Preparing for Math & Physics GRE: Tips & Strategies

In summary: I think that taking the GRE in mathematics is a good idea. It can help you show that you are interested in theoretical/mathematical physics. It can also give you a better understanding of what is required to study theoretical/mathematical physics.I was thinking this way: I am not a first year student, but I am applying to top universities. I know that I am good enough to score good in both physics and math GRE. And so, this can complement my flawed grades! (I know. Grades are not everything, but you can't say... that you don't care about your grades.)
  • #1
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I am taking one year break to work and relieve myself from the burden of the university. I studied physics and minor mathematics. I will apply to PhD or Masters next year. (I will take the GRE next year too).

I took the following materials for my minor math:
- Real Analysis
- Abstract Algebra
- Complex Analysis
- Differential Geometry
- PDE
- Tensor Calculus/Analysis
- Applied math

I am not as good in math as physics. I had my difficulties with it, but I liked all the courses.

I was thinking of taking both GRE exams, one in physics and the other in mathematics, because I want to apply for theoretical/mathematical physics. (Not sure yet which one)

My questions:
- Would that supplement my resume if I made relatively good to excellent scores?
- I looked at math GRE martial requirements and it seems very broad and vague compared to the physics GRE which is specific. What math material should I focus on?I expect to get in physics GRE excellent to good. In math GRE I expect to get OK to good. (I am currently revising both, physics and math materials and I am taking my time studying them)

Footnote: I am prioritizing the physics GRE of course, but if I have the time I will do the math GRE.
 
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  • #2
Phylosopher said:
I was thinking of taking both GRE exams, one in physics and the other in mathematics, because I want to apply for theoretical/mathematical physics. (Not sure yet which one)

Do any of the places you are applying to require the Math subject GRE? If not, why are you taking it?
 
  • #3
Vanadium 50 said:
Do any of the places you are applying to require the Math subject GRE? If not, why are you taking it?

For the time being. I looked only for theoretical physics masters and PhD's. They sometimes require physics GRE. But I am not sure about the mathematical physics PhD's
 
  • #4
Vanadium 50 said:
why are you taking it?

I am not a first class student. So I was thinking that having good GRE in math and physics can supplement and improve my status when I apply for graduate school. Especially that I am considering theoretical/mathematical physics degree.

I only take such degree once in my life. So I am trying to improve my status as much as possible.
 
  • #5
Phylosopher said:
But I am not sure about the mathematical physics PhD's

So, don't you think you should look that up?
 
  • #6
Vanadium 50 said:
So, don't you think you should look that up?

I should, and I will.

I understand what you are aiming for. But I want to know your opinion on the posted question with the assumption that a GRE in mathematics is not required, if this help you narrowing the answer.

Phylosopher said:
- Would that supplement my resume if I made relatively good to excellent scores?
 
  • #7
For what it's worth, I don't think that taking the GRE for another subject when it's not required for the admissions process is going to knock anyone's socks off on an admissions committee. There's a very good chance that at best it will be a bullet point on your application. While not harmful, it would seem to me that there are better ways to spend your time such as getting involved in a research project or developing some specific skills that might be useful to your potential PhD projects.
 
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  • #8
Choppy said:
For what it's worth, I don't think that taking the GRE for another subject when it's not required for the admissions process is going to knock anyone's socks off on an admissions committee. There's a very good chance that at best it will be a bullet point on your application. While not harmful, it would seem to me that there are better ways to spend your time such as getting involved in a research project or developing some specific skills that might be useful to your potential PhD projects.
Thanks for your reply.

True, I am trying to get a job as a research assistant for next year.
 
  • #9
I don't see how this can possibly help. What are you trying to tell the admissions committee? That you know better than they do what documents they need? That you have taken a test that enables you to apply to other departments and that maybe you're not so interested in physics?
 
  • #10
Vanadium 50 said:
I don't see how this can possibly help. What are you trying to tell the admissions committee? That you know better than they do what documents they need? That you have taken a test that enables you to apply to other departments and that maybe you're not so interested in physics?

I was thinking this way: I am not a first year student, but I am applying to top universities. I know that I am good enough to score good in both physics and math GRE. And so, this can complement my flawed grades! (I know. Grades are not everything, but you can't say they are nothing. I guess)

That's all.

I just wanted others opinion on whether its worth it or not. I hope I wasn't asking for much!

Choppy for example replied that it is worth more if you did research rather than wasting time preparing for another GRE.
 
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  • #11
When I took the Physics GRE, I spent many hours studying and practicing. It takes a lot of discipline to sit for almost 3 hours and solve problems, allotting less than 2 min per problem. I don't know why you'd want to do that for two different subjects.

My other point is that the PGRE was something that I had to train for in order to excel at. I also thought that I would do quite well at first, and after taking my first practice test I realized that I would have to really kick it into high gear and learn the test inside and out in order to get the score that I wanted.

Maybe this is not the case for you, but I don't think these GREs are good barometers of your knowledge that you can take cold and expect to get a good score.
 
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  • #12
I don't think this is going to help. It's certainly not going to overcome bad grades - it doesn't matter how good a researcher you are, if you can't make it through your classwork and qual.
 
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  • #13
Vanadium 50 said:
I don't think this is going to help. It's certainly not going to overcome bad grades - it doesn't matter how good a researcher you are, if you can't make it through your classwork and qual.

Thanks for the reply
 

1. How should I start preparing for the Math & Physics GRE?

The first step in preparing for the Math & Physics GRE is to familiarize yourself with the exam format and content. This can be done by obtaining a prep book or attending a prep course. Once you have a general understanding of what to expect, you can begin studying and practicing problems.

2. How much time should I dedicate to studying for the Math & Physics GRE?

The amount of time you should dedicate to studying for the Math & Physics GRE will vary depending on your current level of knowledge and the score you are aiming for. However, on average, it is recommended to spend at least 2-3 months studying for the exam.

3. What are the most important topics to focus on for the Math & Physics GRE?

Some of the most important topics to focus on for the Math & Physics GRE include calculus, linear algebra, mechanics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics. It is also important to have a strong understanding of basic mathematical concepts and problem-solving strategies.

4. How can I improve my time management during the Math & Physics GRE?

One way to improve time management during the Math & Physics GRE is to practice timed practice exams or sections. This will help you get a sense of how much time you have for each question and allow you to work on your speed and accuracy. Additionally, make sure to read and understand the directions for each question before starting to answer.

5. Are there any specific test-taking strategies that can help me during the Math & Physics GRE?

Yes, there are several test-taking strategies that can help you during the Math & Physics GRE. These include carefully reading and understanding each question, using process of elimination when unsure of an answer, and pacing yourself to ensure you have enough time to answer all questions. It is also helpful to double-check your work and make sure you have answered every question before time runs out.

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