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GRE Physics without Quantum Mechanics

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

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?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #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.
 
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  • #3
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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).
 
  • #4
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).
I have gone through two of the practice GRE's with help from the wonderful resource http://www.grephysics.net" [Broken] 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.
 
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  • #5
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I have gone through two of the practice GRE's with help from the wonderful resource http://www.grephysics.net" [Broken] 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.
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?
 
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  • #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. http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/examples/B17L.pdf" [Broken]
These notes are pretty heavy on mathematics, but I was expecting that when dealing with this subject.​

2. http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Physics/8-04Spring-2006/LectureNotes/index.htm"
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.
 
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  • #7
Honestly, you can ace the GRE with just Serways (Or Resnick's)
 

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