I'm a doctoral candidate candidate and I've spent just about every free waking moment of the last month trying to the read minds of committee members I've never met who will decide my fate.
I've gone to the seminars about choosing a grad school, approaching a potential supervisor, applying for grants. I've written, rewritten and rewritten again every paragraph of my applications.
I've been warned that my project proposal should be compact, doable and specific from one group of people, and warned by another that's terrible advice and I should show broad interest in a range of ideas.
I'm a doctoral candidate candidate, and it's a lot of guess work.