In Turkiye, postgraduate students are required to take the "Ph.D. proficiency exam" to pass the thesis stage and complete their education after completing their doctoral course period. The "proficiency process," which manifests itself as a long, difficult and stressful process, seems like a "steep mountain to cross" in the lives of doctoral students. This research examines the Ph.D. proficiency process from doctoral students' perspectives and determines the results. The interpretative phenomenological design, one of the qualitative research methods, was used; with the criterion sampling method, which is one of the purposive sampling methods, interviews were conducted with 9 participants and 55 pages of data were obtained, and the data were analyzed with thematic analysis. When the proficiency exam is evaluated as a whole, it has been determined that it has some positive and negative results. At the end of this whole process, the proficiency exam has gained meaning as a "compelling process," "learning and development process," "great exam," "understanding of inadequacy," and "an indescribable process." The information obtained from the research is a guide for students who will take the exam in the future. In addition, based on the research results, suggestions for students and suggestions for the exam are presented.