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Reasons for keeping Comps

  • Our only uniform measure and comparison.
  • The exams show outliers on both ends of the performance curve and test our impressions of specialization prospects.
  • A higher expectation: passing all exams at the same time would test a student at a much higher level than the requirements in individual courses.
  • Survival training: to succeed in grad school and later career, one must learn to perform under pressure.
  • Students learn in all three areas before choosing a research direction/advisor. The exams encourage attention and hard work in associated courses. Make students more knowledgeable in all three areas. Encourage really learning some fundamentals, so that they might have a serious chance of ``cross pollination'' Promote cross fertilization of ideas from different areas.
  • Bootcamp experience: 1st year students studying together forming lasting friendship.
  • Collective faculty attention to students: faculty working together creating and grading exams and discussing results.
  • Competitive advantage of being a small department: all faculty grade all exams, not relegated to a committee or a subset of areas. Let faculty not teaching in the first year assess students.
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Topic revision: r3 - 2010-05-27 - ChenDing
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