1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Testing General/Physics GRE Prep

  1. May 20, 2012 #1
    The first thing I want to ask for is some recommended GRE prep books. It would help if you'd recommend books that don't try to push a gimmick way of taking the test. I notice Kaplan and Princeton Review like to do this. "Oh the test is designed to make you fail and using our method you can beat the tricks of the evil ETS!" Yeah, that's what they said when I took the ACT. I tried it their way with all the gimmicks and such - got a 26 then 27. Tried it my way of just working though the test the obvious way - got a 33.

    Also, what is a good way to prepare for the physics GRE? There is just so much material on it. I took all the classes, but I don't know where to start.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Regardless of what those prep books say about tricks and such, just having a decent set of practice tests to work through can be a big help. That's what helped me on the physics GRE, it allowed me to see which areas I was weak in and brush up on those.

    Have you looked at the ETS website for GRE study materials:


    They also have a 100-question practice test for physics:

  4. May 24, 2012 #3
    I would recommend buying an old copy (something around $5 on half/amazon) of university physics by young and freedman and work through the problems in all sections.

    I would do the same with an old copy of modern physics by serway, moses, and moyer.

    Just do problems out of the books randomly so you get a constant variety of topics. Maybe you could program something simple (in whatever language you can code) that selects random problems for you so you get a very good random jumble like you'll see on the exam ... it should take about 30 min max to write since you'll have to program in the chapter #s and how many problems in each section/whatever. You could even cross them off in the book (why not, the books were super cheap) after you finish them.

    These two texts combined together will cover like 95% of what is on the Physics GRE. The content of the books isn't too difficult, and most of the problems are able to be solved in a few minutes, which is the same difficulty level and pace you'll have to keep up during the exam ... but with multiple choice.

    as for the normal GRE, umm you really shouldn't have to prep for the quantitative section. i really doubt any hard science major is going to get anything less than the top 10% of test takers. I doubt any program will really care how you did on the verbal and writing, so studying for that stuff might be a waste of your time, that's my opinion at least. Maybe buy a cheap ($10-15) book that has a few practice tests if you REALLY want, just so you're not surprised by the layout and whatever.

    The revised verbal section isn't easy to quickly increase your score like it used to be. before the change, you could memorize a list of 250 GRE words and increase your score by 100 points (out of a 600 range), but now memorizing those same words might get you a 2 point increase (out of a range of 70 now i think). Anyway, I wouldn't bother studying for the general GRE unless English isn't your primary language.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook