Any tips on this?
Background: I'm currently an engineer with a master's in physics and I want to go back and get a PhD. I'm hoping to get at least a 900 for a decent chance at getting into a good school considering my background (some mediocre UG grades).
I've taken the PGRE 3 times now. The first time, in September, I just studied conquering the physics gre and looked at the 2008 test and got a 680. The second time, I studied more seriously, making flash cards for trivia, doing all the tests in CTPGRE and the tests from 85, 01, and 08. My scores were all in the 920-950 range and I got an 850 on the actual test. Getting closer. So I decided to try once more in April. I got the schaum's book for practice and used the large freshman physics tomes for trivia and stuff outside the four core undergrad areas. But I only got 770, worse than last time despite getting 950, 990, 990 when I reused the practice tests (pretty sure it wasn't due to remembering the questions, my memory is not that amazing.)
I just don't get why I do so much worse on the real test than on practice tests, I take them under real test conditions. Maybe it's just me, but the most recent tests seem harder than the 2001 or 2008 ones, and they seem rather tonally dissimilar. I'm not sure whether those tests were much easier than average (possible), or whether the scale has changed due to the availability of more resources for studying (e.g. the 50th percentile raw score is closer to 55-60 than 44 like on the 08 test, putting 990 at 95-96) or whether I simply make that many calculational errors. Im not sure what else I can do to study at this point.