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When should I take the GRE?

  1. Feb 1, 2017 #1


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    Hi guys. I'm relatively new to the Physics Forums, so forgive me if this question has been asked a bunch already. (I'm sure it has).

    I'm currently a junior in UCLA and majoring in Physics. I want to go to grad school (not sure which yet) so I'll obviously need to take both the general GRE and Physics GRE.

    I was wondering if someone could give me some advice. I'm currently doing research (hopefully leads to a publication sometime at the start of my senior year). I'm taking 3-4 upper div physics classes each quarter and am also grading papers for other physics classes. Basically, I'm not sure how I can squeeze GRE study time in, so I was debating on whether or not I should just finish my degree and take a year off to prepare for GRE's. Or is this something I can cram into my senior year? There's a brief period of time in the summer where I may be able to squeeze 2-3weeks, but I'm not sure if that's enough. Also, I'm not sure if graduate schools will see the last 2 quarters worth of upper division work, so will that potential hurt my chances? My GPA is currently a 4.0, and I've scored a 2300 on the SAT, but have no idea how I'll do for GRE's and the PGRE.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2017 #2
    It's common for students to take the physics GRE the September (and October, if you want to take it twice) of their senior year. You say you don't have time, and it may be true that you can't spend three hours a day studying for a test. However, it's only February! Can you spend a solid 15 minutes studying per day? Get the "Conquering the physics GRE" book, and go through a couple of pages every night. Chances are high you won't have to learn anything drastically new since you are from a reputable university, just review things you've already learned.

    For the general GRE, it's generally not something you need to "study" for. There's a practice general GRE software you can download and take it, but as far as actual studying I don't know of any physics majors that really studied for it.
  4. Feb 2, 2017 #3


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    Thanks for the reply. The PGRE is something I can for sure study a little bit of every now. The thing is, I don't know if I should simultaneously study both the general and physics GRE in small segments or 'bootcamp' the two in a span of 2-3 months.
  5. Feb 2, 2017 #4
    My opinion is that you shouldn't study for the general GRE outside of taking the practice test. There isn't really a way to study for it - it tests general quantitative skills (and as a physicist, you have those), vocabulary (how are you going to study for this anyway?) and reading comprehension (again, how are you going to study for that?) Just go full speed ahead on the physics GRE.
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