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GRE Physics without Quantum Mechanics

  1. Jun 12, 2008 #1
    I'm going to be taking the GRE Physics not having taken any formal classes in Quantum Mechanics or Advanced Electromagnetism. Obviously, I have taken the basic Freshman/Sophmore year E&M but I haven't taken the advance level class yet. Also, I have taken an Intro to Modern Physics class which had some quantum mechanics (Bohr atom, Time-independant Schroedinger, Harmonic Oscillator and Infinite Well potentials. I have also taken a Nuclear Physics class and do some research in particle physics so I picked up some quantum from there.
    Can anybody recommend some "crash courses" (complete within 2 months with a couple of hours a day) in Quantum or, especially, in Griffith's level E&M?
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2008 #2
    Please note that this will be an independent venture with no assistance from experts (excluding my occasional ventures onto these forums). I don't think reading textbooks on the subjects without guidance is the best idea for me so a class website with lectures notes, homework and solutions, and (ideally) some video lectures from some university would probably be the best medium.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  4. Jun 12, 2008 #3
    It seems like you are maybe trying to take the physics GRE a year too early. It's true that the questions on it are not terribly high level but if you've not had any E&M at Griffiths' level or I assume mechanics at the level of Marion & Thornton or so, the GRE may give you trouble. For the quantum part, you might be able to get away with going through the first half of a quantum text (such as the one by Griffiths).
  5. Jun 13, 2008 #4
    I have gone through two of the practice GRE's with help from the wonderful resource GREPhysics.net and find that I can do a large portion of the Quantum problems. Where I struggle is in specific questions about rigorous mathematical concepts and formulations of the subject.

    As for Electromagnetism, most of the questions are on a more or less basic level but stumbling upon more advanced questions which I can't understand or solve is always unpleasant. For example, yesterday I stumbled upon a question concerning a special relativistic treatment of electric and magnetic waves: something of which I have no knowledge.
  6. Jun 13, 2008 #5
    As for the quantum mechanics, the rigorous stuff you can pretty much junk. you get 1.7 minutes per question, so your best bet is to memorize a few tricks about harmonic oscillators and Hermite polynomials; in the available practice tests and the one I took officially, there weren't any quantum problems that required you to muck about in derivations - in fact I'd say the quantum problems were the easiest ones! Griffiths might be a good book to look into, but you probably won't find anything that goes beyond the scope of a standard modern physics text.

    As for the E&M question, could you be more specific?
  7. Jun 16, 2008 #6
    I've decided that I'm going to try to learn as much as I can about the two subjects through some lecture notes which look good. This is quicker than learning from a book, which tend to give too many gory details which aren't all that necessary for me in my current endeavour. The series of notes I am using are:

    1. Electrodynamics Notes from lectures given at Cambridge by Dr. M.J. Perry
    These notes are pretty heavy on mathematics, but I was expecting that when dealing with this subject.​

    2. Quantum Mechanics Notes from lectures given by Dr. Vladan Vuletic at MIT
    I'm afraid that these notes might be too basic. What do you all think? Are these enough to tame the GRE?​

    I look forward to getting bailed out by this forum while I stumble through these notes.
  8. Jun 17, 2008 #7
    Honestly, you can ace the GRE with just Serways (Or Resnick's)
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