Masters (MS) Exam Schedule

Fall 2017 Schedule

Sign-up period: October 5-16, 2017
Last day to cancel without penalty if signed up: Monday, October 23, 2017
Exam handed out: 12:30 pm, Tuesday,October 31, 2017
Exam due: 11:00 am, Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Meetings with Clients: TBD
Oral exams: Friday, November 10, 2017



Intent & Formal Considerations

Notice of Intent to take MS Exam (Sign-up and Cancellation)

If you intend to take the exam this semester, please indicate this during the sign-up period, which will be announced in a future email from the graduate coordinator. Generally, no more than twelve students may take the MS exam each semester. Please note the date of the last day to cancel the exam without penalty if you sign up and then change your mind.

Taking the Exam

Picking up a copy of the exam constitutes "taking the exam." If a student fails the exam on the first attempt, the following options are available:

  • If you fail the exam in the spring, the second and final attempt must be made the following fall or the following spring.
  • If you fail the exam in the fall, the second and final attempt must be made the following spring or the following fall.
  • Failure to turn in the reports by the indicated time will constitute failure on the exam.
  • Errata sheets will be accepted by the committee at the time of the oral exam. Obviously, such errata should be kept to a minimum.

Confidentiality and Honor Code

The examination should be treated as confidential and candidates should ensure that no one else reads it until after the oral examinations are completed. In addition, the examination should not be discussed with anyone else until that time, unless permission is obtained from the committee to do otherwise. The only exceptions to this rule involve members of the exam committee. Please sign the attached honor code form on the day you pick up the exam and then again at your oral exam (there are two lines on the form to be signed on the different dates).

Intent to Graduate

You should let John know when you sign up for the exam what semester you are intending to graduate, so that he can file the appropriate paperwork with the Graduate School.



MS Exam Format

The exam consists of problems similar to those that may later be encountered on the job. The exam has two parts: (1) preparing one or more written reports and (2) answering oral questions of the MS Exam Committee. Copies of earlier exam problems are available for reading in John Schuppel's office (Room 1220D)

Client Visit

Generally, you will meet with each client briefly (10-15 minutes) early in the examination period. Prepare a written list of questions on each problem to give to the client at the beginning of the session. It is understood that an answer to any question may cause you to follow up with questions in an order that differs from the one prepared ahead of time. Indeed, you may think of questions that had not occurred to you before. Make a photocopy of your lists of questions and hand them in as an Appendix to your report. Be sure your name does not appear on these lists.

Written Reports

Write a separate report for each problem on the exam. Direct each report to the client who provided the problem. Do not exceed 12 pages per report, including summary. No separate title page should be used - instead, list the title on the first page of your report, followed by 1-2 lines of space before the beginning of the report. Writing should be concise, legible and thorough, while containing the appropriate amount of "hard" statistical information. Finding the balance between too much and too little formal statistical information is a key part of report preparation.

The report text must be double-spaced and in a font that produces no more than 32 lines of text per page (for example, 1.5 line spacing, standard width, and various 11pt fonts in Word; or various LaTeX formats using 11pt or 12pt). Figure and table captions may be single-spaced. Be sure to number all the pages on your report.

A very brief Appendix may be included with each problem, and is not counted toward the 12-page limit. In general, use caution in deciding what to include in an Appendix. Information critical to major analyses should appear in the main body of the report. Lengthy appendices beyond a few extra graphs and tables will receive much less attention than the main body of the report.

Oral Exams

The oral questioning provides an opportunity to explore various points in greater depth and to clear up questions such as those relating to choice of models, priorities and analyses not reported. Questioning is not necessarily limited to just those topics covered in the written portion of the exam. Please sign up for a time for the oral exam when you pick up the exam. Errata sheets will be accepted by the committee at the time of the oral exam. Such errata should be kept to a minimum as there is little time to discuss them.

Computer Facilities

The departmental computers are intended as the primary computers for this exam. The data file(s) will be accessible on all departmental computers. Many of the data sets from earlier MS exams are available on the departmental computers in subdirectories of /p/stat/Data/MS.exam/. Use of non-departmental computer systems is allowed for the exam but you will have to make your own arrangements for copying data and accessing the necessary software.