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GRE Physics - These materials enough?

  1. Nov 16, 2007 #1
    GRE Physics -- These materials enough?

    Hi friends, I need your input regarding what else needs to score good in GRE Physics.

    Documents and Ebooks I have for GRE Physics Preparation :
    Synopsis on Electricity and Electronics
    Synopsis on HEAT
    Mcqon electricity and electronics
    Mcqon electricity and electronics final
    Physics heat
    Synopsis electronics
    Synopsis on Electricity and Electronic new
    Ch 8 for sms
    Classical Electrodynamics for undergraduates
    Classical Mechanics
    Quantum Mechanics - Concepts and Applications
    Essential Physics
    A Course in Fluid Mechanics with Vector Field Theory
    The Feynman Lectures on Physics Volume 1--513 Pages
    Feynman Complete Lectures on Physics Vol 2--536 Pages
    Preparation Guide for GRE Physics
    Physics For Scientists And Engineers
    Ancient and Modern Physics
    Quantum dots
    Synopsis ahmer on fractals
    SYNOPSIS AHMER on quantum hall effect
    Thesis on quantum hall effect ahmer
    Tunneling effect
    UET WOrkshop on nano tech
    Condensed matter physics1
    Just Physics
    MCQ on basic physics
    Perturbation theory
    Physics confuses me
    All about quantum hall effect
    Condensed matter physics
    Quantum halleffect
    Quantum halleffect in two phase system
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2007 #2
    I read that 6 things are tested on the physics subject. Mechanics, EM, Waves and Optics, Thermo, Modern physics, and Quantum Mechanics.
  4. Nov 16, 2007 #3
    My advice, is know all the previous problems in depth. Don't read text book in old fashion way. Do read the sections which will help you solve the previous problems. By previous problems I mean the problems that appeared before on past GRE Physics tests.
  5. Nov 16, 2007 #4
    It's absolutely necessary to get a copy of the previously released GRE Tests: GRE8677, GRE9277, GRE9677, and GRE 0177. You can find these on the web, I just got them a few days ago. You can find the complete solutions to these tests here.

    You should probably also get a GRE book. I'm using The Best Test Prep for the GRE. The great thing about this book is that is has another 4 sample tests, complete with detailed solutions, and a summary of stuff you should know in the front. The downside is that the problems aren't very representative of the difficulty of problems that you'll find on the actual GRE: the ones in the book are way harder.

    I agree with HungryChemist. Textbook studying is for your regular classes. For the GRE my personal strategy is to study all the previous tests and sample tests I can. If I can ace all those (a total of about 800 questions in my collection so far) I should blow the doors off of the test when I take it.

    How does that sound to the older/wiser folks that have already taken it?
  6. Nov 16, 2007 #5
    I would certainly agree with the importance of going over and over the released tests. I have to disagree about "The Best Test Prep" though... it's a notorious stinker of a book. The review at the beginning is not well-written, and I'm told that the sample tests really don't line up well with the actual tests either. (I gave up on the book after starting through the review... my knowledge of the sample tests is second hand.)

    The important thing to remember is that all of these problems are designed to be done in a minute or two, tops. The more advanced topics are covered only superficially. There *might* be *one* question on the Hall effect... it certainly doesn't warrant reading half a dozen books on the subject! And I can sum up all the perturbation theory you will need on the GRE right now: the first order perturbation of the energy is <phi*|deltaH|phi>. As for solid state physics, a little knowledge of Bravais lattices is more than enough.

    What you really need is:
    1. To know your basic mechanics forward and backward.
    2. Ditto your basic E&M.
    3. Know the atomic electron energy level formula and how it leads to Balmer, etc. series.
    4. Know your basic special relativity.
    5. Remember what a positronium atom is. For some totally unknown reason, the GRE folks *love* positronium. :smile:
  7. Nov 16, 2007 #6
    Oh yes, I just wanted to add... keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to *solve* the problem, you just need to identify the solution out of five choices. While I understand that they have fewer problems now where the answer is just a question of unit analysis, they definitely still have questions where you can identify the answers quickly by simply considering limiting cases.
  8. Nov 16, 2007 #7
    I think ETS is getting wise to the "examine the limits" trick as well. I tried to use this trick many times on the October test and almost invariably at least TWO answers would limit to the correct values.
  9. Nov 16, 2007 #8
    A related question: I've heard that taking the GRE is like taking the SAT's in that grad schools will only look at your highest scores. Is this true? I'm planning on taking the GRE in April as a test run before taking it "for real" next October. Will this hurt me if I don't do well? Should I just study hard until October?
  10. Nov 16, 2007 #9
    One thing you could do is take the April test, and then when it's done cancel your score. Then take it for real in the fall. I wish I would have done this w/ the October and November tests, i.e. take October for practice, cancel, and then take it for real in November.
  11. Nov 17, 2007 #10

    Ben Niehoff

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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    This was my study strategy for the Physics GRE:

    1. Locate all 4 of the previous practice tests, download them, but don't look at them yet.

    2. Pull out my undergrad physics texts. No additional advanced texts.

    3. Flip through the physics texts, and look at the typical equations they give you; e.g., the intensity of light diffracted through a single slit.

    4. Close the book, and figure out how to derive all of the equations by hand, myself. Pretty much all the results in undergrad texts can be obtained through fairly simple calculus. I simply went through and derived E & B fields for all sorts of symmetric charge/current distributions, starting from Maxwell's equations. I derived the formulas for diffraction and interference through single- and double-slits, and combined. I derived the formulas for the moment of inertia of all sorts of mass distributions, and I proved the parallel axis theorem. I solved Schrodinger's equation for the infinite square well, and investigated some other simple potentials (like steps and ramps), to see how the math worked out. I also played around with some special relativity formulas. I also set up some mechanics problems and solved them. Basically, any result the books gave, I tried to re-derive myself, without help from the book.

    All this took several hours to do. What for? For me, it helped me remember the formulas. Since the Physics GRE doesn't provide an equation sheet, remembering the formulas is vital. You can use some other method if you like, like flash cards, but for me it's easier to remember something if I know how to derive the result in the first place. Plus it also gave me practice in manipulating the equations, and discovering time-saving shortcuts.

    5. After doing all that, I took the first practice test. I didn't time myself for the first time around.

    6. Check answers from first test, and calculate score. For every incorrect or blank answer, I wrote down what the question was about, and re-investigated that topic, until I knew what my mistake was, and had figured out how to get the correct answer. I used Wikipedia and other websites a lot for this, but I tried not to rely on solved answer keys unless I couldn't figure something out any other way.

    7. Repeat with remaining tests. I timed myself on the final two practice tests. Note the final scores on each test and see if they display any sort of trend or consistency.

    I don't have my score yet (I took the test Nov 3), but I'm fairly confident in it.

    Note: Besides positronium, three additional pointers:

    1. There will almost certainly be a question involving an inelastic collision. It helps to memorize the ratio of transfered momentum and energy as it relates to the ratio of the masses. This will save you some algebra.

    2. For many problems, it helps (me anyway) to make a quick sketch of what's happening; then a lot of formulas become obvious without needing to do algebra. For example, you will almost certainly see a problem where you have to relate E, mc^2, and pc...I simply drew a right triangle from which I could see the relation E^2 = (mc^2)^2 + (pc)^2.

    3. Memorize your relativistic formulas in terms of [itex]\beta = v/c[/itex] rather than in terms of v. Virtually all relativity problems give speeds as fractions of c, so this can save some time (and possibly prevent errors).
  12. Nov 29, 2007 #11
    Ohh Thank you very much guys... That was really helpful.

    One thing I got from different forums is that the questions of the same month in GRE repeats in that month. Also previous months questions gets repeated as GRE ppl is reusing the questions.

    Isn't it a good way to earn more scores if we can know the questions? I have heard that some websites sells it even with answers!

    Few sources : www.testmagic.com; gre-stuff.blogspot.com; gre-success.blogspot.com
  13. Aug 3, 2011 #12
    Re: GRE Physics -- These materials enough?

    Thank you for the valuable advice....I'm an IT engineer from India and I'm currently preparing for the pgre, could you please list out the undergrad physics texts you used....coz I'm searching for some pretty basic books nothing advanced that could help me through the exam
  14. Aug 3, 2011 #13
    Re: GRE Physics -- These materials enough?

    Wow, 4 year old thread revival. Though I'm sure all the information here is still relevant to current students pursuing the GRE
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