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How was the GRE subject test?

  1. Aug 5, 2013 #1
    just wondering how people did and what you did to study and prepare.
    I plan on taking the physics GRE this september, however i haven't taken any quantum or classical (analytical) mechanics yet. Unfortunately, both sequences start this September also :(
    But i don't want to wait till next year because I want to apply to gradschool this fall.
    Anyways...
    So I've been reading the Khan GRE prep manual, watching some Susskind lectures on quantum and classical mechanics. I also started reading Classical Mechanics by Taylor and as soon as i get home (interning right now) I'll also be able to read the textbook for the quantum class.
    Of course I don't know how much I can learn in the next month and how much of it will stick :(
    I took the first of three sample tests in the book and got a 23 :( 33 right, 40 wrong, 27 didn't even bother with.
    Is that completely horrible? Or is that something that should be expected?
    If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions to ease my suffering they would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I've been burnt out for the last month power studying all this crazy new material (I'm also horrible at time management :( I could sit down at 10 am and start reading and before I know it it's 9pm and i only got through like 40 pages... it's insane), but I don't know what else to do, I'm kinda freaking out a lil bit...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2013 #2

    WannabeNewton

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    Woah, you're going to really burn out if you try to cram in QM and CM all in one month. I don't think that's going to be good for you in the long run nor short run. Do you already have EM and thermo/stat mech covered? Are you scheduled to graduate early or something, since you haven't taken QM or CM yet but are planning to apply to grad school the coming sem? I don't think cramming in all that material in such a short time frame, without ever having encountered it formally before, is going to help you on the PGRE.
     
  4. Aug 5, 2013 #3
    I'm graduating on time. It's just that the physics classes in our school are offered every two years, so it so happens that quantum and classical both fell onto my last year here. If I knew I was going to do physics ahead of time (I started out as math major, now double majoring) I wouldn't taken all the core classes first and then left my last year for GE classes. But it's too late now :(
    I did have EM, Thermal, Modern (Relativity stuff), Electronics, and Optics tho...
    I just really don't want to wait another year before i can apply for grad school, I want to graduate and keep on going. Which means I have to apply a year in advance and submit my GRE scores before I even get to take the classes >.<
     
  5. Aug 5, 2013 #4
    Oh, sorry for posting it in the wrong section >.<
     
  6. Aug 5, 2013 #5

    vela

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    That doesn't sound very good, but I remember when I was looking at prep books for the subject GRE (over 20 years ago), they all tended to be too hard. (Granted, I was looking into math at the time, but I imagine it's the same for physics.) It found it best to assess myself using the sample tests provided by ETS.

    I didn't spend much time preparing for the GRE subject test. I took one sample test and noted which questions I missed. A few of the questions were from specific topics like particle physics and condensed matter that I hadn't taken yet, so I just wrote them off. Most of the rest were about special relativity, so I spent a little while brushing up on that. Then I took a second sample test and decided I was satisfied with my performance. And that was about it for prep. That's how I would suggest you start. Identify which particular topics are giving you difficulty and focus on those.

    I recall that you don't really need to have taken the upper-division courses to do decently on the subject test. If you have a good conceptual understanding of physics at the lower-division level, you can do well. One of my professors had mentioned this to me before I took the test, but I didn't believe him at the time. In hindsight, I saw he was right.
     
  7. Aug 5, 2013 #6
    ugh ... just took the test on the ETS website and got 31 T.T ... this is rather discouraging after all the work i've put into this studying for like 12 hours every day for the last month and a half ... maybe i do need a break -_- ... but the clock keeps ticking till the test day ... *sigh* ... i'll never get into grad school ...
     
  8. Aug 6, 2013 #7

    vela

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    Keep in mind some schools ignore the GRE altogether, and if your grades and letters of recommendation are good, the GRE scores won't matter much.
     
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