My colleague likes to say that the MA exam is nobody's genre. In other words, the exam is a hurdle to be overcome. Studying for the examination is useful, because one has to read the works on the list and organize one's knowledge, but performance on the exam means very little. Very few people excel, beyond showing that they have read the list, and many students underperform. If the exam was one's best genre, that would be very sad, in a way, because nobody reads the exam except to see whether someone passes or fails.
Even the PhD exam is almost nobody's genre.
The dissertation, though, should be everyone's genre. This is a time to progress, not regress. At this point, the student has been trained to do nothing else except for writing a dissertation.