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What if the GRE in Physics is not required?

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  1. Jul 11, 2005 #1
    I was just informed that the school I was considering for graduate school (really my only option) does not require a GRE. Given that I'm going back to school after 10 years of absence from the field, do I really need to take the GRE? It would make my life a lot easier if I just took some refresher courses and applied to grad school.

    I could even take the refresher courses pass/fail, or audit them. No need to get a letter grade.

    What do you think? Go the hard route, take the courses for credit with a letter grade and the GRE, or take the easy route?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2005 #2
    I don't think the GRE is all that important. You do want to learn the material that will be tested on the qualifying exams though. For some schools, the subject matter of the qualifying exams is more narrow than what is tested on the GRE.
     
  4. Jul 11, 2005 #3
    Take it--I think it be helpful for the admissions process and yourself. You'll be fully refreshed.. It just seems logical.

    .. but I really have no idea what I'm talking about.
     
  5. Jul 12, 2005 #4
    What's a qualifying exam?
     
  6. Jul 12, 2005 #5

    ZapperZ

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    You will note that in another thread that you created, I responded by pointing out to you another thread that I was hoping you would read and pay attention to, AND, also mentioned the word "qualifier", as in qualifying exam.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=81261&page=1&pp=15

    I have also described IN DETAIL elsewhere about the qualifying exams.

    Zz.
     
  7. Jul 12, 2005 #6
    i agree that it would probably be a better idea to focus on the qualifying exam; the whole point of the physics gre exam is so that you can be admitted into the program. if it's not required, there's no point in taking it. but you will have to take that qualifying exam.

    for the conclusive opinion, why don't you email an administrator in that school's physics department?
     
  8. Jul 12, 2005 #7
    Actually, I did do a search for qualifying exams. What I found, didn't tell me much. It's a multi day exam that everyone loses sleep over. You spend your two years studying for it. Thus, I can only guess it is similar to a bar exam - something that comes at the end of your education. If that's it, I'm not worried about it. I've passed at least two multi-day exams like this before.

    I also spoke to the school, and they said some professors like to use GRE scores, and some don't care. In other words, it's up to me. Thus the reason for my post here.
     
  9. Jul 12, 2005 #8

    ZapperZ

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    Then you haven't actually understood what it is. You may want to read my So You Want To Be A Physicist essay on what it is, and WHY you have to pass it FIRST before going on to other parts of your graduate program. It isn't something you take at the end of your education. A physics graduate program doesn't run only for 2 years!

    I am also puzzled by another thing. It appears that you seem to others to tell you on what you should do on things that require one to know your level of understanding of physics. This is next to impossible to do. If you are applying to a school that doesn't care about the GRE, then how about taking the GRE just for you to figure out for yourself how capable you are? Why not use it as a self evaluation? There is a very good chance that if you can't score in the top 25% or so, you may have quite a bit of a problem with graduate school. Why not use that to figure out where you need to shore up your basics?

    My impression so far is that I don't think you fully understand, or are aware, of what is involved in getting a Ph.D in physics. And I'm not just talking about the physics background.

    Zz.
     
  10. Jul 12, 2005 #9

    jma2001

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    Sorry, I know this was asked once before, but I am confused again by your statement. Do you mean, if you can't score

    A) in the top 25%, meaning above the 75th percentile, OR
    B) in the top 75%, meaning above the 25th percentile

    ... then you may have a problem with grad school?
     
  11. Jul 13, 2005 #10

    ZapperZ

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    I think I corrected myself in that earlier thread.

    I mean as in you are in the top 25%. Any lower, while you can certainly get into grad school, you might want to do a bit more refresher courses before you sit for that first qualifier.

    Zz.
     
  12. Jul 13, 2005 #11
    I just read your full journal. It helped quite a bit. Thanks.
     
  13. Jul 13, 2005 #12

    jma2001

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    Yes, but you corrected yourself in the opposite direction, which is why I was confused.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=64966

    Anyway, thanks for the second clarification, I think I understand now.
     
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