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Can I self-study quantum for pGRE?

  1. Sep 10, 2015 #1
    I am pushing myself through an accelerated course of undergraduate physics (a number of reasons) and, if all goes well, it looks like I can complete the degree in two years. I have a 4.0 in physics up to this point, so I've seen no indication of my lack of work ethic/aptitude. After that, I intend on pursuing a doctorate, for which I, obviously, will first have to pass the pGRE.

    With my plan intact, it looks like I will not have time to get through a full semester of Quantum I before taking the pGRE (Introduction to Relativity and Quantum notwithstanding.) How realistic is it for me to expect to cover the necessary material from quantum over the summer on my own and get a top score while performing research with my current PI or at an REU?

    Here are the courses that I will have completed come pGRE time:
    Introductory Mechanics
    Introductory E&M

    Honors Intro Waves, Optics, Thermodynamics
    Honors Intro Relativity and Quantum Physics
    Vector Calculus
    Independent study in cosmology
    Intro ordinary differential equations

    Methods in Experimental Physics I
    Classical Mechanics I
    Computational Physics
    Mathematical Techniques in Physics
    E&M I
    Directed research.

    Your honest feedback is appreciated. I am content with taking a year off to work if that will significantly increase my scores and chances of being admitted by a reputable institution. But I'd also like to avoid unnecessary stalling.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2015 #2
    If your work ethic is fine, then this is pretty realistic. Just be sure to get the right resources to study from.
  4. Sep 10, 2015 #3
    Thank you for the feedback. I wouldn't expect you to know this, but aside from Griffith's Introductory Quantum Mechanics, can you recommend right resources?
  5. Sep 10, 2015 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Have you seen, or better, taken a sample physics GRE exam? That should give you a good idea of the level of QM (and other subjects) required. A Google search for "physics gre sample test" turns up lots of links.
  6. Sep 10, 2015 #5
    You mentioned you'll be using Griffiths, I think this is sufficient most of the quantum. Also, if you are using the "Conquering the Physics GRE" book, that will also be useful. In addition to those two, you can easily learn about whatever topics you find on the practice exams that you don't yet know.
  7. Sep 10, 2015 #6
    Thank you all for contributing to my question. I am happy to hear a consensus that individual study of quantum physics can suffice for my purposes.

    As for practice tests, I intend on following the 16-week study plan maintained by Sarah Garner at UW after I'm done with my Spring semester + covering Griffiths's Quantum Mechanics.

    Obviously, I could take practice tests without going through quantum in detail, but I don't want to "waste" the precious official GRE exams (5 total have been released by ETS) for self-evaluation if I know that a big chunk of my knowledge is missing. Which is why I'm making arrangements for Griffiths! And which is why I'm also not going to be bored in the summer.

    P.S. Dishsoap is a fantastic name.
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