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Studying for quals

  1. Feb 25, 2014 #1

    Physics_UG

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    So I am studying for my phd program's qualifying exam and I find that I can solve hardly any of the practice exams from the last 10 years (not able to do any of the problems). I clearly am lacking the basics. Can someone recommend some books to study to get an undergraduate physics level understanding of upper level classical mechanics, E+M, and stat mech/thermal physics? I already own Griffith's quantum mechanics book. All my other text books I sold back to the bookstore.

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2014 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    As you have discovered, that was a mistake. I would buy another copy of those texts and start from there.
     
  4. Feb 26, 2014 #3

    Physics_UG

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    Some of them I kept but we moved to a new house and I don't know what happened to the other ones. :(

    I am not sure the texts I used in undergrad are good ones.
     
  5. Feb 26, 2014 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    It doesn't matter if the mistake was that you sold them to the bookstore, or that you otherwise lost them. What matters is that you no longer have them. You spent months of your life working through each book, so you should get another copy. You might also want to get some other book, but the ones you need most are the ones you are most familiar with.
     
  6. Feb 26, 2014 #5

    Physics_UG

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    I see. Thanks Vanadium.
     
  7. Feb 28, 2014 #6
    If you have some idea of the graduate school, you can see what preparation they expect for the qualifier. Graduateschoolshopper has files for graduate schools and the academic preparation they expect. Most importantly, I learned to do problem after problem. Reading background is sometimes necessary, but it is solving the problems that is the best preparation. If you have a university library nearby, it may not be necessary to buy back all your recommended books.

    possibilities:
    Upper level Mechanics: Marion and Thornton Mech of particles and systems?, or Symon Mechanics,
    Upper level Stat Mech: Reif, perhaps Kittel Thermal physic, Sears and Salinger, or Zemansky
    Upper level EM: Marion and Heald, Corson and Lorraine, Griffith,
    Upper level QM: Griffith, Gasiorowicz, Eisberg and Resnick maybe, Liboff, Saxon?

    but is best to consider the graduate school you expect to attend to be more specific.
     
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