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GRE - junior fall, spring or senior fall?

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  1. Mar 13, 2013 #1
    Just wondering when people would recommend to take the GRE. I'm pretty sure that I won't be applying for pure physics graduate programs (I'll probably do applied physics or a particular subset of physics), but I'll finish the coursework for the grad school track of my school's physics major in the first semester of my junior year, as well as extra electives and some grad classes in my area of specialty. I'd rather take the GRE earlier so that I can retake it (though it's expensive!!), but when do people usually take it, and how much preparation is recommended? I'm not sure how much time I'll have to study over winter break as it's the only time I'll go home that year...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2013 #2
    take it later

    This depends a lot on a variety of factors. I took it November of my senior year, but this would have been too late had I been applying to go to graduate school directly after undergrad, at least for some schools. I think the October test is in time. I studied for a couple weeks, this is an extremely useful site - http://grephysics.net/ans/ - it has all the released tests, plus a discussion of different ways to solve each problem. In pretty much every case, there are ways to find the answer even if you don't know the physics. I guess you probably know about this already.
    Anyway, I think Fall of senior year would be best, if you think you can spare the time from applying to graduate school to study for the test. My friend took it the spring before, and though we were pretty equal academically (if he wasn't a bit better) I scored 100 points higher. That might have been a fluke, though. But all the physics majors that took it in the fall seemed to score higher than those who took it in the spring.

    Either way, studying on that site is a lot more important than when you take it.
     
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