The Catholic University of America


Comprehensive Examination > What should I expect during comps?

First, please be sure that you have registered for comps (link: and filled out all the necessary paperwork. If you are eligible to take comps but did not register for comps by the add/drop date, you will be subjected to a late registration fee.

Afer you have been confirmed as eligible to take the exam, you will be enrolled in a special Blackboard site, “LIS Comprehensive Exams.” You will receive an email (to your account) notifying you of this with instructions to confirm you can access the site and sample questions. This will happen about one month before the exam.

About a week before the exam, you will receive an email with your Test ID. This is used to anonymously identify you throughout the grading process. You will use this instead of your name in your essay.

At 9:00 a.m. on Friday, the sample questions in Blackboard are replaced with the real questions. You log into the Blackboard comps site to read the two questions. You then choose which question to answer and write your essay. By 9 a.m. Monday morning, you must submit your essay on Blackboard. Do NOT paste it into the text boxes.

During the exam, you are free to work where you like. Computer labs are available on campus and some are open continually (see for lab locations and schedules).

Keep these important points in mind:

  • Refer to the Grading Rubric (pdf)
  • Your paper should draw on what you have learned from your courses and the literature of the field.
  • Essays must be submitted by 9:00 a.m. Monday at the latest – you should plan to submit earlier in case you have technical issues.
  • You are responsible for submitting your essay on time, so if you are working off-campus, have a backup-plan in case of network problems.
  • You may submit your essay at any time during the exam period.
  • You may only submit your essay once.
  • Your file name must be in the format <Test ID>–<Question No.>.doc (or .docx or .pdf).
    EXAMPLE:  If your I.D. number was 205 and you answered question #1, then you would type your filename as: 205–Q1
  • You must not put your name or any personally identifying information in the essay.

During the exam, LIS monitors a special email address, TBD, to respond to questions. This email is monitored Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Monday morning beginning at 8 a.m.