Sunday, November 06, 2005
Here are two links that will help you in your preparation and taking of the General Ordination Exams. If you are at Seabury, I will get these to you at our next prep session as well.
FR. WEJUS' LINKS OF INTEREST TO ANGLICAN STUDIES - this page is a compendium of mostly useful links to websites that will be of invaluable use to us. Neatly divided up by category.
VTS GOE PREP PAGE - The Virginia Theological Seminary Class of '06 has this highly informative and useful website set up for GOE takers. It's got some links, but most importantly has SAMPLE QUESTIONS and GENERALLY RECOMMENDED BOOKS.
GOE ADVICE - From the VTS page, but worthy of a separate link. Excellent advice for pre-GOE preparation and helpful tips for managing anxiety during the test.
Let me know if anyone finds anything else!
I assume you also know about the Seabury GOE page? There's tons of stuff on there, too, that Lane Hensley set up.
From someone who did very well on GOE's, I find the GOE Advice link to be right on target. If I may add a couple of things...
You can overprepare, which causes more stress. I found the study groups to be very counter productive. Hearing how everyone else would answer a question did not help ME figure out how to answer it, it just made me think I was underprepared and needed MORE BOOKS!
You ARE ready. Seabury does a very good job preparing you for GOEs.
ORGANIZE your library and class notes by topic - this is the best use of your time.
Time management is VERY important. To that end, you SHOULD practice answering one half day question and one full day question. Then you have a good idea on how to balance your time - how much in research, how much in outlining and brain storming (with yourself) and how much in actual writing. Then make sure you pace yourself accordingly when the sets come. Know how much time for each purpose and stick to it. Many of my classmates made the mistake of spending way too much time on research, and ran out of time trying to write the response. For me, I spent 1/2 the alloted time preparing to write (making notes, outlines, etc. from sources and memory) and then 1/2 writing and editing. It worked well for me, but you may have a different balance.
I sent my kids and wife away for GOEs, and it was the smartest thing I could have done. They stayed in a motel in Skokie the last two days (the one with the indoor pool) and had a blast.
And don't forget - you are ready.
No I did not know about Fr. Hensley's page. Can you point me to it so I can add it here?
Thanks for your words of encouragment and advice. As always, they are welcome, wise, and much needed. Hope all is slowly getting back to normal with you. Y'all are constantly in my prayers.
The sites you have here are good ones, Ryan-- as is the advice that David offers.
I would add one more bit, and that has to do with the value of outlining. The questions themselves are very lengthy, which is helpful-- they really do lend themselves to this. I underlined the points each question hit, and then made an outline of what I needed to include, based on all the details. Then I spent my writing time fleshing out that outline. This served two purposes: it helped me focus, and write without wasting time; and it made very sure that I answered everything they were asking, and nothing they weren't.
Glad I ran across your blog and these GOE links. A couple things I've run across:
A list of what they expect you to know in the 7 canonical areas
This page has links to past questions 1996-2005.
Was told to get an idea of how our questions will be written, look only at the last 2 years because they have changed the way questions are written (i.e. they used to combine subjects on occasion but now try to keep them more separate).
Ethics prof used to help write questions says that they have a policy of not asking something that's still a "hot topic", so doubts that sexuality will be asked, but perhaps issue of "authority" in connection to Windsor report could be fair game. Something like Teri Schiavo case might also still be too recent. Has no idea what they might possibly ask us about.
A priest from my dioces who's a reader said, "you're aiming for the 3, if you can do more great, but aim for the 3." He also suggested having an outline typed into the paper so even if you run out of time to flesh it out, the readers and your diocese will know where you planned to go with it, and that may help.
Someone suggested to me that since we will know what resources we can use for each set ahead of time, type references of sources you think you might use now. During the exam just copy and paste, saving a little time.
A librarian is a reader. She says, if you haven't used a complicated resource (i.e. something online, or BibleWorks) stay away from it. If you think you might use it, become familiar with it beforehand.
She said in a closed book, don't quote page numbers or Chapter and verse, even if you know that Baptism is on page 301, because it will confuse readers and they'll wonder if you looked it up. You can quote generally from BCP or scripture, but try to make it clear that you're doing it from memory.
If the set is "liturgy and music" even if question doesn't directly reference it, you probably want to mention music.
Since I tend to get sucked into research (isn't this interesting, look at all these resources...), something she said was helpful to me. She said, "this is not a research paper." Oh! I'm thinking about typing that out and taping above my monitor. Makes me think of it differently.
For people who get sucked into research she recommends outline and answer as much as you can first and then go do a little research to flesh it out, find your theologian they want you to quote, so you can plug that in, etc.
Said on a half-day question probably don't have time to do much more than about 30 minutes of research, but it depends on how quickly you can organize and write.
Generally, if you have a question with parts A & B, or A, B, & C you should devote about equal space to each.
A lot of info/clues are in the question. If it references a rite (i.e. reconciliation), or provides some background info, use the things referenced.
Would help to know a couple theologians in different time periods. If not restricted by time period, Augustine and Luther talked about many things, might be good stand-bys to go to quickly.
Make sure you follow the format they ask for, if it says to write a "newsletter article", make sure you write it that way.
In case a question requires you to have a congregation, you might want to think about your hypothetical parish ahead of time. Easiest is probably a small urban fairly generic parish. Be careful, if you identify special populations (age groups, ethnicity/race, etc.) you probably should address relevant issues in your answer.
Other suggestions I've heard:
You're probably better off reviewing notes from classes (reminding self of things already learned) than spending the couple weeks before "cramming" trying to learn new things. I think this falls into the stress of "overpreparing" category someone else was talking about.
In organizing books, look over tables of contents, so you are familiar with what's covered.
Sorry this is long, much you may already know. Hope it's helpful.
Peace & God Bless,
From another Senior seminarian heading for GOEs, who's trying not to be too anxious ;)
By 5:50 PM, at
p.s. one more:
A list of basic resources in the 7 canonical areas.
By 7:19 PM, at