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Thread: About Prelims & Finals

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage bscout's Avatar
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    About Prelims & Finals

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    I have two questions regarding these evaluations.

    i) What is the difference among Prelims, Finals and Comprehensive examinations?

    ii) I have read a lot of these exams but many times, while reading, I think: "I never will be able to solve this" or "there is no way I can came up with an answer" or something like that (hope you get the idea).
    It is the first year in a PhD program so important in terms of education that it will give a new way of solving problems or if right now I cannot understand some of the questions I should re-consider my future? For instance (and just for instance because my problem is with the micro prelims), in my school you must know very well the OLG model but you will not be asked to use that model in order to proof something very complicated.

    Download this pdf (Minnesota) and read the question II.2. It is a good example of the kind of question that let me thinking if I am good enough for this.

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    Don't worry. Once you start, you will see that core exam questions are similar to the ones that you will be dealing with during the first year. And a first year student in Harvard may fail the core exams of any other school even if he/she has passed Harvard cores. Every school has a different structure and first year sequences can really differ from school to school. Professors generally like to teach in their own way of thinking and ask questions in that way. For instance; Lar Peter Hansen's Econometrics course at Chicago is unique in US. It is an excellent course, but one can even think that it is not econometrics.

    So don't worry about the cores at this stage.

    By the way, they all have the same meaning, but i'd prefer to call it "core" for obvious reasons.

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    i) Prelims, qualifiers (quals), comprehensives, etc. are all the same thing.

    ii) I thought that way last year, looking at some. I don't feel that way looking at that Minnesota exam, though it could just be the exam. Look, if you could pass them right now, there'd be no point in going through a year of hell...er I mean class, right?
    University of Wisconsin - Madison: Took my Masters and ran.

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    I wouldn't worry too much, especially if what is bothering you is II.2. That question is mostly recalling definitions and doing simple manipulations. See MWG 17.D for "the generic approach" for example. The people taking this will have had a lecture or two on genericity in which they key points would have been hit, and all you have to do is to remember the main ideas. Same goes for convex functions, etc.

    The point to start worrying is if you know the definitions for a subject cold, and you have seen the main theorems proved, but when it comes time to prove a simple corollary or show why one of the conditions cannot be dropped, you are completely lost. But if II.2 is your worry, relax.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zsla View Post
    For instance; Lar Peter Hansen's Econometrics course at Chicago is unique in US. It is an excellent course, but one can even think that it is not econometrics.
    Can you tell me more about econometrics courses taught by Hansen?

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    Can you tell me more about econometrics courses taught by Hansen?

    Its a course on adding and subtracting the same thing.
    University of Wisconsin - Madison: Took my Masters and ran.

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage Cassin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snappythecrab View Post
    Can you tell me more about econometrics courses taught by Hansen?

    Its a course on adding and subtracting the same thing.

    http://ngandinh.com/sargent.html
    Feb 12, 2003
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    "Ok you go open some matrix algebra book and look up Gram-Schmidt. I implement GS here. I get an innovation process. Now what do I do. I look at this. There's a lot of wishful thinking here. I know omega, I have G, so I know G prime, and I have sigma. Now I need..., no, economists don't say that. Now I WANT. What do I want. I want a formula for R. Right, that's what I want."

    "Now I have the expectation x_t conditioning on this orthogonal basis. I will do this trick. This is what I learned in Hansen's class: you add and subtract the same thing, and hope that something nice happens.

    So you go to the University of Chicago and learn to add and subtract the same thing. That's what you learn."

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    Quote Originally Posted by snappythecrab View Post
    Can you tell me more about econometrics courses taught by Hansen?

    Its a course on adding and subtracting the same thing.
    No you are wrong. We don't do that here in Chicago. It is a defence mechanism developed by those who don't get what's going on.

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    I'm sure you guys add and subtract stuff. It's mathematical trick number one. That's what you do in proofs all the time, especially in analysis when using the triangle inequality. Also nice is mathematical trick number 2: Multiply by 1 (in a smart way by multiplying and dividing by the same thing).

    Of course that's probably not what Hansen's course is about, but it's a tool you use here and there.

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    We don't do that here in Chicago.
    Do you also not get jokes?
    University of Wisconsin - Madison: Took my Masters and ran.

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