Why bother?

Studying for the Comps is a lot of work, but it can be a rewarding experience, both in the short term and in the long term. And your Masters degree will be worth much more if you really learn the material thoroughly, rather than just doing the minimum to scrape by.

  • Intangible rewards
    • No matter what your plans are, you came to CSULB to learn more math or statistics, and you'll spend several semesters learning new material. The Comps, firstly, give you a chance to review what you've learned after the semester is over and organize an entire subject coherently in your mind. Secondly, the rules force you to master two different subjects at once. For the rest of your life, you'll remember that for at least one week, you had a command of a broad spectrum of mathematics. It's a good feeling, and it will give you the confidence that you can always retrieve that knowledge even if you forget details later.
    • If you're heading for a job in industry, you'll be the expert in your field.
    • If you're looking at academic jobs in high schools or community colleges, you will be a much better teacher if you understand the deeper math underlying the ideas you're teaching. You will become the expert to whom your colleagues turn for help.
    • If you're looking at doctoral programs, you probably know that almost all programs have a rigorous battery of written exams that must be passed in the first couple of years. The Comps are excellent practice for these exams.
  • Tangible rewards
    • If you get A's on both your Comps, then you are officially designated by the department to have graduated with Distinction. This is something you can put on your CV/résumé and show to employers, etc.
    • Even if you don't graduate with Distinction, you can brag about good grades on your Comps.
    • Professors grading your Comps will be impressed by strong papers. Many will be willing to express their approval in formal recommendation letters. Even without formal recommendations, the academic community is small, and it is nice to know that your work is well respected around CSULB.