The students are expected to satisfy the following criteria. If they fail to do so, they may be re-tested after further preparation.
In their response to the literature questions on the written Comprehensive Examination, to any oral follow-up questions, and in the 10-page paper that they offer as a sample of their research abilities, the students must demonstrate an accurate understanding of the literary work, author, theme, genre, national literature or period being examined. They must also present their ideas in a well-organized and unified essay, which normally has a thesis that is supported by means of clear logic and through examples. In addition to the high level of writing proficiency that is expected here (and is assessed through the Writing Proficiency Rubric), the student should also demonstrate some sensitivity to such matters as appropriate word choice and tone. Also the assessors will take into consideration the originality of the student's thought.