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Have you all noticed a theme lately in my Instagram posts? Yep, my desk. Because for the past couple weeks it has been the center of my universe. I am sure you are tired of hearing about my comps prep, well let me tell you, I am tired of prepping! 

This week has been particularly difficult, as I am losing my study stamina! But I just need to power through the weekend and then Monday the real torture begins. I feel mentally ready, I am just not sure if I have the patience to write three essays for six hours (each) over the course of three days. But I guess there is only one way to find out!

My overall approach for studying for this exam was to create notecards for every book/article on my reading list. This was a great idea until about half way through, then it became super tedious. Fortunately, I had budgeted enough time for burnout and after a couple days of procrastinating I was back on the notecard horse. Once I completed the cards, I began organizing them by date (of publication) and theme, this was really helpful for my final phase - creating outlines based on my exam topics (I won't know the actual questions until the day of the exam). 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the history PhD comprehensive exam, it is basically three essays on different topics - like women and medicine in early modern Italy - and you use basically every book you have read on the topic while in grad school to answer the question. They can be content based questions about a specific historical event, time, or movement, or more likely, a historiographical question. It's definitely comprehensive!

So now that I have all of my cards created, organized, and outlined, this weekend is all about review, review, review! The weather this weekend is supposed to be gorgeous, so I think I will grab a blanket and my notecards and review outside! 

champagne print // bar cart // wine tumblers // shaker (old from West Elm)

This last picture represents the massive drink I am going to have once this is finally over!

What are you up to this weekend?

Ashley B
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  1. Good luck with comps!! The worst part is definitely the anticipation, but it sounds like you've got a great review strategy! I know that they're super low-tech, but I've recently gotten into using notecards to take notes on articles and books I'm reading for my dissertation before I put them into my main outline in Word. It is (I hope) helping me avoid the tendency to record unimportant details and helping me synthesize the "takeaways" in my own words as I go. Plus, I get to use fun pens.
    Best of luck!

  2. Good luck with your comps Ashley! I am sure you will do great :)

    Prep on a Budget

  3. I wish I had those enormous index cards when I was studying for my MA comps! I think I'm going to order some now for my PhD comps and start up a database as I go… Less work later!
    Best of luck on Monday! It's such a relief when comps are over!

  4. All your hard work will pay off big time! Also I'm glad I'm not the only one obsessed with shop I bought a phone case from them but I could have easily bought the whole store.

  5. Where did you get those flowers in the first picture? I love them!


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