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Testing Physics GRE and Normal Modes

  1. Sep 14, 2016 #1
    I'm just looking for any tips one might have for finding normal modes quickly? The GRE always seems to have a question or two on them and I have no idea how they expect someone to do a problem like that in the time given.

    I know that there is normally, in the problems given, a symmetric and an anti-symmetric mode. Is it honestly just knowing how the answers usually turn out maybe coupled with testing some extremes on the given answers?

    Thanks, I'm taking it on Saturday. After taking the final practice test available I realized I always skipped those problems because I just didn't feel I had the time to work them out.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2016 #2
    Do you have a copy of "Conquering the Physics GRE"? I recall that about two pages in there taught me more about normal modes (in terms of finding them, and quickly) than reading through Taylor. I also got through the pGRE by doing limiting cases on those problems.
  4. Sep 14, 2016 #3
    Actually, I believe I do!! Thanks!

    I got the book but didn't really like doing the problems from it much. I used it though to make sure I covered each of the sections. All the problems I found were a bit above the PGRE level of difficulty. I could do them but it took way too long. So I mostly focused on doing problems from Halliday and trying to memorize some of the formulas that I had forgotten over the years. Also I found doing all the practice tests helpful as I improved after each time. I'd do one then hit up some books working on the type of problems I missed most.

    Thanks again.
  5. Sep 14, 2016 #4
    Your studying method sounds great. Best of luck on Saturday!!
  6. Sep 14, 2016 #5
    Thank you! If I can duplicate my last practice test i'll be fine. Hopefully the pressure doesn't get to me.
  7. Sep 14, 2016 #6
    Oh wow, I do like the method they outline to use. Using the ansatz to quickly get to the secular equation. Definitely better than what I had in mind.
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