Comprehensive Exams

Comprehensive exams look a little different at almost every university, and can even differ between programs at the same school. 

Whether your comps include written and oral components, or if they take the form of a time-limited written assignment spanning several unique questions, Precision’s dissertation consulting team can help you from start to finish.

Regardless of your university’s specific approach (we’re particularly familiar with Northcentral’s 4-question and Capella’s 3-question exam formats, among others), comps serve to evaluate your preparedness for doctoral research in two key areas: theoretical knowledge and practical expertise.

Theoretical knowledge should demonstrate your understanding of dominant theories and concepts in your field–whether that’s education, business, nursing, psychology, or another academic discipline altogether–as well as the most prevalent methodological quantitative and qualitative research approaches used to ask and answer questions in your area of interest.

Practical expertise, broadly defined, applies to your ability to identify a feasible research design to complete your proposed research. In this sense, “practical” applies not only to doctoral projects that emphasize planned interventions or final deliverables ready to distribute to practitioners but to a clear understanding of the logistics required to complete rigorous doctoral-level research.

In some cases, your university may ask you to focus on a broad overview of key research and methodology in your field, and in others, your comprehensive exams may serve a more focused purpose for you to begin to develop your doctoral research in some detail. Either way, comps should really be seen as a critical final stepping stone before the dissertation–and we’re here to provide initial dissertation assistance and editing services that meet your needs!

Our comprehensive exam assistance includes the following elements–and all of our dissertation consulting can be tailored to meet your specific goals now and throughout the process.
Comprehensive Exams
Literature Search: We prioritize recent research so that your exam questions follow the 85/15 standard required by many universities. This ensures that 85% of your research is recent (published within the last five years) and the remaining 15% of your sources are made up of seminal works (such as those required to provide a comprehensive discussion of the conceptual or theoretical framework).

Expert Drafting Support: Regardless of your specific exam questions, we draw on our expertise across a broad range of disciplines to assist you in drafting compelling responses that exceed length and content requirements–no matter what the timeline.

Oral Exam Preparation: If your university requires an oral exam as part of your comps, we have dedicated presentation experts on our dissertation consulting staff who can help you prepare. We concentrate on your ability to confidently explain key theories, studies, and methodological approaches relevant to your research. As experts in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research, we can ask detailed questions to assist you in gaining an understanding of what to expect during your oral exams.
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Whether your comps include written and oral components, or if they take the form of a time-limited written, Think Stats’ consulting team can help you.
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