I am now a PhD Candidate in Astronomy at the University of Washington! At UW, the general exam consists of being given a topic and learning as much as you can about the topic in a week. At the end of the week you give an hour long presentation to the department and then have a closed-door session with your committee. My topic was on “The Evolution of Interior and Surface Properties of Low and Intermediate Mass Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars.” I spent the last week learning as much as I could about AGB stars and I’m happy to say that I passed my exam this afternoon. Next up (in a few years …) – my defense!