difficulty levels of the exams?

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gliese876d
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difficulty levels of the exams?

Postby gliese876d » Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:56 pm

Has anyone else heard that the difficulty levels of the physics gre go on a 3 year cycle so that every three years is a hard exam? I'm just a little frightened by that prospect, because I'm assuming the practice exams are numbered with the first two numbers being the year, and I just took the first half of the 9677 and it was pretty brutal. That would mean that this year would be another pretty brutal one if the 3 year cycle is true. I know they supposedly score it easier when it's hard, but that's not what my primary concern is. Being prone to major test anxiety, I am afraid I'll start taking a really hard exam and start panicking and not be able to function. I doubt I'm going to do better than the 700's based on my practice exam scores, so for me, I think it would be better to have an easier exam that's graded harder, because at least then I could keep my focus...

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Helio
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Re: difficulty levels of the exams?

Postby Helio » Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:08 pm

9677 is brutal no question about that just look at the curve.. 68 is 990 and 9277 is not much better 76 is 990, there were 4 years between the tests so you throw your theory out the window. I know the guy who is the chairman of the GRE physics board, he is my academic advisor and professor the 3 semester intro series. he says that they are making the tests easier, whatever that might mean.

your application is more than the GRE, so if you screw up... go to a lower ranked school... pull out a 4.0 in your grad classes and be happy camper and go somewhere else.

and than there is always the god old CURVE

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gliese876d
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Re: difficulty levels of the exams?

Postby gliese876d » Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:48 pm

Thanks; I'm just so stressing myself out about this GRE. I know I'm going to get good letters of recommendation; I have research experience and ok grades. Plus I'm not aiming at the stars--I'd like to get into a decent grad school but I know I'm not really a candidate for the most competitive institutions. But does anyone else think, too, that it's ridiculous that you can't take the physics GRE in the summer when you don't have classes and midterms and what not distracting you from last-minute cramming in these remaining 6 1/2 days?

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Helio
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Re: difficulty levels of the exams?

Postby Helio » Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:56 pm

I think anybody will agree with you that three tests dates and the time of those tests is utterly ridiculous. one of things that makes ETS so extremely popular.

earlier dates would help plan what schools to apply to, etc.

your word in gods ear.

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quizivex
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Re: difficulty levels of the exams?

Postby quizivex » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:55 am

gliese876d wrote:Has anyone else heard that the difficulty levels of the physics gre go on a 3 year cycle so that every three years is a hard exam?

Hahahah oh geez. I'd love to learn where such a random myth came from.

Helio wrote:he says that they are making the tests easier, whatever that might mean.

Yeah who knows what that means... easier problems? or more generous score scaling? lol. I had similar concerns of the difficulty of the tests and scaling etc... Nobody I knew was taking it in October, and nor did most users on the forum, so I thought maybe only the strongest and most prepared students would try taking it in October, and that I'd therefore get a lower score than if I took it in November. Haha talk about being paranoid. But someone here pointed out that ETS's info packet says they use mysterious "statistical methods" to make sure your scaled score is determined entirely by your performance on the test, not on the difficulty of your particular version, or the sample of students who took it the day you did.

So I have two words of advice... firstly, try not to worry about the test difficulty because it is the same for everyone... and secondly, make sure you are strategically prepared for both an easy and a hard test... meaning that you'd be able to skip problems judiciously in a hard test so that you could get to problem 100, and that you double check your computations in an easy test.

Helio wrote:I think anybody will agree with you that three tests dates and the time of those tests is utterly ridiculous. one of things that makes ETS so extremely popular.

Yeah, I totally agree. Nobody here knows why ETS offers such inconvenient test dates, but I certainly know the situation is way better than it was in previous years, when the only fall test dates were in November and December!! The December test was virtually useless, so everyone had to take their test in November and while the scores were received by all the schools just barely in time for the applications, students did not get their scores in time to help them decide where to apply.

I was so thankful that they changed the dates the year I applied. I had the peace of mind that if I couldn't function during the October test or felt I bombed it, I could retake it in November. I was also able to blow off my fall semester classes until I took the test on 10/6, and catch up on them afterward. I couldn't have blown them off for two whole months if I had to take it in November. I also got my scores by phone more than a month before apps were due, which was so helpful! If I couldn't hear my score until December like the students from 2007 and before, I would've probably applied to 10 or so schools. But thanks to the new October test date, I heard it on November 3rd, and I crossed all the safety schools off my list :D .

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Helio
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Re: difficulty levels of the exams?

Postby Helio » Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:11 am

quizivex wrote:Yeah who knows what that means... easier problems? or more generous score scaling? lol. I had similar concerns of the difficulty of the tests and scaling etc... Nobody I knew was taking it in October, and nor did most users on the forum, so I thought maybe only the strongest and most prepared students would try taking it in October, and that I'd therefore get a lower score than if I took it in November. Haha talk about being paranoid. But someone here pointed out that ETS's info packet says they use mysterious "statistical methods" to make sure your scaled score is determined entirely by your performance on the test, not on the difficulty of your particular version, or the sample of students who took it the day you did.

So I have two words of advice... firstly, try not to worry about the test difficulty because it is the same for everyone... and secondly, make sure you are strategically prepared for both an easy and a hard test... meaning that you'd be able to skip problems judiciously in a hard test so that you could get to problem 100, and that you double check your computations in an easy test.


Basically what he said what happened before was that nobody really controlled these questions.. some people went beserk so that only the select few could answer them. he gave the examples that in case a board member need more than 30 seconds or a book to answer the question it would not be put on the test. so only question that the board members know and that are reasonable to answer are now going onto the test

he said they have 7k questions to choose from.... what an utter joy...

*** week left... i think i will fail this one... i just feel it... after getting the shaft for stupidity on my QM exam

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gliese876d
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Re: difficulty levels of the exams?

Postby gliese876d » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:27 pm

Helio,
Don't feel bad about your QM exam. I'm sorta in the same boat, as in my QM midterm was originally scheduled for Oct 20, two days after the GRE! I somehow managed to convince the prof to delay it til that wednesday, the 22nd. But still, it's going to be hard to prepare for it being so close to the GRE. I have been pushing classes to the backburner while I prepare for the GRE, but that basically means I'll have to do last-minute cramming for my QM midterm after the GRE's done, so I'm not thinking I'll do that spectacularly on the QM exam. As for the GRE, I've been taking the practice exams available on the OSU site, and then going over the solutions afterwards on GREPhysics.net, plus memorizing a bunch of stuff on flashcards, still I feel it's not enough... But I guess all I can do is my best... I think the worst part will be the not-knowing my score until a month and a half later! I wish they would just take your answer sheet and give you the option to wait a few minutes while they run it through a scantron on the spot, and give you a "preliminary" or "unofficial" score, so you'd at least know what ballpark you're in...

casaubon
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Re: difficulty levels of the exams?

Postby casaubon » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:39 pm

yeah, do we really not find out our october score until late november? (ets website says november 26) quizivex seems to indicate he got his score in early november.

knowing how i did would be useful, but by no means necessary, for gauging where i have good shot at getting in.

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gliese876d
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Re: difficulty levels of the exams?

Postby gliese876d » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:58 pm

well quizivex also said he took the GRE on Oct 6, so that's 2 weeks before it's scheduled this year. Thus it would make sense if he got his scores two weeks before we'll get ours. Here's the dates for this year according to the OSU site: http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/undergrad/ugs_gre.php

It's too bad they didn't have a date for early October this year, because then I'm wagering it would have interfered less with midterm time for everyone. But I didn't want to wait til the November date because then you don't know your score til mid December, and at that point, considering most institutions have a Jan or Feb deadline for applying, you have to take whatever score you get, I suppose. Of course now that I'm looking at those dates again, it seems that even for the October date you still are stuck with what you get, because the deadline to register for the November date is already past (unless they make exceptions if you're retaking it?). In any case, I wanted to know how I did well in advance of sending in applications so that I could decide which schools I'd be more likely to have a good shot of getting into; thus the October date in the middle of midterm season...

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Helio
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Re: difficulty levels of the exams?

Postby Helio » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:24 pm

gliese876d wrote:Helio,
Don't feel bad about your QM exam. I'm sorta in the same boat, as in my QM midterm was originally scheduled for Oct 20, two days after the GRE! I somehow managed to convince the prof to delay it til that wednesday, the 22nd. But still, it's going to be hard to prepare for it being so close to the GRE. I have been pushing classes to the backburner while I prepare for the GRE, but that basically means I'll have to do last-minute cramming for my QM midterm after the GRE's done, so I'm not thinking I'll do that spectacularly on the QM exam. As for the GRE, I've been taking the practice exams available on the OSU site, and then going over the solutions afterwards on GREPhysics.net, plus memorizing a bunch of stuff on flashcards, still I feel it's not enough... But I guess all I can do is my best... I think the worst part will be the not-knowing my score until a month and a half later! I wish they would just take your answer sheet and give you the option to wait a few minutes while they run it through a scantron on the spot, and give you a "preliminary" or "unofficial" score, so you'd at least know what ballpark you're in...


I am more pissed at myself about the mistakes I did. I forgot a coefficient, which made all my answers wrong on one of the question and I solved on one of the problems in 3D rather than 2D.

Just shows the stupid mistakes I do, and those are the ones I can't make on the GRE.

gliese876d wrote:well quizivex also said he took the GRE on Oct 6, so that's 2 weeks before it's scheduled this year. Thus it would make sense if he got his scores two weeks before we'll get ours. Here's the dates for this year according to the OSU site: http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/undergrad/ugs_gre.php

It's too bad they didn't have a date for early October this year, because then I'm wagering it would have interfered less with midterm time for everyone. But I didn't want to wait til the November date because then you don't know your score til mid December, and at that point, considering most institutions have a Jan or Feb deadline for applying, you have to take whatever score you get, I suppose. Of course now that I'm looking at those dates again, it seems that even for the October date you still are stuck with what you get, because the deadline to register for the November date is already past (unless they make exceptions if you're retaking it?). In any case, I wanted to know how I did well in advance of sending in applications so that I could decide which schools I'd be more likely to have a good shot of getting into; thus the October date in the middle of midterm season...


He phoned them... You can get the score a month after the test if you call them and pay 12 bucks...

About studying.... i dunno what you prefer examples or concepts. i prefer examples (one reason QM is a big ? for me at the moment) and am using the Schaum's 3000... some of the questions actually are the same and even found a question from one of my brutal EM II midterms on there




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