Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

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PAINpainfullyQuick
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby PAINpainfullyQuick » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:13 am

Dearest PHYSICSGRE.com forum members,

Allow me to introduce myself. Just kidding.

I need to master the PHYSICSGRE. I am a freshman (in more than one way, gi... oops) attending a mildly competitive university. [Trailing off into third-person...] Though considered bright, this student neglected his duties during high school (the audience gasps in surprise at this combination of character traits). !!STOP!!

Okay, sorry about that. I have problems focusing. Now I'm studying from Halliday, Resnick, and Krane. I've purchased (BEGRUDGINGLY) the three-volume Feynman Lectures and I'm very pleased with them (him) thus far. (God I love Feynman. I LOVE YOU FEYNMAN. Fine man, Feign man, THE EVERYMAN.) Also the 3,000 Solved Problems in Physics which I'll work through over the summer (see: Ripley's Believe It or Not!). Got Rohlf's Modern Physics book as well. Anything else I should be doing?

I mean, what would YOU do were you again a freshman? Imagine that, but add a small detail: strip yourself of all (your clothes ahahaha that'd be funny but also very challenging) ability to interact with people. Now I don't want any cheap stuff, I want to learn this stuff genuinely. I want it be like... you know, like qualia. Any tips?

http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~keith/poems/tyger.html,
PAINpainfullyQuick

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grae313
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby grae313 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:29 am

PAINpainfullyQuick wrote: Any tips?


Put all your *** away until the summer before your senior year. Start doing research, do well in your classes, and have a good time in college. Become less full of yourself.

Mataka
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby Mataka » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:17 am

Become less full of yourself.


Yes, take that one seriously !

vesperlynd
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby vesperlynd » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:46 am

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Last edited by vesperlynd on Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PAINpainfullyQuick
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby PAINpainfullyQuick » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:49 pm

All right, thanks guys. I'd like to apologize for my first post and second posts. They're blatantly immature and undeserving of this forum's attention. I'm not full of myself, though it must certainly seems so. I'm just a little strange -- I'll temporize my posts from now on. My three main physics guys are Feynman, W. Lewin, and Sagan. I'd be really embarrassed if they read that stuff.

So I'll focus on my research and GPA until the time grae313 mentioned. Beyond that, I'll just spend my free time learning about whatever interests me. I don't want to bastardize the subject I like so much by shaping my studies around a high test score.

Thank you guys for setting me straight, and I hope this post doesn't come across as contrived or something. I blushed just thinking about opening this thread, 'cause I knew I'd embarrassed myself again!

t3chn0n3rd
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby t3chn0n3rd » Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:38 pm

Wow if you started studing for the GRE physics exam you could ace it by your senior year. Say you are studying E&M or classical mechanics this semester you could do problem sets that correspond out of a gre physics exam book. Here is the one I am using now. It is broken up into the topics such as
*electricity and magnet. * atomic physics, * relativity etc. So each semester you could just change the problems.

Image

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HappyQuark
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby HappyQuark » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:13 pm

t3chn0n3rd wrote:Wow if you started studing for the GRE physics exam you could ace it by your senior year. Say you are studying E&M or classical mechanics this semester you could do problem sets that correspond out of a gre physics exam book. Here is the one I am using now. It is broken up into the topics such as
*electricity and magnet. * atomic physics, * relativity etc. So each semester you could just change the problems.

Image


I would highly recommend against that test prep book. It is notorious for providing example problems that are entirely unlike the actual test questions (if I recall correctly they are significantly easier than the actual test problems). It does provide the 4 available practice PGRE tests which will be invaluable to you, however they can be found for free on the Internet.

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Helio
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby Helio » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:52 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
t3chn0n3rd wrote:Wow if you started studing for the GRE physics exam you could ace it by your senior year. Say you are studying E&M or classical mechanics this semester you could do problem sets that correspond out of a gre physics exam book. Here is the one I am using now. It is broken up into the topics such as
*electricity and magnet. * atomic physics, * relativity etc. So each semester you could just change the problems.

Image


I would highly recommend against that test prep book. It is notorious for providing example problems that are entirely unlike the actual test questions (if I recall correctly they are significantly easier than the actual test problems). It does provide the 4 available practice PGRE tests which will be invaluable to you, however they can be found for free on the Internet.


Another big problem with is book is that some questions require a calculator to be done in 1.7 minutes and you are not allowed to use a calculator.....


Back to topic: listen to grae and you will be on the right track

scottyY
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby scottyY » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:34 am

HappyQuark wrote:
t3chn0n3rd wrote:Wow if you started studing for the GRE physics exam you could ace it by your senior year. Say you are studying E&M or classical mechanics this semester you could do problem sets that correspond out of a gre physics exam book. Here is the one I am using now. It is broken up into the topics such as
*electricity and magnet. * atomic physics, * relativity etc. So each semester you could just change the problems.

Image


I would highly recommend against that test prep book. It is notorious for providing example problems that are entirely unlike the actual test questions (if I recall correctly they are significantly easier than the actual test problems). It does provide the 4 available practice PGRE tests which will be invaluable to you, however they can be found for free on the Internet.

Is it available somewhere in the UK? I have been searching for it, but in vain. Probably, someone was more lucky.

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quizivex
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby quizivex » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:04 am

ScottyY wrote:Is it available somewhere in the UK? I have been searching for it, but in vain. Probably, someone was more lucky.
The book is on Amazon new and used. Some of the sellers probably ship to the UK... but look at the reviews before you waste money on that piece of junk. It's a lousy, lousy prep book. The time spent on that book will not be worth the little bit you learn... It will distract you more than it helps you.

HappyQuark wrote:I would highly recommend against that test prep book. It is notorious for providing example problems that are entirely unlike the actual test questions (if I recall correctly they are significantly easier than the actual test problems). It does provide the 4 available practice PGRE tests which will be invaluable to you, however they can be found for free on the Internet.
Most people have said the problems are too hard... though maybe there are some that are too easy as well. It doesn't provide "the 4" from ETS. It includes its own tests which poorly represent the real test.

The "ETS Practicing to take the GRE Physics" book is the one that's out of print and nearly impossible to find... but all of the content (list of the topics covered + the 4 tests) is available online... so there's no point in looking for that book.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby WhoaNonstop » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:44 am

PAINpainfullyQuick wrote:I need to master the PHYSICSGRE.


Agreeing with Grae here, chill out a little bit and enjoy college. You'll have plenty of time to stress about physics later on.

With that being said though...

What I would honestly suggest (and which I feel is fairly realistic) is for you to go along during your general physics course and try to solve ever question in that chapter. Set a time limit on the problems though. For example, if you can't figure a problem out fairly quickly, stop, move on to the next one and circle that problem so you can come back to it later. Spending roughly 30-60 minutes a day doing problems like this you should be able to complete a fair chunk of the problems in your book. The next year, when you're not in the general physics course, go back and look at a few of the circled problems daily and try to figure them out as well. Although this seems like it is a lot of work, it really shouldn't be, especially if you "need" to learn it for the class. It will give you a great background in solving basic problems that are likely to be seen on the test. I did this over my junior/senior years for preparation and wish I had done it when I was actually taking the course.

-Riley

bfollinprm
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Re: A first-year undergraduate seeks advice.

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:26 am

Actually, this is good practice in general. If you're reading a textbook and don't know how to do a problem at the end of a chapter, it means in the vast majority of cases you didn't understand something important about the chapter. While generally the most important problems will be assigned, if you really plan on a career built on physics, it's important you understand the text in its entirety--you are supposed to be an expert at some point, you know. Most people's (including yours truly) first experience with this I'm guessing coincides with studying for the preliminary/qualifying exam (and that's because at that point it's absolutely necessary), but starting earlier is definitely recommended.

Now, if you're taking 4 classes it's impossible to do this for each text, but over the course of your career you should have a chance to build this kind of understanding over a broad range of physics subjects. It won't ever stop (it just gets more specialized, and at some point you have to start making up your own problems), so if you can't motivate yourself to do problems simply for the sake of understanding (not saying you can't), rethink the decision to shoot for grad school and make sure it's what you really want.




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