here. - AChEGS

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Qualifying Exams AChEGS
Review
October 17th, 2012
Disclaimer
•The views and advice given in
this presentation are solely those
of the officers of AChEGS and
not those of the faculty of the
School of Chemical and
Biomolecular Engineering.
2
Outline
•Present test format
•Discuss test content
•Provide old qualifying exams
•Answer questions and calm fears
(somewhat)
3
Format
•Written exam
•Oral exam
4
Written exam format
• Three hours
• Eight questions  22.5 min/question
• No notes, textbooks, or any other such materials
– You need to be able to remember or derive important
equations
• Calculators are permitted but cannot have equations or
information saved in them
– TI-83, TI-89, similar are acceptable, but cannot have
stored equations, printing, etc.
5
Written exam content
• Exam question breakdown:
– Two thermodynamics questions
– Two kinetics/reactor design questions
– Two transport questions
– One additional question from the three above
topics
– One “miscellaneous” question
• This is not set in stone
6
Recurring themes of written exam
• Mass and energy balances (thermo, kinetics)
• Raoult’s law and simple deviations from Raoult’s law
(thermo)
• CSTRs, PFRs, batch reactors (kinetics)
• Non-isothermal reactor design (kinetics)
• Shell balances (mass and heat transfer)
• Navier-Stokes equations (momentum transfer)
• Dimensionless numbers
(This list is by no means exhaustive)
7
Written exam: How to pass
• Study early and often
• Memorize fundamental equations and dimensionless
numbers (i.e. Re, Bi, Pe, Pr, St, Sc, Nu, etc.)
• Start from fundamental equations  mass/mole balances,
transport analogies, etc.
• TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PARTIAL CREDIT! ATTEMPT
EVERY QUESTION!
– You will be clueless for about 1.5 of the problems
– No penalty for wrong answers  write something!
– One professor grades all answers to one problem
• Need at least 4/8 to pass, to guarantee passing you need
~5.5/8 (my estimate)
• Passing rate on January exam is around 65-70%
8
Written exam: How to pass
• Study from textbooks
– Fogler (kinetics); Smith, van Ness, and
Abbott (thermo); Bird, Stewart, and
Lightfoot (transport)
9
Written exam: How to pass
• Study from old exams
– Log onto AD domain on ChBE computer (computer lab)
– \\chbefiles\Public\Past_Qualifying_Exams\Qualifiers
– Do not cut or transfer files out of the folder!
– http://achegs.chbe.gatech.edu/
• Central printing
– http://faq.oit.gatech.edu/content/how-do-i-use-oitmobile-printing
10
Oral exam format
• After written exam, you have one week to
critique a journal article from the literature
• Faculty panel of three professors (you will not
know who until you show up to your exam)
– Usually one easy, one medium, and one hard prof.
• 15-20 minute PowerPoint presentation
followed by 40-45 minute question and answer
session
11
Oral exam content
• Journal article from any discipline of chemical and
biomolecular engineering as well as related disciplines
– Thermodynamics, transport, kinetics, and reactor design
– Biology, organic chemistry, physical chemistry,
mathematics, modeling, etc.
• Most papers will have both experimental results and
mathematical modeling
• You MUST work ALONE
• You must present both a summary AND critique of the
paper
– Fail to critique and you will not pass
12
Oral exam: How to pass
• Practice with old journal articles from oral exams
–
–
–
–
–
–
Within your research group
Within your study group
Practice answering questions under pressure
Practice using the whiteboard
Practice timing
Practice your English
• Need 2 out of 3 professors to pass you
• Pass rate 65-70%
13
Oral exam: Tips
• Divide your presentation appropriately
• Bring your own supplies
– Laser pointer/clicker, dry-erase marker
•
•
•
•
Do not bring any presentation aids or handouts
Clarify questions before answering them
Use white board
Limit supplementary material
– Do not answer a question with a slide
• Be confident
– Questions are intended to trip you up
14
Overall performance
• 60-65% pass both written and oral exam on 1st attempt
• 25-30% pass either written or oral exam on 1st attempt
• 10-15% pass neither written nor oral exam on 1st
attempt
• Between January and May exams, pass rate on both
exams is 90-95% (overall pass rate 91% from 2005-2012)
• Pass/fail is based solely on performance, not on class
size or any other factor
• BOTTOM LINE: Work hard and you will pass
(eventually)!
15
Acknowledgements
• AChEGS officers
• Dr. Koros
16
Thank you!
•Questions?
17
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