PGRE...I want opinions!!

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Weasel
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:47 am

PGRE...I want opinions!!

Postby Weasel » Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:28 am

I am not a physics major. I studied physics extensively in my spare time because it gave me a better understanding/good metaphors for some statistical work I have done. Also it is one of the only subjects where the objects studied remotely approach the same level of statistical complexity held in their respective symbolic terms (don't get me started on that). I wanted to see how much I know, so I took the practice PGRE that was available on the GRE web site and got a 900. I did it in the time allotted of 2 hours 50 minutes. Is the test posted on the site an easier test? :?:

Of course my hand was practically stuck around my pencil and my head hurt at the end of this test. It is intense!

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: PGRE...I want opinions!!

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:27 am

Weasel wrote:I am not a physics major. I studied physics extensively in my spare time because it gave me a better understanding/good metaphors for some statistical work I have done. Also it is one of the only subjects where the objects studied remotely approach the same level of statistical complexity held in their respective symbolic terms (don't get me started on that). I wanted to see how much I know, so I took the practice PGRE that was available on the GRE web site and got a 900. I did it in the time allotted of 2 hours 50 minutes. Is the test posted on the site an easier test? :?:

Of course my hand was practically stuck around my pencil and my head hurt at the end of this test. It is intense!


I think there's a modicum of truth to a statement vaguely like "The Physics GRE is biased against rigorous study of the subjects therein, and instead rewards basic understanding and a recent exposure to entry-level topics." I took the PGRE practice test my freshman year after taking Modern Physics (and Thermo), and scored better than I did my senior year. A thorough review of an intro physics text can really improve your score, enough that I'd say it's about 90 times more important than actually working through the upper-level courses required for a B.S in physics.

No, the posted test is not easier. The scores are standardized.

Weasel
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:47 am

Re: PGRE...I want opinions!!

Postby Weasel » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:09 pm

The test does require a substantial knowledge of physics, but it is really first year physics. I suppose one of the main purposes of the test is to help programs judge applicants from different undergrad schools. Some schools are simply more rigorous than others, and those people from more rigorous schools will likely do better on the test than people from schools with grade inflation.

That being said, I think that the main criterion for entrance into any grad program should be research prowess. The best evidence of potential contribution to the field are brilliant research ideas/papers published/important lab work. People should have a very good idea of what they want to contribute to the field before they enter it.




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