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Let me outline the story...

I graduated in December 08' with a combined mathematics and adolescence education degree to teach high school. After a bit of conversation with some of my math professors, I attended the MAA conferences in Washington in January to get a feel for what the mathematical community is all about. In any case, I presented a poster at the undergraduate poster session on research I conducted in my junior and senior year. To be honest, I wasn't entirely convinced that I should continue with my goal of one day becoming a college professor and mathematician because I felt that I wasn't gifted enough with the skills that I see many others possess in this field.

After attending a few different seminars for undergraduates regarding graduate school, I became convinced that I needed to go after it, and go after it with everything I have. After applying to five different schools, I'm headed next semester to the University at Buffalo straight from a B.A. to a Ph.D, or so I think...

From your experiences (those of you who are graduate students and/or professors), was this a wise decision to jump straight into a Ph.D program with no Masters degree?

I was also provided a teaching assistantship worth 16,500 with a full out of state tuition scholarship (although I live in the state), and I'm wondering if I made the decision to take a Masters then jump into the Doctoral once that is complete, would my assistantship and scholarship vanish? I'm asking if anyone knows, because I'd rather ask here than walk into the graduate director's office after he's practically bent over backwards for me with doubts of his judgments.

Lastly... Qualifying Exams are in August, and I've just begun studying for them. The topics are Analysis and Algebra, and I'm wondering if anyone has any tips for studying for these dreaded exams? Remember, I've been out of a mathematics oriented class for about a year now, so what suggestions do you have regarding this upcoming exam...