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A few questions about GRE & PGRE (nothing score related)

  1. Jul 21, 2011 #1
    Hello PF, I have some questions regarding the PGRE in particular.

    1) I heard most of the questions on the PGRE can be answered with knowledge of the Introductory Physics Sequence (intro mechanics, e&m, thermal, quantum). At the most, you would need to take one intermediate course (intermediate mechanics) before taking the PGRE.
    Is this all true? Should I take it some time after i finish intro sequence? (which I already have finished)

    2) What sources would you suggest are best for studying for PGRE? i.e. Kaplan..PR:Cracking GRE...etc.? Links/titles would be appreciated. Also we didnt use textbooks for intro sequence, only notes the prof wrote up.

    3) As far as the GRE goes, I am guessing the math in there is mathematics we already know/should know. If not, what source is best for studying for that math? Doesn't have to be a specific title..

    4) If I want to begin enrolment in the Fall of the upcoming years..i.e. Fall 20xx, when is the optimal time to take it the PGRE/GRE beforehand?

    Thanks guys/gals ^^
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2011 #2
    Anybody..? D: I'm surprised nobody is replying since so many people here have taken this exam..
  4. Jul 26, 2011 #3


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    The thread probably just hit a lull and got missed by most people. I know I never noticed this one come up.

    Anyhow, no, you need more than the intro series to be honest. I think theoretically you could get a half decent score with just intro courses, but you would have to have a nearly perfect understanding of the material. This would also mean there were questions you would have to skip as they really are upper-division material.

    I'd suggest having your upper division mechanics, e/m, quantum, and high energy physics down along with all your calculus and linear algebra done. Of course, those should be at the upper-division and not graduate level. That's not to say the majority of stuff WILL be upper division, but there will definitely be a lot of questions that you probably won't see until then.
  5. Jul 27, 2011 #4
    Thanks for the reply :)

    That is what I figured at first, but I will not have my advanced Quantum class until the Fall semester of my senior year. Which means I can't take the exam until that Winter/Spring. Most schools stop accepting applications around that winter. Is this a problem? Or is this pretty common having to take a year off between undergrad/Grad school?
  6. Jul 27, 2011 #5


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    No it's not common. It's also not un common to take more than 4 years to graduate. The obvious solution for your problem is to simply study it beforehand. You don't have to wait until you take a class to start studying. And again, you CAN do without the course. The thing with the GRE is that you are not expected to answer every question right, let alone every question period!

    The first time I took the PGRE, I answered 65 questions and got 49 right giving me a raw score of 45 and was in the 50th percentile. Personally, I don't know if this is a new approach they've been taking, but all the practice tests that are online are way different (they're 10-20 years old). The score breakdowns back in the day had a raw score of like 30 being 50th percentile. Back in the day it seemed almost impossible to answer 3/4 of the questions correctly. Now I don't know, I think they're making problems a lot easier so it may benefit those who haven't taken advanced courses yet.
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