Comprehensive Exams: What You Should Know
Did you know that every student enrolled in Argosy University's Psychology master's program must complete a comprehensive exam? Do you know what the exam covers, or when it is required? Here, we'll give you an overview of the comprehensive examination process. You will want to consult your program for more specific and extensive information.
What Is the Comprehensive Exam?
The comprehensive exam evaluates cumulative knowledge that you will have covered throughout the entire program. Indeed, you must successfully complete all required first and second year courses before taking the comprehensive exam. You must also have a GPA of 3.0 or better.
The comprehensive exam is your opportunity to demonstrate new learning, your emerging skill sets and your accomplishments. The questions are closely tied to the learning objectives of your program. Most students take the comprehensive exam after completing their first two years. While some think that they can prepare for it in just a few weeks, successful students begin preparing as soon as they are enroll in the program. The exam is closely tied to the knowledge gained throughout your program, so material learned in the very first class will be relevant for the comprehensive exam.
How Do You Prepare?
Create a folder for each class to retain your discussion responses, papers and references to articles. This will serve as an excellent study resource for the comprehensive exam. Grading of the comprehensive exam is rigorous. Students are expected to present well researched and clearly written responses to the examination questions. These responses are to be based on the theories, models and applications presented in the various courses. Students are to use peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles to support their reasoning. References should demonstrate a thorough knowledge and familiarity with the current literature.
How Is the Exam Scored?
The examination is scored against mastery of program-specific learning outcomes. In addition, you are expected to have a high level of scholarly writing ability consistent with graduate-level performance. Other criteria include organization, comprehensiveness, relevancy, cogency and depth of the responses.
There are several possible outcomes for the comprehensive exam:
- You can pass the exam, demonstrating mastery on all topics.
- You can pass with remediation; this can occur if you are deficient in one or, at the most, two areas. You may then rewrite the portions of the examination that are deemed deficient. You have one rewrite opportunity. If the resubmitted examination again fails, you must retake the entire comprehensive exam.
- You can fail the exam. You then have two additional opportunities to retake the exam. If you are unable to pass all parts of the comprehensive exam in three attempts, you will be dismissed from the program.
In the cases of passing with remediation or failing, you will have the opportunity to meet with your academic or faculty advisor for assistance with completing the exam requirement.