Well, this week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I took the PhD qualifying exams. I think I did OK on them, but the transport test (heat, mass, and momentum) had a couple of curve balls that I could have handled better. I won’t know the results for a couple of weeks though. Since the tests are taken anonymously (I was simply given a number for the three tests) and each professor only grades one problem, it seems like a reasonably impartial system. After all the questions are graded, next week all the faculty will meet together and decide where the cutoff grade is for each test.
According to what I hear from the older grad students, usually there is a majority group that gets better that 60% on the tests, and then a lower group that is 40% or lower. It is between these two groups that they usually make the pass/fail line.
Now I have another semester of classes to get ready for, and this semester I’m going to get started on my research. One of my classes is called Surface Phenomena, and is considered to be the hardest class in the college. Not to mention that it’s being taught by my professor. But it can’t be as bad as last semester where I had two very difficult homework-intensive classes, so I think I can handle it.
Long since overdue update: I passed all three of the qualifying exams, so now I just have 4 years of research, with some occasional classes thrown in.