The written portion of my comprehensive examination is due on February 9th, just 9 weeks away. The oral defense of the written portion should happen about a month afterwards. All of this will occur on a full semester of courses. Fortunately for me, I will have most of winter break to work on it. I'm not worrying about it right now because I have one week left of this semester to wrap up. As soon as this semester's courses finish this coming Thursday, I will begin my preparation for my comps.
Comprehensive exams come at the end of completing one's PhD course work. Next semester will be my last full semester of courses, and I most likely need to take one more course afterwards for my cognate area. This course, however, will help in my data analysis stage of my research. Most of my classmates have taken or will take their comps in a semester with little or no coursework. However, it is not rare for one to take comps during a full semester of courses.
My department has recently changed the requirements for comps that I will not divulge too much here. The pilot study for this new style of comps will be completed this semester, so I and a couple of my cohorts will undergo the tested new edition. The disadvantage is that we don't have many people to ask about going through this new process. The advantage is that we will establish the initial standard for the tested new edition of comps.
I am being tested on my depth and breadth of knowledge in the field of Foreign Language and ESL Education, my research interest, and the method of research I plan to use for my dissertation. All of this should be assessed by mid-semester in the spring by my department. If I pass, then I am able to submit my prospectus for my dissertation, so I may begin collecting my data for my dissertation. If all goes well and as tentatively planned, I hope to begin collecting data this summer in Japan. The first half of 2012 looks to be incredibly more busy than any other 6-month period I have ever faced before academically. I will see how it compares to the first 6 months of my daughter's life in terms of responsibility, diligence, and stress.