I was honored to sit in (note the empty chair at the head table) on the oral comprehensive exams of the Candidate of Science students, similar to our PhD. In America, we concentrate on particular regions or time periods at this point in our academic careers, but in Russia, anything is fair game on your comprehensive exams. There are fifty sheets of paper with two questions on each, and students select one at random. There are questions on ancient history, local history, regional history, world history, etc. You get your questions and have an hour to prepare. Then you sit in front of a committee, like this guy, and answer the questions. I was sitting in when a question on the Cold War came up. Ask me about it next time you see me.
Posted in Dave/Ann Blog.