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The summer between graduation and graduate school - Preparation?

  1. Jul 10, 2014 #1
    I'm just reaching out to fellow graduate students who have already been through this. I'm about one month out from starting classes for physics phD program. Here are my concerns/questions:

    There is a preliminary exam; if students do not reach a certain percentage they will recommend (and may even make it mandatory this year) that the student takes upper undergraduate level courses first (these count towards a masters, but not the phD).

    I found a research project I found interesting, relating to biophysics. I would need to brush up on my bio-chem and computer programming to work with this team.

    Ideally I'd like to do all of these, but since we don't live in a perfect world it's unlikely I would with the amount of time left. So basically my question is, which is most important that I get a head start on, or should I be collectively working to all of these:

    -Review all of previous physics knowledge [Kinematics - QM]? (I figured this might help with the preliminary exam, TA duties, and maybe even in some of my courses)

    -Review upper level course material [E.M., Q.M., Upper level mechanics]? (This may be better material to look at for the preliminary exam, and almost definitely help in courses I will take)

    -Work towards understanding the research project

    Thank you for your time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2014 #2
    Same situation here, sans the option for a prelim exam. I made a thread about this a few months ago and got some good replies (check my thread history, I forget the title).

    What I have been doing is reading the relevant literature in the research field my department/group largely focuses on along with playing around with the programming language and software packages I'm going to be using. I was invited to a big academic conference/workshop and that helped a bit in getting me up to speed too.
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