Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Passed The Common Exam... Sort Of...

The common exam is the phd physics program entrance exam. You have to pass it in order to be formally admitted to the program. The common exam was what you might call a rather tough test. If you don't pass the test the first time no sweat you can take it again next year, but if you fail it a second time you will not be admitted to the program and therefore cannot receive your PHD, game over. Because the test is so hard and because of the harsh penalty for failing twice if you don't quite pass you may get what is called a "conditional pass" which means that the department will pretend you passed just so long as you get an A- or better in some particular class. Usually that means physics 5010 (a night class taught by one of the most mad scientist like looking professors I know) in my case it means I have to get an A- or better in 5020.

I'm not really sure how I feel about having conditionally passed a test. I won't actually know if I passed or failed the test I took this past Saturday until 9 months from now even though the test got graded 2 days after the test. But one thing is for sure I have never been so happy to get 40% on a test.

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