needs to take it and the proper time, determined by the Registrar’s Office, to take it is before the beginning of ENGL 516, your final-semester Thesis Seminar course. That means everyone taking the Thesis Seminar should have completed the Comp Exam by this point. If you are in ENGL 516 and you have not completed the Comp Exam, you must contact me immediately. I will send you the exam and you will administer it to yourself. At that point, whether or not the Registrar processes the result in time for spring graduation is entirely in her court. Contact me if you have any questions about this at CLoots@mercy.edu. Thanks all.
The Comprehensive Exam is an essay exam which all students must take and pass in the time between the penultimate and ultimate semesters in the program. All students preparing to enter their final semester and hoping to take their ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis Tutorial must pass the Comp Exam in order to do so. The Comp Exam therefore functions as a gateway to the final semester.
So how do you take the exam? Upon completing your penultimate semester, contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and request the Comp Exam. I will then send you the exam instructions as an attachment. You then have ten days in which to open the attachment and respond to its instructions. There’s no big secret here: the exam asks you to write two essay responses to your choice of a list of topic questions. The questions are phrased in a way where you can apply anything you’ve studied in the program to your answer. Students don’t always read the same exact materials over the course of the program and this is taken into account in the phrasing of the questions. The questions don’t exactly “test” you as much as they give you a platform to really show us what you know and how you think.
Though you have a ten day window in which to administer the exam to yourself, the exam itself only allows four hours. This gives you time to write two brief essays that show what you know. The exam is administered on the honor system: we trust students on their honor to adhere to the four hour limit, and to keep the questions confidential. The essay responses must be returned within ten days at which point the Director assesses them.