I thought that the prelim exam deserved its own post. In my program, the prelim exam consists of three separate exams, as well as a concept paper defense. Last week, I sat in a computer lab for 3 days (four hours each for days 1 and 2 and two hours for day 3) without notes or Internet access. The first day was an article critique, the second day was the core question related to the Instructional Systems field, and the third day was the minor question. My minor is human-computer interaction and usability. I was able to transfer in 3 of my classes from when I was in engineering at Virginia Tech (feels like a lifetime ago now).
Next week is my concept paper defense. The concept paper is an 8-page synopsis of your dissertation research. The defense is basically the checkpoint in which your four committee members give you the green light to go ahead with your study. If they find issues with it, you may have to start from scratch.
Fingers are crossed that I passed the exam portion and that my committee thinks my research topic and design are feasible!!