Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

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bigD3002
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Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby bigD3002 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:02 pm

Hi I am brand new to this site and I have read many post, but not all. Hopefully this is a (partially) new idea to the forum.

I am in my fourth year of undergrad (I switched to physics in my 4th semester, so I have catching up to do) and will be taking the tests next November. Now for many people it may seem a bit early to start thinking about the PGRE, especially since its only spring break time. However, I want to take a systematic approach to this test over the summer and before school starts in the fall I want to have a sound review of my previous years of physics. I am proposing to develop a study schedule that devotes time to each subject on the test based upon the size of subject, percent of test devoted to it, and how good I am currently at it. I will be working in the lab over the summer (no more than 40 hours a week) and I live alone, so I hope to find 10-20 hours a week max on review.

I also want to find a systematic way of memorizing the essential formulas and tricks the test will require. I believe flash cards will be the most effective for this but is there a page/pdf that could get me some essential formulas to start with ? This is a daunting task and it would be wonderful to find a good first step.

The way I compute it now, I will devote 12-13 weeks of the summer to study*15 hrs a week avg=appx. 130-150 hrs of study over the summer. It seems a bit low honestly. I will study in the Fall (I believe I will have 2 classes and research) but I really want a solid base in everything before school, because everyone knows how hard it can be to focus when your attention is devoted to several places.

Love to hear your informative and critical thoughts!

negru
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby negru » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:15 pm

Have you taken any practice tests to know where you're at now, and what you'd like to get? For studying theory you shouldn't spend more time than is required to understand the physics behind all practice questions. The rest depends on how good you are at solving problems quickly.

I recommend you take a practice test now (one of the newer ones), so you can retake it later as well. When taking a test remember which problems you failed and study the respective topics, and do some extra problems from books etc. If you don't do this and encounter a similar problem on the real test it will really stress you out.

Also everytime you mess up a problem because you misread the text (like compute x vs 1/x) write that down too. Then everytime you read a problem write down what you need to compute (like d=?, to make sure that's what you're computing).

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HappyQuark
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby HappyQuark » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:16 pm

bigD3002 wrote: is there a page/pdf that could get me some essential formulas to start with ?


Visit the link:

[LINK]

bigD3002
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby bigD3002 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:32 pm

negru thanks that is very helpful information! I have not taken a practice test yet. Now if I recall there are 4 available? I guess I will know which is the newest when I begin to look over them.

As far as my current knowledge in physics, I have maintained good grades but my memory has faded a bit on some stuff from over a year ago. However I will go ahead on a practice test sometime soon and analyze my results. When I do I'll post on this thread and give a suggestion. I have high ambitions, I do think right now that to achieve my goals I will absolutely need the whole summer. Hopefully I will have more data to compile after I take the test.

and quark, that is a lovely page, thanks! That's a much better start than I was expecting!

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HappyQuark
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby HappyQuark » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:44 pm

bigD3002 wrote:negru thanks that is very helpful information! I have not taken a practice test yet. Now if I recall there are 4 available? I guess I will know which is the newest when I begin to look over them.


There are 4 exams: 8677, 9277, 9677 and 0177. The first two numbers specify the year (i.e. 8677=1986, 9277=1992, 9677=1996 and 0177=2001).

With that said, I tend to disagree with negru's suggestion to start with the most recent (0177). 0177 is the most similar to the current exam so it's a good idea to leave that one till the end and use it as a final yardstick. My recommendation is to start with 9677 since its one of the newer practice exams and it will tell you your starting point. Then start studying and fit 8677 and 9277 into your study regiment and then use 0177 as your last.

liutian_min
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby liutian_min » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:02 pm

If you start preparation now, you may consider taking the test in April.
Just try the sample tests after, say, a week's preparation and see where you are at.
I think it is just a standardized test and you spend more time practicing doing the test than actually learning the physics.

From my experience, 1 week is enough for learning and reviewing the physics knowledge since most are first year stuff. The time you need to get ready really depends on how well you can handle those multiple choices fast enough.
Last edited by liutian_min on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

negru
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby negru » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:06 pm

My argument is that the 2000+ ones are more similar to the current tests, so you'll get a better idea on where you stand. Then if you take it like now, by next fall you will very likely not remember too many of the answers, especially the ones you couldn't really figure out. Otherwise yeah don't go berserk on the tests just yet. Take one, study a few months, take another, etc. Then in the final week review ALL the questions.

Also my strategy during the test is to immediately skip the hard questions. If you can't get it under a minute skip it, come back later. Also make marks for the questions you're not sure about or which required lots of calculations. Then depending on your time redo the calculations.

And yeah take the april test if you can
Last edited by negru on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

liutian_min
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby liutian_min » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:09 pm

My preparation strategy is basically do the sample tests over and over. It went pretty well at the end.

bigD3002
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby bigD3002 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:32 pm

I really don't have the time to review at the moment. I am currently in 3 physics classes as well as undergoing 2 different research projects. I am really interested to see how I will do but I would be quite embarrassed to have a poor score from taking the test prematurely.

On another note: Are the questions on the practice test really that similar to the questions that will be on the new one? I have no way to judge this at the moment but it seems that out of all the physics questions that can be posed in the universe, certainly every test could have several score of completely never before tested questions...

My spring break is next week, hopefully I can get on a practice test during my spare time. I appreciate all the advice!

negru
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby negru » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:52 pm

bigD3002 wrote:I really don't have the time to review at the moment. I am currently in 3 physics classes as well as undergoing 2 different research projects. I am really interested to see how I will do but I would be quite embarrassed to have a poor score from taking the test prematurely.

On another note: Are the questions on the practice test really that similar to the questions that will be on the new one? I have no way to judge this at the moment but it seems that out of all the physics questions that can be posed in the universe, certainly every test could have several score of completely never before tested questions...

My spring break is next week, hopefully I can get on a practice test during my spare time. I appreciate all the advice!

They will be pretty similar. Based on my experience I don't think more than maybe 5-10 or so questions were "new". And these will be from the "special topics" field for which you can hardly prepare anyway.

You should always expect to get your diffraction questions, static friction, relativistic particles etc.

bfollinprm
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:13 am

bigD3002 wrote:I really don't have the time to review at the moment. I am currently in 3 physics classes as well as undergoing 2 different research projects. I am really interested to see how I will do but I would be quite embarrassed to have a poor score from taking the test prematurely.


Take it anyway for practice, then drop the test the same day. It's like a sneak peak at the questions (some are cycled) for $150

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midwestphysics
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby midwestphysics » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:49 am

bfollinprm wrote:
bigD3002 wrote:I really don't have the time to review at the moment. I am currently in 3 physics classes as well as undergoing 2 different research projects. I am really interested to see how I will do but I would be quite embarrassed to have a poor score from taking the test prematurely.


Take it anyway for practice, then drop the test the same day. It's like a sneak peak at the questions (some are cycled) for $150


If I'm correct that still shows up on your ETS record, it simply says scores not reported which basically means you bombed so bad you didn't even need to see the numbers to know.

bfollinprm
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:22 am

midwestphysics wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:
bigD3002 wrote:I really don't have the time to review at the moment. I am currently in 3 physics classes as well as undergoing 2 different research projects. I am really interested to see how I will do but I would be quite embarrassed to have a poor score from taking the test prematurely.


Take it anyway for practice, then drop the test the same day. It's like a sneak peak at the questions (some are cycled) for $150


If I'm correct that still shows up on your ETS record, it simply says scores not reported which basically means you bombed so bad you didn't even need to see the numbers to know.



Sure, but there are good reasons to bomb (like an emergency during the test, etc). They're only going to suspect a bad reason if you bomb your future tests, in which case it wont matter, will it?

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midwestphysics
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby midwestphysics » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:04 pm

bfollinprm wrote:Sure, but there are good reasons to bomb (like an emergency during the test, etc). They're only going to suspect a bad reason if you bomb your future tests, in which case it wont matter, will it?


Yeah, I agree there are legit reasons to cancel scores and retake the test. However, if you can do it in one try that's ideal, because if you bomb you can explain away one test as a fluke like you said. You won't have that luxury if you don't do so great on the second time around, it will be that black mark you spend all this time trying to avoid. In a better safe than sorry mentality I'd only take it once and in the fall before you apply. From what I have heard, if you go through it twice your second score better be stellar.

bfollinprm
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:13 pm

midwestphysics wrote:From what I have heard, if you go through it twice your second score better be stellar.

False. I took it twice, and no one seemed to care. Half the schools admit before they even check with ETS to see how many times I've taken it; places that posted scores online only posted my best score. My second score wasn't even my best. I took it while I was in school then again just before I applied. I didn't have a any time to study, so I did pretty bad on it; but again, no one seemed to care.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby midwestphysics » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:15 pm

bfollinprm wrote:
midwestphysics wrote:From what I have heard, if you go through it twice your second score better be stellar.

False. I took it twice, and no one seemed to care. Half the schools admit before they even check with ETS to see how many times I've taken it; places that posted scores online only posted my best score.


Huh, well if that's true, I never had to look into it myself, it might not be a bad idea. This might be something admissionsprof would be better suited to answer, the confliction seems to dangerous to just take either of our words for it.

bigD3002
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby bigD3002 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:26 pm

This thread has slightly drifted away from my original intent, but for good reason. I have never heard that taking PGRE a second time was a good idea, quite the contrary from all my professors here at my home school. I also saw that the deadline for the April registration was March 3. So unless someone makes an exceptional point for me to take it next month and knows a way that I can still register, I will stick to practice test for the moment.

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sphy
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby sphy » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:57 pm

bigD3002 wrote:This thread has slightly drifted away from my original intent, but for good reason. I have never heard that taking PGRE a second time was a good idea, quite the contrary from all my professors here at my home school. I also saw that the deadline for the April registration was March 3. So unless someone makes an exceptional point for me to take it next month and knows a way that I can still register, I will stick to practice test for the moment.

As far as i know they, The Non-Profit Organization will charge you $25 extra, if you plan to take it on April.

bfollinprm
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby bfollinprm » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:12 pm

sphy wrote:
bigD3002 wrote:This thread has slightly drifted away from my original intent, but for good reason. I have never heard that taking PGRE a second time was a good idea, quite the contrary from all my professors here at my home school. I also saw that the deadline for the April registration was March 3. So unless someone makes an exceptional point for me to take it next month and knows a way that I can still register, I will stick to practice test for the moment.

As far as i know they, The Non-Profit Organization will charge you $25 extra, if you plan to take it on April.


Correct. For only giving them a month to put your name on the student roster, they charge you a $25 fee. Though since it costs them $150 to run a scan tron through a machine and pay a retired person 50 bucks to sit with you and 20 other people for 2 hours, I'm not surprised.

philipsteele
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby philipsteele » Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:07 am

hello Mr.bigD3002

your sounds like you didn't take any practice test yet..so it is hard to know abut your current level of standing...!!! :wink:

bigD3002
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Postby bigD3002 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:56 pm

philipsteele wrote:hello Mr.bigD3002

your sounds like you didn't take any practice test yet..so it is hard to know abut your current level of standing...!!! :wink:


Hey philipsteele. I had taken a practice test by that time and had gotten a 620. And after some research I decided that there is no reason to go for the 990 when I could prepare at a more sensible pace to go for ~850. I started with Young and Freedman's 12th edition in August and it has been a good review on the easy stuff. I am currently trying to finish it up quickly so I can begin practicing the more advanced subjects.

The studying consists of about a chapter a day, writing important equations/concepts on notecards to practice memorization, and about 10 problems that range in difficulty. I feel that although the difficult problems may not be on the test, understanding their solutions will help make the easier ones easier! (at least I feel that way)

I hope to take the recent practice test in the next couple weeks and afterwards I plan to study the 500 released questions in detail. This should help practice the pace I will need on the test. The strategy I was initially trying to come up with when I started this thread long ago was based lightly on Project Management skills. I thought that having a preconceived plan going into the study rather than a amorphous study base would be more efficient. It definitely helps to have already taken 3 of the 5 practice test so I can skim certain areas that seem unlikely to be tested.

Mohsin
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Re: Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Postby Mohsin » Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:13 am

I have to take PGRE in november. Last time I appeared in PGRE in april 2011. I got just 630 :oops: . I want to know is there any difference between november and april exam?




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