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Comps: Trial by Fire? November 15, 2006

Posted by L Wolfe in Class Stuff.

For those of you that just passed your comprehensive exams (as I did)
For those of you that look forward to taking comps (or not), I have a few confessions, um, thoughts…

Since I had the week off from work, a very wise but not necessarily imperative move, I had plenty of time to procrastinate, er, work hard on my papers.  The first few days, friends and family were able to easily distract me with offers of outings.  And after working so many extra hours at work and practicum lately, I deserved it, right?  When I really got down to serious writing, I could still fit in the procrastination because, you know, I work best writing a while and then thinking (actually this is true).  However, it occurred to me that usually this thinking is done during the commute to and from work.  And no, although I considered it, I did not get in the car and just drive around for inspiration or clarity.  But, around the middle of the week, my self-inflicted doubt and pressure set off a mini meltdown.  A little breathing, mindless television, and it was fine.  After that, I didn’t take it so seriously and just got it done.  That would have to be the best advice I could offer.  Just get it done.  You are prepared, even if at times it doesn’t feel that way.  And if that doesn’t work, never underestimate the power of chocolate and caffeine. 

Any other survival stories?



1. heyheypaula - November 15, 2006

Wow, congratulations! Thanks for the input. I’m sure it feels great to be finished 🙂 Seems like “comps” is almost legendary after the information is passed around and around. There’s nothing wrong with a mini-meltdown here and there…I should know.

2. Shannon S - November 18, 2006

I passed comps as well. I am SO much more relaxed now than I have been in the past few months! One more paper and then I’m done.

Anyway, I turned in the questions on Wednesday morning, and stressed for the next week and a half, second guessing myself. And Lisa, I also had a mini (or not-so-mini, if you ask my husband!) meltdown, Monday night.

I can offer this advice…try to gather as many resources as possible based upon the hints. It will save A LOT of time when it comes time to write them.

Lisa mentioned to me that she started with the questions she thought she’d have the most difficulty with to get them out of the way.

I employed the opposite strategy…I started with the one I felt most comfortable with (and the one I was most interested in), because I knew that once I could get writing, it would just flow….and it did.

Different methods will work for different people, but I will say that rarely have I been as relieved as I was on November 10th, when I saw those four, little, wonderful letters: P A S S.

3. JbF - November 20, 2006

I also took time off from work the entire week, except Tuesday. I used Tuesday as a bounce off day, just to see if my direction made sense and to get my mind on other things than comps.
I started with the easiest question (in my mind) and then left ample time towards the end of the week for the more difficult one. I did not get any interupptions b/c I specifically warned family and friends not to call or come by for that week. I would see them at the family event on Sunday.
I set up our large buffet table right in the middle of the living. Had plenty of direct sunlight and good music playing. I sometimes struggle getting my thougts into writing so that was my main worry, I knew the information but getting it on paper as my concern.
I was so thrilled when Blackboard said PASS that I printed it off to make sure my eyes weren’t fooling me.

4. Julia - November 20, 2006

Congratulations~ all of you!!

5. Julie - November 20, 2006

I passed too! It sounds like I hard a remarkably similar experience, what with the procrastination and the mini-meltdown. I agree with the advice about starting with the easiest question. I started with the hardest question and I wouldn’t recommend it. I spent entirely too much time on it and then felt rushed and less than confident writing the rest. But all’s well that ends well, right?

6. Joy Weese Moll - November 20, 2006

Congratulations, all! I passed my comps a year ago this month.

For future comps-takers, I recommend a study group leading up to comps. It was the most rewarding experience of library school to sit down with fellow students for an hour every week and toss around the hints and whatever else was going on.

I also second lcwk86’s thoughts on “just get it done.” I realized afterwards that I was trying to ace what is just a pass/fail exam. Perfectionism was not my friend that week.

7. Chris - November 24, 2006

I am just starting in the library science program and it’s great to hear all of your thoughts and strategies for comps. I also suffer from striving for perfection so I will try to keep in mind that it is a pass/fail exam when my time comes.

Thanks for sharing and congratulations!

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