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Studying Strategy for studying the PGRE

  1. Jan 6, 2013 #1


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    I am taking the PGRE in April and started studying for it this winter. I initially took the 2008 test and was struggling. Then I decided to break the test into sections. First studying only the E&M questions, then mechanics, and so on. I figured out how to do most of the problems after working for a couple weeks and took it again. I got a 990 on the test and finished in a little over an hour. Feeling confident, today I took the 2001 test and struggled again. I'm getting in the 600s and taking more than the allowed time. Should I keep with my previous strategy of basically memorizing how to do the problems in the 2001 test? For people who did well on this exam, did you just know it right away or did you know of a good study strategy for the test?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2013 #2


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    Note: I also only did half of the 2001 test and multiplied by 2. Looking at it again, the first half is heavy in quantum and thermo, my weakest areas right now. I'll take the 2nd half later and see if it's any better...
  4. Jan 7, 2013 #3
    I would also like input for this question as well... So if anyone would answer, that'd be great!
  5. Jan 7, 2013 #4
    No any Strategy will help you in Academics,
    GRE means high amount of questions in low amount of time.So just speed up, clear your basics.Go entirely through one Introductory Physics Text(University Physics) and after that a Refresher Guide.
    A lot of Preparing for it on physicsgre.com.
  6. Jan 7, 2013 #5


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    Memorizing how to do specific problems is not a very sound strategy. Let me get this straight. You just studied how to dothe old test and then got a 990, but when you saw a different test, you got in the 600s. That should tell you something.

    A good strategy to do well is to study the source material and then use the test to evaluate yourself. I dont see how studying the questions on the old exams will you do you as much good.
  7. Jan 7, 2013 #6
    I didn't get a 990 on the test but here's my input.

    It seems to me like you got a 990 in only an hour because you memorized all the answers. You should work through all 5 practice exams so many times the you remember all the answers, because there are some questions that are recycled. But you really should also focus more on the concepts. I only had a month to study, but what I would do different if I had as much time as you is first of all read my entire freshman book to refresh, then read up on the advanced topics I am unfamiliar with.

    The 2008 test is the closest thing to how the exams are now (I took the two most recent)

    I'm not trying to advertise, but I also used that new PGRE book by the MIT guys to practice. I'm not sure how much it helped, but it did present all the topics in a concise manner.
  8. Jan 7, 2013 #7
    I did a similar strategy and was getting similar results: 990-ing exams that I had essentially memorized. It's okay in some instances, since you can clearly see which problems they basically cut and paste into the new exams, but it's never the exact same exam.

    A better strategy would probably be to randomly sample from the 5 or so exams floating around. It probably wouldn't hurt to be on the level of 990-ing all of the exams themselves, but also try to do just as well by building a random sample list of 100 questions from those 5 exams.

    If you go here you can study questions from previous exams by topic and also use those to build a randomly sampled exam to test yourself.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  9. Jan 7, 2013 #8


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    Thanks for all the feedback! I've been reading through halliday and resnick again, but it's really thick so I just ordered the new book written by the MIT students.
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