physics & math GRE ?!

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betelgeuse1
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 10:14 am

physics & math GRE ?!

Postby betelgeuse1 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:49 am

Hi again
Happy to see your site after some time of hard GRE-working. I saw here a question about math & physics GRE. It's not the first time I hear about this. I heard it anyway in another context: a friend of mine took both math and physics GRE although he applied only at physics. (And was admitted at harvard some years ago if I remember right... :wink: ) I am curious if someone knows how important a math GRE would be if one intends to apply at a physics program. I am not in the position to be able to pass a math GRE now but I want to know how much could this boost my chances toward top schools... I hope I won't have to start that too 'cause I get a headake just at thinking at it...
Thanks a lot!

physics_auth
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:24 pm

Re: physics & math GRE ?!

Postby physics_auth » Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:13 pm

I do not understand if many of you simply want to go to top schools because of their high reputation or because you indeed found out some very interesting research program to "build your career upon". Anyway. Although I do not know the exact answer to your question I will present some simple arguments that may end up being elucidating in the final analysis. I assume that the more work sb presents to the graduate admission committee -like for example math and physics GRE test, instead of only physics GRE test- the more probable is for them to earn a position to the pertinent university. However, what if the same person became accepted only on their results in physics test? In this case, apart from some knowledge gained in maths, the rest of the procedure is simply time-consuming, money-consuming, and -if the candidate chooses a field that does not require the maths of the GRE test or a very small part of it- it may turn to seem utterly pointless. Besides, what if the candidate is rejected for some reason. Then, they would have made double effort for achieving nothing! Thus, the question you should pose is if anyone has been rejected because they didn't have both tests. Judging by the admission criteria that various universities have decided on, it is not mentioned that math GRE is necessary prerequisite. Based on this, I don't think that the essential point in the procedure of admittance or rejection by the committee is the GRE math results. Or else, more more people would sit both of them. As i know from other cases, students who decide on sitting math test are those who want to follow mathematical physics or applied mathematics (or maybe some branch of physics that requires heavy maths). As a result, I would recommend to act according to what branch you do intend to turn to for a PhD. Furthermore, if you want to study maths simply for your pleasure or because you think that they will help you in your future studies, I would not advise you to sit math GRE, but find some good books to read. At least, this is what I decided on to do. If, on the other hand, you do not adopt my position then, simply intensify your efforts and burn the midnight oil by starting reading Lang's books (springe series) and good luck! Last but not least, note that after having the tests you will realize that you gave them more significance than they actually have!

P.S.: It would be wise to try think other ways to improve your admittance possibilities like, for instance, providing very strong letters of recommendation and so on. It is up to you ... .
Physics_auth

betelgeuse1
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 10:14 am

Re: physics & math GRE ?!

Postby betelgeuse1 » Sun Aug 16, 2009 12:57 am

I completely agree with your answer. I do indeed have a good scientific reason to go to a top school! Anyway, if the admission committee considers that an application showing math and physics is better than one having just physics I think I should know that too. I am not a GRE-fan and I don't think the GRE is my goal in life but it is an important step, and I know that from my last application, where having strong letters and research activity but not a top-level GRE I was not able to go where I wanted. I will be pleased to consider the GRE as unimportant, but that will happen after I get admitted.
I've just told what a friend of mine told me : he was admitted at harvard and he showed physics&math GRE. He learned for the 2 GRE's 1 (one) year and got maximum score at physics and almost maximum at math. I just want to be well informed. :)

physics_auth
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:24 pm

Re: physics & math GRE ?!

Postby physics_auth » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:34 am

betelgeuse1 wrote:I completely agree with your answer. I do indeed have a good scientific reason to go to a top school! Anyway, if the admission committee considers that an application showing math and physics is better than one having just physics I think I should know that too. I am not a GRE-fan and I don't think the GRE is my goal in life but it is an important step, and I know that from my last application, where having strong letters and research activity but not a top-level GRE I was not able to go where I wanted.

If you are sure that this was the reason, then try to ace Physics GRE alone. It doesn't seem that you were rejected for you didn't provide GRE math results. Isn't it?

I will be pleased to consider the GRE as unimportant, but that will happen after I get admitted.

No, I do not say that it is unimportant, but that most people give it more significance than it really has. The same was the case with me. When I heard of GRE I thought that it would be something imposing, but after taking the test my initial impression about the whole thing declined (I mean that I now see it as stepping stone and nothing more!)

I've just told what a friend of mine told me : he was admitted at harvard and he showed physics&math GRE. He learned for the 2 GRE's 1 (one) year and got maximum score at physics and almost maximum at math. I just want to be well informed. :)

From experience, I can say that each personal case is different from the other. I am also that kind of human that collects information from other people before venturing sth. But, in the long run, I find out that what applied to others does not necessarily applies to my case! So, take everything with a pinch of salt.

betelgeuse1
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 10:14 am

Re: physics & math GRE ?!

Postby betelgeuse1 » Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:19 pm

Thanks for the advises. Admirable site!

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Skribb
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:22 am

Re: physics & math GRE ?!

Postby Skribb » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:12 am

I'm of the impression that unless you do exceptionally well on the math GRE, I'm thinking along the lines of 950+, grad committees won't really care. Even if you get a 990 it could put you ahead of someone very similar to yourself but I don't think it will ever be a deciding factor for a physics grad program.




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