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Masters Comps

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I'm graduating with my MA this may and I'm doing my comps. i don't know how this plays out at other programs, but basically my comps will be a 90 minute oral exam that will cover all of the classes I've taken (10) over my program. I'm kind of at a loss of how to study for this thing. Any suggestions? 

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Hi! My Master's Comps were a little different (6-hour essay exam in three different content areas), but I think that my advice is still relevant. What helped me the most was studying the theoretical underpinnings of each movement within my content area. That way, no matter what I was asked, I would be able to contextualize my answer within those theories.

This strategy helped me the most in my 20th century content area. Rather than starting with modernist texts, for example, I went straight to the thinkers that the Modernists read: William James (subjectivity of time/space), Frank Boaz (anthropology/primitivism), Einstein (relativity), etc. Similarly, authors' comments on their own works were also really helpful, because they often 1) explain their works, and 2) explain their contemporaries' works. I got much more prep out of reading Langston Hughes' essay "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," for example, than reading any one of his poems.

TLDR: Go for theoretical underpinnings and authors' essays on their own philosophies. Hope this helps!

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