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GRE, P-GRE Study Guides

  1. Apr 21, 2009 #1
    So i will tell you were i am coming from. I am a Electrical Engineer at OU and the idea has wondered into my mind about going into physics. The thing is i am week in classical mechanics and have no Quantum mechanics(Though i hope to take it next year). What would be some really good books that i could use to teach myself this, I need lots of examples or the solutions to the problems something like that.

    The other thing is can anyone recommend a really good book to start studying for the GRE and the Physics GRE?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2009 #2
    I'm not so sure about GRE prep books... but I do know the typical undergraduate preparation suggested for graduate studies is (in semesters):

    1 term of thermodynamics (I've most recently seen Schroeder, An Introduction to Thermal Physics used)
    1-2 terms of advanced classical mechanics (a book like Marion/Thornton is often used, although it's probably not the best)
    1-2 terms of quantum mechanics (Griffiths is fairly common, but again prehaps not the best)
    2 terms of advanced electrodynamics emphasizing FIELD THEORY (again Griffith's text is pretty common, and quite decent for the purpose).
    2 terms advanced lab in physics (usually with modern physics, circuits, etc.)

    Perhaps others can make other text recommendations or suggest good study materials.
  4. Apr 22, 2009 #3
    Goldstein is another "standard" text for classical mechanics. Alternatively, consider the new book by David Morin. It's more introductory than Goldstein, but it's excellent for self study.

    Having said that, don't skip any courses because of the desire to catch up or finish in a compressed schedule.
  5. Apr 23, 2009 #4
    The P-GRE is not about having real knowledge. It's about having a lot of formulas memorized and ready to use on command, having practiced on multiple older P-GRE's, and being a good multiple-choice-test-taker.

    Really, its a dumb dumb test, and the reason its hard is the time constraints. The type of studying to do well on the PGRE is mostly orthogonal to the type of studying to become a better physicist.
  6. Apr 23, 2009 #5


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    Reading those would be a complete waste of time for the PGRE. There are 1-2 advanced mechanics problems on it out of 100 problems.
  7. Apr 23, 2009 #6
    I'm with maze here... it's an artificially difficult test because of the time constraints. You have to go through it as quickly as possible... dismiss questions that you aren't sure you can answer, and *never* waste time looking for an error in your calculations!

    Look at the released tests, and try to do them under timed conditions. After you have tried them, go back and figure out what you did right and what you did wrong... is there some area you made a lot of mistakes / omitted a lot of questions?
  8. Dec 29, 2009 #7

    Worked for me, so it might work for you...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330390629592&ssPageName=ADME:L:LCA:US:1123 [Broken]

    (for details follow the link)

    Not only stuff for the PGRE (e.g. purple book), lots of books on the GRE CAT and graduate admissions.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Dec 29, 2009 #8
    Any intro physics textbook is your best bet for studying for the GRE (one of the PGRE committee members suggests this). Also, try Schaum's 3000 solved problems in physics.

    Learn to do arithmetic in your head and round everything to one significant figure, look for asymptotic behaviors, and get good at dimensional analysis.
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