The qualifying or `C' exams are oral exams taken by appointment. The purpose of this exam is to test the student's depth of knowledge in the area where they will do their thesis research. They require several months of independent reading, usually with a study group. Each research area provides a syllabus consisting mostly of research papers in the area, and each research group has a committee of faculty members that administer the exam. This exam must be taken within seven semesters of starting the PhD program. Most pass on their first try. Multiple attempts are allowed, depending on the committee.