I had to decide today (well, actually yesterday, but I forgot) when my next candidacy exam would be and whether I'd do the take-home (again) or the on-campus. I chose the on-campus. Why would I do that, when the only experience I have is with the take-home exam? I have a few good reasons: A)I am more comfortable writing about Victorian literature as it's home turf; B)3 hours of hell is less ulcer-inducing than 3 days of hell; C)I thought my last exam went really well, but my examiners did not. And I'm afraid the same thing will happen if I do the take-home for my major field exam.
Yes, C is the major reason, but what would you do? I was pretty pissed off after the last exam, but maybe with different expectations I will perform better -- fuck that, I will be graded better if I do the on-campus exam. The major downside is that the exam will be a whole new kind of hell, one I've never fully experienced before. One that will involve much less anxiety during the actual writing (I won't have time to be anxious in a measly four-hour time slot) but perhaps much more afterwards, when the markers may decide that I didn't write off the top of my head but more out of the ass region. Good news is I get to use the department's Apple Powerbook to write, so I will be able to email myself a copy of my answers and reread them obsessively while I wait for my mark. If one considers that a good thing, of course.
doctor T 9:49 a.m.
Oh lordy. Good luck---I think you've got the better option. I had something similar a little while ago (pre-oral exams, which, for no apparent reason, are generally written rather than oral in form). My flatmate had hers this spring and got a weekend to fret over her answers. I had five hours in which I churned out twenty pages of pure. . . . ahem. But it was better for my mental state, and I actually found myself thinking on my feet (remarkably whilst sitting on my ass) and forming connections I hadn't before. You will, too! And be superb! But if B.C.'s educational system is anything like Merrie Olde England's, I FEEL YOUR PAIN. Knock 'em dead.