The oral qualifier is the first step toward completing a thesis. It includes a forty page proposal summarizing the idea for the thesis and a presentation before a small panel. Compared to the thesis and defense, the oral qualifier is shorter and the questioning is easier.
As with any presentation, I had to memorize all the content because I cannot use notes. I also memorized the dates, authors, titles, and a general summary for all my references so that I could use that information as needed to answer questions.