How many hours to study for quals?

  • #26
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Sorry, but this is fantasy. Indulging this is not going to get you where you want to go.

You are way, way more than 500 hours away from passing the qual at a reputable school.
You can't gain admission to a graduate school by walking in and acing the qual.

If you are serious, you need to stop focusing on the qual and start focusing on the GRE. This isn't the first time you have heard this.

Seems there is more to this story than we know from this thread alone.

The OP is not in graduate school?

Edit: Ok, just read the above post which hadn't shown up for me somehow when I posted.

Yeah, sounds like one of those fantasy/jumping the gun indulgences.
 
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  • #27
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That being understood, the best way to "prepare for the qual" this far in advance is to excel at all the prerequisite work.

The ideal would be:

You study for the qual specifically because you have already worked very hard in the class/classes the qual is testing you on
You were able to do well on those classes because you put in lots of time for the class itself, were engaged, did lots of problems etc.
You were able to do that because you worked hard at mastering the prerequisite material.

In that case studying the qual would mean deepening your understanding of already-learned material. This involves studying in a very non-linear way. I.e. you already read the book from A-Z. Now you study parts E R Q S for a bit because those are your weak areas. Then you realize they are weak because you missed something in D Q P and R and maybe a bit from some other graduate or undergraduate class you have to review.

This is not a good way to learn a subject the first time!

-Dave K
 
  • #28
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Sorry, but this is fantasy. Indulging this is not going to get you where you want to go.

You are way, way more than 500 hours away from passing the qual at a reputable school.
You can't gain admission to a graduate school by walking in and acing the qual.

If you are serious, you need to stop focusing on the qual and start focusing on the GRE. This isn't the first time you have heard this.
The GRE is not that difficult though. If I know the qual, I know the GRE. It's a subset but with easier questions. Worse case, from studying the quals, I just end up learning a bunch of physics.
 
  • #29
Dr Transport
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The GRE is not that difficult though. If I know the qual, I know the GRE. It's a subset but with easier questions. Worse case, from studying the quals, I just end up learning a bunch of physics.

Regardless, without a degree and a good GRE score, you're not getting into a graduate program.
 
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  • #30
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The GRE is not that difficult though. If I know the qual, I know the GRE. It's a subset but with easier questions. Worse case, from studying the quals, I just end up learning a bunch of physics.

Are you sure about that? A grad qualifier may consist of four questions on a single topic with a three hour limit. The GRE is one-hundred multiple choice questions over a broad range of topics with a three hour limit. You will need quite a bit of intuition and be able to recognize wrong answers (and a tiny bit of random trivia-type knowledge) to do really well on the GRE. You won't do too much in terms of math-type problem solving since you run the risk of wasting too much time.

The questions asked on a grad qualifier will be much different than those asked on the GRE. When I took my statistical mechanics exam we had no questions on thermodynamics; we had to find the pressure of a Bose-Einstein gas at low temperature, derive Fermi and Bose-Einstein distributions, and some other statistical questions, but nothing on thermodynamics, but I'm sure you'll want to study thermodynamics for the GRE since I'm sure you wont be asked any questions about quantum gasses.

You could be adept at solving the problems I've mentioned, but it won't guarantee success on the GRE since they don't come up on the GRE. Studying for a grad qualifier can come later when you have studied for the GRE and can solve problems that you see on the GRE. So saying that the GRE is a subset of grad qualifier questions is wrong since the two are very different. You will be asked about circuits, thermodynamics, force diagrams, F = ma, and other material that you won't see on a grad qualifier.
 
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