Where are/were you the weakest on the Physics GRE?

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Where are/were you the weakest on the Physics GRE?

Classical Mechanics
1
5%
Electromagnetism
2
9%
Optics / Wave Phenomena
4
18%
Thermodynamics / Statistical Mechanics
4
18%
Quantum Mechanics
1
5%
Atomic Physics
9
41%
Special Relativity
1
5%
 
Total votes: 22

User avatar
WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Where are/were you the weakest on the Physics GRE?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:38 am

I decided to take a break from studying to post what I think could be an interesting poll. I was wondering what everyone thinks was or is their weakest topic in the Physics GRE. This pertains to solving problems on the Physics GRE itself, not necessarily in general. For example, although I'm sure most of us feel fairly confident in classical mechanics, (say you could solve any conservation of momentum/energy equation easily) it may be more difficult during the Physics GRE due to the time barrier. So in basic I'm asking:

Which topic did you/will you do the worst in when it comes to the Physics GRE?

I have removed special topics and laboratory methods because they are too broad and don't really pertain to a specific topic.

Also, feel free to comment on what you think your strength is as well!

-Riley

User avatar
satyad18
Posts: 229
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:17 am

Re: Where are/were you the weakest on the Physics GRE?

Postby satyad18 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:02 am

Statistical Mechanics still puzzles me!

User avatar
WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Where are/were you the weakest on the Physics GRE?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:43 pm

satyad18 wrote:Statistical Mechanics still puzzles me!


I agree. This seems to be where I am the weakest at. I know most of the questions are fairly easy but I suppose I really need to study the topic to be able to understand what they are even asking.

-Riley

liutian_min
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:47 pm

Re: Where are/were you the weakest on the Physics GRE?

Postby liutian_min » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:55 pm

For me, it should be nuclear physics and particle physics.
I know really little on these topics.

User avatar
WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Where are/were you the weakest on the Physics GRE?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:05 pm

liutian_min wrote:For me, it should be nuclear physics and particle physics.
I know really little on these topics.


These are considered in the "Special Topics" I believe, which would be understandable that if I included them everyone would consider them the hardest since very few are actually exposed to them.

What about the other topics?

liutian_min
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:47 pm

Re: Where are/were you the weakest on the Physics GRE?

Postby liutian_min » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:15 pm

WhoaNonstop wrote:
liutian_min wrote:For me, it should be nuclear physics and particle physics.
I know really little on these topics.


These are considered in the "Special Topics" I believe, which would be understandable that if I included them everyone would consider them the hardest since very few are actually exposed to them.

What about the other topics?


It is actually hard to say. There could be difficult questions on any topics.
I personally feel it is most likely to be on EM or thermal physics.

CarlBrannen
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 11:34 pm

Re: Where are/were you the weakest on the Physics GRE?

Postby CarlBrannen » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:28 pm

I :oops: on E&M mostly because I never took the undergraduate class in it. I also didn't take thermodynamics but I studied hard for it and I think I learned it pretty well.

I went to a conference in Australia last year. There were proceedings published but you had to type your contribution up in LaTeX. There was an older amateur there who'd put up a poster on the subject of the Carnot cycle for photons. He didn't know LaTeX so I volunteered to type up his notes for him. I did this to be nice, but it turned out to be a lot of work and gave me an easy way of learning some stuff about thermodynamics. And his paper was published with the proceedings:

"Does Electromagnetic Radiation Generate Entropy? The Carnot Cycle Revisited"
http://scitation.aip.org/dbt/dbt.jsp?KE ... 46&Issue=1

His paper was basically a corrected calculation for something that was first most of a century or so ago, as far as I could tell. I think that a good way to learn more physics is to get involved with other people working on things, especially if it seems like an interesting idea in an area about which you know little.

It seems that it's easier to teach yourself thermo than it is to teach yourself E&M as the math is easier. On the other hand, I've had a dozen classes in probability and statistics along with a year and a half of graduate statistical mechanics and I'm strong in that area. And I don't have any great problems in atomic physics.

User avatar
WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Where are/were you the weakest on the Physics GRE?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:14 am

I honestly think that if you have had a class in each of these topics and have worked hard to understand everything in those classes, that the classical mechanics questions may be the hardest just because of the time it takes to answer some of them. For example, most of the Quantum Mechanics is you either know it or you don't, there usually isn't much of a calculation involved. Unfortunately, I didn't know any Quantum last year at all, and after a brief study of the subject, they seem like cake.

-Riley




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