scifiguy wrote:^^^I'm not going to speak too much more on this, b/c I don't know too much about the bar.
I'm going to speculatively disagree that you can learn everything you need to know from scratch to pass a PhD candidacy exam in 60 days. But that's a "weak" disagree, b/c I ultimately don't know.
I do have several friends and relatives who have either done a PhD or are donig their's right now, so I could ask them for further info. My history PhD friend (UCLA grad program) told me that one of his professors told him the first semester of grad school that he should be averaging roughly a book a day (4-5 days a week) for the next two years straight to sufficiently be ready for his candidacy exams. The good thing is that many of the books they read in normal coursework would overlap with what they'd need to know. But there are a bunch that don't as well and they have to read them on their own. But the cumulative list of works they'll be tested on and need to do good research is massive .....I wouldn't think you could read all of that and process it with analysis in just 60 days. Reading is one thing (which I still don't think you could do), but you have to actually digest it and analyze it to be able to go beyond facts and discuss it intelligently as well.
I have another friend doing an electrical engineering PhD at Carnegie Mellon (top 5 engineering), who I can ask as well. I would speculate that you simply cannot learn everything you need to know for your candidacy exams in 60 days.
With the bar exam, from Frank Abagnale's story and Elie Mystal's article, it seems you can learn everything in six weeks to several months to pass it. But I don't know, becuase I haven't taken it. so I won't say more at this ponit.
A PhD is not one exam. I'm sure that for any one single exam a highly intelligent person could learn it all in two months.
Also keep in mind that a PhD often requires individual research and/or publication, which doesn't compare. Case in point, my brother has a PhD in something medical (he's a surgeon). To my knowledge, he only had one examination, and that was related to the research that he had done and the articles he had published. Even then, I believe that with his notes, studies and clinical trial results, with two months of full time prep I could have taken the exam.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to diminish his accomplishments, but the real work was in designing the studies, running the trials , analyzing the results, and publishing the articles. The exam was almost an afterthought.
Same can be said for my cousin's history PhD - his research, publications and lectures are what it was about.