Comprehensive Examination Suggestions for Preparation

This examination is a general examination covering broad areas. It is not intended to be an achievement test in the various courses or areas. The examination is designed to give you, the graduate student, an opportunity to demonstrate comprehension and understanding in your teaching area. Questions are designed so that you can make application of your knowledge to the school setting.

The examination will be given in a three-hour block. You will be given twelve questions based on the course work in your area of concentration. You will choose six short answer essay questions (one from each standard in the School of Education examinations) to answer. This will allow approximately thirty minutes per question. See Items 11-12 for all other examinations.

  1. The questions will be based on the objectives for the key courses listed on your comprehensive examination application. Review the syllabus for the course and see if you have met the objectives for the course.
  2. A general review of each key course is recommended. You should review the textbook, class notes, handouts, examinations, and readings in each course subject to the examination. Make note of significant research and contributions of experts in the field. Be prepared to cite such authorities to support your answer.
  3. Look for ways in which the course content is related to the overall goals of public education. Note innovations and trends especially in your area of concentration.
  4. If a course was taken four or five years ago, you would profit from reviewing a current textbook or reading articles related to that area.
  5. Writing skills are an important aspect of the examination. You will be expected to write answers that reflect correct grammar, usage, and writing style. Problems with writing expression may keep you from passing the examination.
  6. A planned review over a period of time is recommended rather than a last minute cramming session in an attempt to memorize information and data. Students have reported that forming an Exam Study Group significantly increased their success on the examination.
  7. A note of caution: Be sure that you carefully read each question before answering it. Sometimes students do not respond to the question asked. You will not be given credit for writing that is not an attempt to answer the question. It will help if you outline your response to the question on the inside page of the blue book before you start writing your response.
  8. Watching the clock is important. Since you have a maximum of three hours to complete the exam, you must limit yourself to thirty minutes per question. There are a number of examples of students who failed to complete the final question because of lack of time.
  9. A copy of the scoring rubric used by the faculty is enclosed so that you can see how your examination will be evaluated.
  10. For M.Ed. School of Education examinations, there will be twelve questions from which you will answer six questions (ONE FROM EACH STANDARD). You must average a 3 or better on the 6 chosen questions.
  11. For M.Ed. Biology, English, Social Studies or Mathematics, there will be six questions from which you will answer three questions. You must average a 3 or better on the three chosen questions.
  12. For M.Ed. in Gifted Education, you will answer all four questions. You must average a 3 or better on the four questions.