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Comprehensive Written Examination

The Comprehensive Written Examination, a requirement of the Postdoctoral Master's Degree Program, will demonstrate your ability to integrate and synthesize the core competencies of the program.

You will be eligible for the Comprehensive Written Examination within six months after successful completion of these courses:

  • CTSC 5010 — Clinical Research Protocol Development
  • CTSC 5300 — Introduction to Clinical Epidemiology
  • CTSC 5310 — Clinical Epidemiology II
  • CTSC 5390 — Advanced Applied Epidemiological Methods
  • CTSC 5600 — Statistics in Clinical Research
  • CTSC 5601 — Utilizing Statistics in Clinical Research
  • CTSC 5610 — Introductory Statistical Methods II
  • CTSC 5690 — Critical Appraisal of Statistical Methods in the Medical Literature
  • CTSC 5720 — Clinical Trials: Design and Conduct

Scheduling your exam

To allow sufficient time to schedule, coordinate and prepare your exam, you must notify the CCaTS postdoctoral education specialist in writing at least six weeks prior to your proposed examination date.

The exam is offered the third Tuesday of January, April and August.

After notifying the CCaTS postdoctoral education specialist of your desired Comprehensive Written Examination date, you will be informed about the time and location of your exam and provided with exam guidelines, as well as a copy of a previous exam.

Exam details

The CCaTS Postdoctoral Programs Committee has approved the following requirements for the Comprehensive Written Examination:

  • The exam will be administered in a location with a computer and printer available. Answers will be completed according to a pre-specified template.
  • You will take the exam, which uses an "open book" and "open notes" format, on a computer. You may bring any materials you would like. However, you will not be allowed to use the terminal as anything but a word processor. You will not be allowed to search the Internet or access notes that have been stored electronically. Any class notes you want to use must be printed and bought with you. Please either leave your pager at home or turn it off. iPhones, iPads or any other type of smartphones and other computer devices will not be allowed into the exam room.
  • You will have six hours to complete the exam, with three hours devoted to each of two exercises:
    • The morning exercise will involve reviewing a journal article according to the Journal of the American Medical Association's "Users' Guides to the Medical Literature."
    • The afternoon exercise will involve a hypothetical clinical problem. You will be asked to define the research question and outline a research design that would address this question.
  • Possible grades are "high pass," "pass" and "fail." Members of the CCaTS Written Comprehensive Examination Subcommittee review the exams and provide written evaluations.
    • Upon successful completion of the Comprehensive Written Examination, you and your mentor will be notified by the CCaTS Postdoctoral Programs Committee, as well as receive a copy of the Master's Written Examination Report Form and a copy of the exam questions with your answers. The appropriate Mayo Graduate School form will be completed and forwarded to the Mayo Graduate School Education Committee for notation.
    • If you receive a "fail," a 30-minute oral exam will take place within three to five days with several faculty members from the CCaTS Written Comprehensive Examination Subcommittee. The intent of this oral exam is to determine whether you have sufficiently mastered the core material, and it will not necessarily focus exclusively on the written examination.

      A copy of your written exam will be provided to you the day before your scheduled oral exam, as you may be asked to clarify your answers.

      Your exam grade will be determined based on the written and oral exam and forwarded to Mayo Graduate School. The exam chair will recommend the final grade to the CCaTS Postdoctoral Programs Committee for approval (in consultation with the committee, should there be disagreement among the reviewers).

  • If you receive a failing grade on your exam (the combined results of your written exam and subsequent oral exam, if applicable), the following will apply:
    • You will meet with your mentor and the exam chair to develop a plan of remediation that addresses areas of deficiency.
    • Following the period of remediation, your mentor and the exam chair will engage you in discourse to evaluate what you learned during this period of remediation and determine if further preparation is necessary.
    • You are required to retake the exam after the period of remediation. The retest must take place no later than one year after the date of the first exam.
  • The Comprehensive Written Examination may not be taken more than twice. In alignment with Mayo Graduate School's probation and dismissal policy (must be logged in to the Mayo network), failing the exam twice will result in dismissal from the Postdoctoral Master's Degree Program.
  • Feb 27, 2014
  • ART052959