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Difficulty of question asked in PGRE exam

  1. Oct 21, 2015 #1
    Hi friends ,
    I am an electrical engineering student , interested in applying M.S in physics program in Europe . So i have started preparing for this , when i searched the web how to study for PGRE , most effective and common suggestion is go through the recommended books for each subject and solve the problems in it . When i did for classical dynamics of systems and particles by marion for the second chapter , the problems are conceptually easy but mathematically rigorous which means it take 10-15 steps to get to the answer , whether this kind of problems will appear in the PGRE exam or not ? and whether i have to read all chapters in these books.
    and how much mathematical knowledge should i need for solving PGRE problems
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2015 #2
    I am a physics major (in the US) and I have been preparing to take the PGRE soon as well. To answer your questions, my advice to you is to take the practice tests. This will show you what the PGRE questions are like, and will also show you what you need to study to improve your score. There are about 4 available online for free, just search "Physics GRE Practice" or something similar. There is also a site grephysics.net that has the answers to each test as well as worked out solutions. The rule of thumb I have heard is that most questions are answerable if you have a very good grasp on the freshman calculus-based physics series. I don't fully agree with that, as there are quite a few atomic and modern physics, as well as thermodynamics questions in there. I have taken 3 practices tests so far and I would venture to say the math is not difficult. There are a few linear algebra questions related to quantum mechanics thrown in there, but other than that nothing more complicated than calculus. That being said, knowing relationships (whether memorized equations or being able to derive them) is very important.
     
  4. Oct 21, 2015 #3
    Thanks for replying , but the problem i have just started studying physics , i know only basic classical mechanics and Electromagnetic theory. so taking the practice test won't be a much help for me.
    Instead can i do like this , take one subject for example classical mechanics read all its concepts and after understanding it i will take the problems related to classical mechanics in the practice test . Is this enough?
     
  5. Oct 21, 2015 #4
    In response to your question, I think it depends. How long do you have before you plan on taking the PGRE? A good resource may be the book "Conquering the Physics GRE". It looks specifically at content that will be on the PGRE and is very well written.
     
  6. Oct 21, 2015 #5
    Next April and september.
     
  7. Oct 21, 2015 #6
    WIll my idea work out now ? if i have this much time , i prefer studying from recommended books
     
  8. Oct 21, 2015 #7
    It's good you have time to prepare! Then your strategy can work. I would still recommend looking at a practice test as soon as you can to see the difficulty of the problems, because some are intentionally tricky and many are quite different than what a standard textbook on the subject would ask. Furthermore, if you haven't seen it already, on the ETS GRE site, under the Physics subject test, they list the approximate breakdown of what subjects will be on the test (5% quantum mechanics, 7% atomic physics, etc) so that can help you budget your time accordingly. Best of luck!
     
  9. Oct 21, 2015 #8
    Yes i know that , so can i avoid all the problems in the standard text books , and rely only on the practice test and what more sources can i use for solving PGRE level problems , Conquering phyiscs GRE and schaums 3000 solved problems in physics will this be helpful ?
     
  10. Oct 21, 2015 #9
    Everyone has different learning styles, strengths and weaknesses so it is difficult to say what is right for you. I think that, whatever you do, make sure you understand the material you are learning, don't just memorize it. Personally I understand material by doing problems; whenever I start learning a new subject I solve textbook questions in order to learn and understand that subject.

    The "Conquering the Physics GRE" has some good problems in there to make sure you do understand the material; if you don't really understand something, this book will make it clear that you need to further study that topic.
     
  11. Oct 22, 2015 #10
    I agree with you totally but whether solving the time consuming textbook problems is worth for the PGRE exam ?
     
  12. Oct 22, 2015 #11

    Vanadium 50

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    Almost certainly not. You are not prepared for graduate-level study in physics. Any test you take will show that. The tests are set up for someone who has studied 2000 or 3000 more hours than you, and you can't make up this gap by working a few problems in a study guide,
     
  13. Oct 22, 2015 #12
    Yes i agree with you , but it is difficult for me to solve all the textbook back problems , can i skip some chapters in the textbook .will that work for PGRE test ? after the test i will have one more year to enter my graduate school , so i can use that time for solving the remaining problems. For now i want to effectively prepare for the PGRE test. So please tell your idea .
     
  14. Oct 22, 2015 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    I'm telling you that an introductory sequence does not prepare you for grad school. The fact the you are unable to solve textbook problems is evidence of this. You cannot make this up by working a few problems in a study guide.
     
  15. Oct 22, 2015 #14
    i can able to solve the text book problems , but whether it a worth to solve this time consuming problems for the PGRE exams , that is my doubt ? what kind of problems should i solve for PGRE problems .
    After the PGRE test , i will have one more year, in that time i can prepare for the graduate level by solving the problems in the back of the text books.
     
  16. Oct 22, 2015 #15

    micromass

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    Since when do MS physics programs in Europe care about the GRE?
     
  17. Oct 23, 2015 #16

    Vanadium 50

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    You keep asking that, and the answer is still "no". Is your plan to keep asking it until someone tells you it is "yes"?
     
  18. Oct 23, 2015 #17
    Erasmus mundus program in Nuclear fusion and engineering physics recommends applicants to have a GRE physics score.
     
  19. Oct 23, 2015 #18
    Sorry i didn't understand your reply properly , what you are saying is to get good score in PGRE is to work through all the problems in the textbooks and solving problems from the study guide won't help . Have i got the point what you said ?
     
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