Comprehensive Exams, Part I, Done

A couple of hours ago, I walked out of the first part of the comprehensive exams that I have to take at the end of my first year of the DrPH program. I wasn’t alone, though. Every first-year epidemiology master’s and doctoral student has to take them. (Though master’s students need a 70% to pass, while doctoral students need a 75% to pass.) The exam started at 8:30am, and it took me about 4 hours to get through it.

It goes without saying that I can’t tell you what was on the exam, but I can tell you that I feel fairly confident about it. Most of the epidemiological concepts covered in it were not foreign to me, which is why I’m feeling confident. Sure, there were one or two questions here and there that had me totally confused, and a few more that I might lose some points on because I either didn’t choose all the right answers or I chose a wrong one among the right ones.

So we’ll see what happens.

I have to focus on the second part tomorrow, which promises to be a little more complex. They will give us a couple of journal articles and ask us questions about it. The questions will range from questions about the study design in the paper to questions on how we would apply the evidence presented in the articles in a real-life public health practice setting. And maybe some questions on how I would explain the findings in the study to the general public.

God, I hope I can do that, otherwise the whole idea of my blogging and the six years at the health department will have been wasted.

In the unlikely event that I fail either part (or both) of the exams, I get one more chance to pass them later this summer. If I fail that, well, the game is over… I’ll have to find something else to do with my life. (I hear Malawi is lovely this time of year.)

I'm a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. All opinions posted here are my own, of course, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my school, employers, friends, family, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen

2 thoughts on “Comprehensive Exams, Part I, Done

  1. It’s been my experience that when one is quite confident that one has done well with a test, one has done quite well with that test. 🙂


    • Mine too. But I have been wrong. Once or twice I’ve thought that I did well only to find out that I bombed the exam. Worst feeling in the world, ever.


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