How to Be a "Highly-Recommended" Physicist? I'm doing work for a professor, and I want him to sing the praises of me when I inexorably ask him for a letter of recommendation. What are some do-s and don't-s for someone in my situation? I think I've found out a "don't" already: don't try and assume you know more than you actually do. I was assigned research in relativistic quantum mechanics, and all I knew was that moving clocks slowed down, lengths contracted, and also the moving clocks got heavier. I was afraid to be like "I don't know any of that stuff", because I didn't want to slow the research down with my ignorance. Needless to say, I erred on the side of "I know this stuff already", and may have inadvertently come across as arrogant and perhaps incorrigible, both of which "impressions" would warrant mention in a letter of recommendation I would have sent to PhD programs I will eventually apply to. I guess I have two questions: 1) Given that I'm a physics M.S. student (at an M.S.-only school) without a physics B.S./B.A. (admittedly, a very unique situation: your best advice is still welcome), how do I strike a balance between "admit what you don't know" and "use what you do know to not look like a screaming physics-dunce, and not hold up research"? 2) More generally, what are some good practices for me to engage in, such that my present adviser sings praises of me being a "good" and highly-recommended student?