Preliminary Exam


The General Knowledge Exam

  1. Written Exam Portion

    • Administered after the first year coursework has been completed in a campus computer lab.
    • Designed to be finished in 4 hours, though 6 hours will be allowed (3 hour morning session, 3 hour afternoon session).
    • Consists of approximately 1/3 basic facts, 1/3 problem solving/short answer and 1/3 integrative essay.
    • Covers the knowledge base that is taught in the core courses (Mole/ Dev; Cell; Systems; Neuroanatomy; Cognitive).
  2. Oral Exam Portion

    • Administered within the week following the written exam.
    • Designed to be a 1.5-hr exam, though additional time may be needed on a case-by-case basis.
    • Allows examination of areas of perceived weakness from the written exam and allows testing of the student’s ability to “think on their feet.”
  3. Exam Committee
    • Composed of 6 faculty approved by the Ed Policy committee. For 2020: DeBello – chair, Fioravante, Diaz, Recanzone, Fox, and Wiltgen.
    • Same committee will write and grade both portions of the exam.
    • If there is an unforeseen conflict, the faculty member will appoint a replacement approved by the Ed Policy Committee.
  4. Outcomes
    • Pass/No Pass/Fail applies to both the written and oral components of the exam.
    • If No Pass on the first attempt, the student will re-take the exam within 3 months (with exemptions for special circumstances approved by the testing and Ed Policy committees). If No Pass on the second attempt, the student will be dismissed from the program.
    • If Fail on first attempt, the student will be dismissed from the program.
    • If No Pass on one section and Pass on the others, then the student may retake just that portion of the exam.