You have three lists: one for theory, one for genre, and one for period. (Some substitutions are allowed.) Each should contain thirty works. None ever does. At your list-meeting, the members of your committee decide what belongs on each list. They never reach a decision. They "compromise" by including every work any of them mentioned. You now have nine months to read three lists. Each consists of sixty works. Let me do the math for you:
270 / 180 = FUCKED
Because you are. You cannot read a book every 1.5 days and have anything intelligent to say about it. But you must read a book every 1.5 days and have something intelligent to say about it. You must also remember these intelligent things because one day soon the graduate coordinator will escort you into a room in which you will sit with all the books on your lists and write for six hours. On Tuesday you will write about your A List. On Thursday you will write about your B List. Only "write" is not an appropriate word for what you will do. You do not write:
You eject words.
Your committee wants words, damn it, and you will give them words. You will not give them punctuation because punctuation is for chumps and you will not give them grammar because they wants words not grammar and they cannot has big word because big word not available in time are been allotted and your word cannot do sense because you to be in rooms for six hour and is under pressure and if you does not performs good you and your asses are to be kicked from grad schools to curbs and then you died.
Fortunately, the qualifying exams have a purpose: namely, to have you do something you'll never again be asked to do in your professional career, so that you may better appreciate how well-suited you are for it and only it. Because no one does well on their exams. No one "passes" in the conventional sense. Your committee is always disappointed. Everyone on it thought you were going to be the first person in the history of academia to perform exceptionally under extreme duress and on a exam the likes of which you've never taken (nor will ever take again). This disappointment is reasonable. To be expected.
You will do equally poorly on your oral examination (covering your C List). Your committee members will lower their eyes and shake their heads. That is what they are there for. They want kabuki from a method actor. You are there to oblige. You dance inappropriately and they try not to laugh. You are tell them sentences with some word and they try not to laughs. Then they are pass you and you can have happy and alcohol.
Your life are now for good.
You is ABD.