Tag Archives: Comprehensive exams

Links: Meritocracy, Artful Sentences, Comprehensive Exams

From Inside Higher Ed, here is an argument against restricting the levels of graduate school admissions. Tucker argues that admitting fewer PhD candidates is a poor response to the lack of academic jobs; he doesn’t want to see the pool of talent diminished before graduate students have a chance to begin their training. While he admits that graduate school is not a perfect meritocracy, he still prefers the idea of training more students than the academic job market can handle. Here is a strongly worded response to Tucker, one that suggests that this argument for meritocracy predictably ignores structural factors.

Here is a widely shared article from Slate about the art of the sentence. The article and the book it is reviewing (Stanley Fish’s How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One) are both ultimately concerned with literary writing, but I was interested in the assessment of the enduring popularity of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style: “It is spoken in the voice of unquestioned authority in a world where that no longer exists. . . . And when it comes to an activity as variable, difficult, and ultimately ungovernable as writing sentences, the allure of rules that dictate brevity and concreteness is enduring.”

Finally, here is a blog post from Hook and Eye on preparing for comprehensive exams; the author is collecting tips on studying for these types of exams, so check the comments for further insights from other graduate students.