Eddy Current wrote:if we put the same effort into thinking of simple and inexpensive research projects, as we do into thinking of 100 simple PGRE problems, then maybe we would have better physicists.
WhoaNonstop wrote:Maybe if Physics didn't have the requirement of "socially awkward" we'd see more physics majors. ;D
ryan6 wrote:Plus, the pgre doesnt only test quick physics thinking. It also tests diligence and perseverance in preperation. If a person who is a "deeper/slower thinker," were to practice/memorize and spend months increasing speed and test taking skills, they are likely to be just as valuable to a grad school because these are key aspects required in a student researcher.
Im sure grad schools like this test, not just for testing mad fisic skilz, but also to see which students really want the spot more. They know not every one is a quick thinker. But, the admins hope that those who arent, make up for it in the time and effort they put in.
At least, this is my way of rationalizing all the extra hours i put in trying to keep up with those fast thinkers.
WhoaNonstop wrote:In all honesty though, a low PGRE won't kill everything. Of course you probably won't get accepted to top schools because of it, but that doesn't mean you're worthless. The biggest part about graduate school is not where you are at, but what you put into the research. There are plenty mediocre to below average schools that are doing interesting research. As long as wherever you go, you do productive research and work hard, you'll be fine.
ultraballer2000 wrote:Having spoken to Griffiths about the PGRE, I'm convinced that OP is right and the PGRE is a complete joke. He mentioned how a student who got a perfect score on the test was interviewed by writers of the test and asked how they did so well. The answer was that they just memorized silly tricks and shortcuts to solving problems, to which the PGRE writers were ecstatic about because that was their intent for the test.
However, it is important since schools will judge you harshly if you don't do well on it.
Also, I did pretty crappy on my PGRE so I'm not going to lie about my opinion being slightly biased.
ultraballer2000 wrote:Yes, but the test writers intended on it to be solved by those tricks--the PGRE is based on knowing how to do these tricks.
That's what my objection is primarily founded on: if a test is purely made to see how well you can NOT apply your knowledge of a particular subject, it is inherently stupid.
Eddy Current wrote:so this begs the question, do you understand a concept if you remember a process with which to get a correct answer?
It reminds me of Modern Physics class. I was able to ace the special relativity test by just remembering to contract length if a certain phrase was used, etc. I cant remember those tricks right now, because it was several years ago and I didn't like that method of acing a test anyhow. My goal was to understand special relativity, and I would still say that I dont understand it. I know length contracts and time slows down as you reach the speed of light, but what the really means I have no idea. I certainly dont have a working model of relativity in my head that I can call up when I want.
I was talking with some other students in EM about actually understanding concepts, and they had an interesting take. I asked them how they envision the electric and magnetic fields, and they responded, "envision?, what do you mean?"
"you know, what sort of mental picture do you conjure up?"
"ummm, I just work the equations"
I wonder how many students dont really bother to build mental models of these ideas. If I had a better memory, I could certainly just remember the mathematical rules as to how all this stuff works, would that then mean I understand it?
So, to bring this back to the original topic, when I am sitting there at the PGRE, I am trying to conjure up mental images of warped spacetime and curled fields. Maybe this is my problem, maybe I should just memorize a list of tricks and try not to think about it.... reminds me of that multiplication test I failed in fourth grade.
WhoaNonstop wrote:negru wrote:Wait, so that whole paper with circles on it wasn't for connect the dots? Dammit!
fandangoya wrote:I think the PGRE is a stupid test because it doesn't really provide any indicator of how you will do in graduate school....and isn't that the whole point of it? I mean a large majority of the questions simply test whether you know a certain formula or not, or if you read some random fact about particles or something similar. To me, this is an absolutely HORRIBLE way of testing your potential in grad school. I could understand if the questions were designed to see what your thinking process is like, but it isn't like that even remotely, thanks to multiple choice questions.
It rather infuriates me because I don't want my application to be judged by my PGRE score. I'm from a LAC so we don't manage to do that well, and it will hurt my application. I don't think this is right. Graduate school is supposed to be about research, right? And the PGRE relates to this...how?
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