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Testing Why is Physics GRE more difficult than that of Mathematics?

  1. Jun 20, 2004 #1
    Why is Physics GRE more difficult than that of Mathematics!?

    I don't know why is Physics GRE more difficult than that of Mathematics!? I can do the math test without any preparation and can score high too (practiced with two of them, the first for fun, the second to be sure :grumpy: ) and I am very afraid of the Physics one...I need a lot of preparation, as I have already took one :mad: . Is it because mathematics is a tool in a hand or what?
    I am stuck in all these preparation advices and books. Can someone here give me a hand?

    Max Born
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2004 #2
    Hi Max,

    Maybe its because mathematics is more pure than physics.

    With mathematics, you could theoretically stroll in and ace an exam without any preparation, providing the questions were complete enough. The same doesn't really go for physics eg. F=ma is not as instinctive as a=2b

    Or maybe you are just better at maths.

    Just thought of another way of looking at it, imagine 1000 universes, you would need to know 1000 different sets of phsics relationships to pass a physics exam in them all, but only one set of mathematics to pass a maths exam.

    It only my view however.

    hope that helped,
  4. Jun 27, 2004 #3
    Perhaps it's because physics describes facts, meaning that you have a lot of terms and equations to remember? In mathematics, you can derive a lot of theorems from definitions, as long as you vaguely remember the way they did it. So, you don't need to remember a lot of stuff. But, in physics, things behave in a strict way, and there's no way to derive F=ma without tons of experiments. That makes it a lot tougher to remember everything.

    That is just my guess, so don't flame at me.
  5. Jun 28, 2004 #4
    Thank you guys for caring to asnwer me.But I really find it hard to grasp why is it tougher than maths?
    I believe I am good at mathematics and I can do things in it easily. But what should I do if I love physics :) ?

    I will keep on and get that tough GRE Physics, so pray for me.

  6. Jun 28, 2004 #5


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    One should always seek to better themselves. Accomplishing something you find hard is always much more rewarding than affirming that you are already good at something else. If you truly love physics then it is the struggle to learn its complexities that is the most important part.

    Of course the choice is yours. Good luck.
  7. Jun 28, 2004 #6


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    I think a lot of people forget that mathematics, to put it crudely, is a "tool", like a hammer or a screwdriver. You use these tools to accomplish a project (solve or formulate a physics problem or principle). But just because you know how to use a screwdriver, doesn't necessarily mean you know how to build a house or a car engine. Same thing with mathematics and physics. While you use mathematics to solve or formulate physics, you don't automatically know a lot about physics just because you are good at mathematics.

  8. Jun 29, 2004 #7
    You are absolutely right, I have believed what you said all my life. I was just angry that my preparation for GRE Physics is not going good. I forgot things and I am working all the problems in many books.
    I have even sent some to undernetphysics :)

  9. Jun 29, 2004 #8


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    I'm not sure if you meant the Yahoo Group or the IRC channel. I hope it's the Yahoo Group, because I need all the help I can get this week. I've been getting lots of boos and hisses for the very BAD pun in this week's vexer. :)

  10. Jul 6, 2004 #9
    It is the Yahoo Group!

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