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GRE preparation

  1. Apr 29, 2013 #1
    Dear folks,
    I decided to prepare myself for taking the GRE on mathematics and physics next year, and coming from a non-traditional path (undergrad in music, basically self-taught in scientific matters), I'd like to ask you about some reference books and, thus, about the actual level of each subject on the exams.

    For instance, for electromagnetics am I safe with my Purcell's E&M or may I read something like Jackson's book? Another example is real analysis (since the syllabus given by the site is not that clear): Rudin's Principles is OK or may I complement it with something else?

    Any comments and thoughts are highly welcome! Thanks in advance, best regards,
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2013 #2
    Rudin is too heavy for the math GRE. As per my preparation, even a simple book like Ross will suffice as long as you have a solid grasp. I would invest in a Princeton Review book for the test. I did, and although I can't really infer how much of my score to attribute to it, it does cover the range of topics well.
  4. Apr 29, 2013 #3
    Head over to physicsgre.com and mathematicsgre.com for study tips and references.

    I will tell you right away that Jackson's text on Electrodynamics is unnecessary. That is a graduate-level text, so Purcell will do just fine as well as any freshman level text on the subject. If at all possible, try to take some physics classes at the undergraduate level.
  5. Apr 30, 2013 #4
    For physics GRE all you need is one of those big introductory physics books like for example this.

    It might sound surprising, but it is really true. When I was preparing for the physics GRE, I remember reading a blog by one of the people who make the test, saying the number one mistake people making when preparing is that they spend their time on texts which are too advanced, and that all you need is to go through one of those big introductory physics books (and of course make a few test exams, like you can find on physicsgre.com). This is the approach I tried and it worked quite well (980/990, not using anything outside of what you can find in such a book).
  6. Apr 30, 2013 #5


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    Would recommend getting the review book Conquering the Physics GRE. So far I have found the sample tests in the book are harder than the released exams (there are five dating from 1885-2008) but I think the book offers great advice on how to review for the exam as well as good test taking strategies.
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