The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

99percent
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The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby 99percent » Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:37 am

Hi all,

I am going to take the Physics GRE on Nov 8. I had not started preparing for this exam until about a week back, when i took the 86 exam under test taking conditions. I got a slap on my face when I was only able to get 590 in that test. After my devastating performance in that test. I revised all my fundamental physics concepts by reviewing Fundamentals of physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker. Yesterday, I took the 92 exam under test taking conditions and was able to score 880. An increase of a whopping 300 points. I am not even satisfied with this, I want to increase my score further. So, I will be reviewing all the concepts again. Especially the ones that i got wrong in the 92 test. I will be taking the 96 test tonight. Will keep you all updated with my performance in this test too.

The key to success in Physics GRE - Fundamentals of physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker

Try to memorize (or understand) all the equations and definitions that are given in the shaded boxes within the text and the chapter review and summary. It has helped me increase my score by 300 points in just about a week..!! (Provided you had understood Physics well in your high school days)

I am hoping to get somewhere around 90-95 percentile in the Nov 8.

P.S.
I was weak in the electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, rotational and fluid mechanics, and special relativity.
Halliday Resnick Walker is a good resource for these topics. I am pretty good at Quantum Mechanics, Optics, and classical mechanics. So, did not have to review them much. For classical mechanics and optics, I think Halliday Resnick Walker is a good resource + your college notes. For Quantum mechanics, you just need the fundamentals. So, a book like Cohen Tannoudji or JJ Sakurai will do, but read only the first few chapters - upto perturbation theory.

I am skipping the specialized topics that primarily include - experimental methods, mathematical methods, nuclear physics, and condensed matter physics. I am answering these questions on my instincts - whatever I can remember from my Physics classes in high school and college.

-99 Percent

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secander2!
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby secander2! » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:04 am

:shock: THREE HUNDRED POINTS IN A WEEK!!! I am super jealous! Good luck on the 8th though, although I'm pretty sure that 'luck' isn't something you really need much of :D

rohit
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby rohit » Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:12 am

Good to see there's someone else like me - i started preparing 2 weeks back. :( I have gone thru all my college textbooks, not used a single reference - kleppner, griffiths , i still hafta do optics , thermo/stat and modern physics. I havent taken the practice tests yet - not sure i want too :?
maybe on the 7th ...

99percent
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby 99percent » Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:36 am

Hey Rohit...

I would recommend taking the official tests and using them to identify the areas you need to work on. I believe that 2 weeks is enough time to prepare for this exam, provided you have done well in your college and high school physics.

I am also from India and considering the level of undergraduate physics education in India, Physics GRE should be a piece of cake..!! You can easily compare it to IITJEE, which we take when we pass out of high school. Most of the questions in GRE physics are of JEE level. If you have just the required amount of knowledge in advanced topics like, quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics, GRE physics would appear to be fairly simple.

My recommendation - Don't keep the official tests for the last day. Take them at equal interval of times and use them as a base of your preparation of the test.

- 99 Percent

gjoshi81
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby gjoshi81 » Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:35 pm

Hi, I am a prospective Astronony PhD student at Rice University in Houston, TX, US. I do not have prior background in Physics except that I graduated as a Marine Engineer in 2002 from an Indian university. Following that I studied MBA in US and worked on wallstreet for 2 years. I am new to Physics, and would really appreciate if someone could advice me on what Junior/Sophomore level pre-requisites do I need to take to ace my Physics GRE.

- Gaurav

dmahler
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby dmahler » Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:00 pm

To Rohit: I agree with 99Percent, taking the practise tests the day before the exam is not a good idea. You should try and take at least one today or tomorrow. If you do poorly on the test the day before the real exam its just gonna stress you out, rather than really helping whereas if you take the test early it leaves time to cover things you have done wrong.
To 99Percent: One tip: Don't skip nuclear altogether. Although you don't need a thorough understanding, I would at least go over the fundamental particles and some of their properties, unless you are already comfortable with all that stuff. But going by your score of 880, you're doing fine. Just keep on practicing, and good luck all of you!
dm

YF17A
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby YF17A » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:25 am

I completely agree. I took the Octobeer test, and 80% of the test was Halliday and Resnick. Don't underestimate the value of knowing random bits of knowledge, though...knowing the name of some solid-state lattice or of some elementary particle could mean FREE points in seconds. Best of luck to everyone taking the test on Saturday!

cato88
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby cato88 » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:30 am

That sounds like ETS, 80% basic questions and 10% random fact questions to create a curve. Its how standardized tests seem to work.

99percent
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby 99percent » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:56 am

dmahler: Thanks for the tip! I am not skipping the topics like nuclear and particle physics, condensed matter physics - I am just not giving them utmost importance like i am giving to other mainframe topics.

I just took the 9677 Test - It was a really difficult test. My raw score is 52.75, which converts to 870. This test actually gave me an insight on what i need to do in the remaining two days - memorize some formulae and learn some facts.

I also observed one thing this time - while I was half way to the test, I started feeling very much tired. I even thought about quitting at one time - cos I had a feeling that I am gonna do badly in this one. Earlier I used to get this feeling at the end of the test, when I was doing some question in the late 80's. I just don't think that this a bad sign!

Can anyone please recommend me some relaxing techniques to be used while in the test? It would be of great help.

I agree with YF17A and cato88. Just remembering random facts makes up 10% of the GRE physics questions and the rest is primarily Halliday-Resnick-Walker.

Just two days remaining - I'm getting tensed like hell..!! :oops: :cry: :oops:

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby coreycwgriffin » Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:34 am

I too just started my prep within the last week for the test Saturday. My method of preparation has been just going through the practice exams, and if I didn't know how to do it, look at the solution online (grephysics.net), and then make a flash card, looking up ideas I really had trouble remembering in Moore's Six Ideas, Taylor and Zafiratos, Thornton and Marion, Griffiths, and Sakurai. I opted not to take a practice test under test conditions because I can never bring myself to focus as if it's an actual exam (plus, the only place I have some semblance of privacy is in the physics department, and when I'm up there all the kids in intro physics keep asking me questions -- if only the GRE was only trig functions and free body diagrams!).

Hopefully this'll work...although I'm a bit nervous. I'll probably flip through Halliday and Resnick tomorrow after reading this thread if I can find a copy floating around in the department.

99percent
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby 99percent » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:07 am

Hi all,

So tomorrow is the D-day..!!

I am spending my last day leisurely. Not looking much at the notes, books, and problems. I want to relax my brain before the big day tomorrow.

I took the 0177 exam yesterday night and scored 940 in that. I could see one thing, that exam was filled with Quantum Mechanics and relativity. Also, I saw many of the questions in the 2001 exam are very much similar to the questions asked in previous versions (86, 92, 96)..!! I believe there is a set pattern of the questions occurring in Physics GRE, if someone can find it. The questions in the released GRE exams are pretty much similar. I am quoting some examples here...

GR9677 Question # 38 is very much similar to GR0177 Question # 32 and 79
GR9677 Question # 9 is very much similar to GR0177 Question # 21
GR9277 Question # 13 is very much similar to GR0177 Question # 41
GR9677 Question # 58 is very much similar to GR9277 Question # 22
GR9277 Question # 28 is very much similar to GR0177 Question # 28 and 29
GR9677 Question # 38 is very much similar to GR0177 Question # 32


If you take all the four tests, then you will be able to find much more similarities and this is what we need to capitalize on when the content of a test is so huge as in the case of Physics GRE.

I would like to add one more thing. I was going through this book - 3000 Solved problems in physics by Alvin Halpern. It also seems to be a nice resource when you are preparing for the GRE. I am loving reading the questions from it on the day before the test... :D

Will keep you all posted on how the exam went by...
All the best to everyone else who is taking tomorrow's exam..!!

- 99 Percent

rohit
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby rohit » Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:01 pm

Thanx for the advice people , but , i couldnt bring myself to try a practice test without goin thru the syllabus at least once ! I took 8677 today under pseudo-test conditions and got around 850. Lets see tomorrow. Now i'm tryin to put myself to sleep - i dont sleep till 2 am usually :) All de best to All !

scallions
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby scallions » Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:34 pm

Great advice - I'm currently rewriting all the formulas from HRW in hopes they'll stick in my brain enough for tomorrow. I'm lousy at memorizing so here's hoping!

20 hours from now we can relax :D

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby coreycwgriffin » Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:48 pm

scallions wrote:20 hours from now we can relax :D


Maybe you can. I'll be chewing my nails until I get the score report, hah.

scallions
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby scallions » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:08 pm

Yeah but chewing my nails won't change how I did!

...or if so, I think you need to teach me how to grow magic nails

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby coreycwgriffin » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:42 pm

Well, I guess I always knew I was going to do kinda poorly...I mean, even my professors said I probably will do poorly. I go to a fancy private liberal arts college in upstate New York. There are only two physics majors in my soon-to-be-graduating class. We're forced to take other courses in history and writing and humanities and so on, so we don't have the sort of full time physics learnin' that people at other schools might get, and so my GRE grade will suffer.

But, I've worked with many of the faculty members one-on-one doing projects, including my senior research which, final results pending, is publishable. Plus I feel like I do know quite a bit, especially being a TA for so long, and I love research and stuff.

Still, though, I'm going to be pretty anxious for the next...oh, say until March or April when I get all my acceptance letters (hopefully).

scallions
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby scallions » Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:00 pm

I knew I was going to do poorly because I'm just not the greatest test taker when it comes to these sort of things, and I know my course work and rest of my application is going to paint a very different picture than getting a 500-600something on this tomorrow. It sounds like you're in basically the same boat as I am, so here's hoping for the both of us!

Currently on Chapter 28 of HRW, more than halfway there and then I am DONE studying. What more can I do at this point?

Deep breath, deep breath, we'll just take tomorrow as it comes and celebrate later (or in my case, get back to QM homework eheheh)

duck85
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby duck85 » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:20 am

hey, i guess i am on the same boat as the last two posts, my highest score has been like 630 or something, and i have studied for two weeks, so kudos to all you guys who managed to boost up 300 points in 1 or 2 weeks time. I am definitely envious. Plus, i got really sick halfway through this week and it's affecting my will and stamina for last minute formula cramming (which i am usually quite good at). The fact that i learned today that you can reinstate your scores after cancelling them has given me a bit of peace to sleep on. Good luck to everyone tommorrow.

theGREguy
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby theGREguy » Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:07 pm

i also took the physics GRE, that fundamentals of physics book help alot!! memorize it!! but forget about the specialized topics..there is really almost nothing on that
but for the general test try this site they have awesome and cheap materials.. http://www.graduatetestprep.com
they have an accurate adaptive test which actually surprisingly gives you a very accurate score to your abilities.

let me know if i can be of any other assistance to you guys..

lallooprasad
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby lallooprasad » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:22 pm

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Last edited by lallooprasad on Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

Laleh
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby Laleh » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:07 am

I am planning on taking the PGRE in April. My knowledge is a bit outdated so I'm giving myself plenty of time to prepare. I gather that the Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday... is a great source. If so, which edition/version should I get (there are quite a few available). Also beside the Ohio State University's sample tests, where can I get sample tests? Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Laleh

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby coreycwgriffin » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:16 am

Laleh wrote:I am planning on taking the PGRE in April. My knowledge is a bit outdated so I'm giving myself plenty of time to prepare. I gather that the Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday... is a great source. If so, which edition/version should I get (there are quite a few available). Also beside the Ohio State University's sample tests, where can I get sample tests? Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Laleh


The four previous exams on that site are the only ones out there. Other than practicing on those, you can do the homework problems of your favorite university physics text, or buy a book of problems, but those are the only four that show you exactly the type of problems that will appear on the exam.

Laleh
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby Laleh » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:43 pm

coreycwgriffin wrote:
Laleh wrote:I am planning on taking the PGRE in April. My knowledge is a bit outdated so I'm giving myself plenty of time to prepare. I gather that the Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday... is a great source. If so, which edition/version should I get (there are quite a few available). Also beside the Ohio State University's sample tests, where can I get sample tests? Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Laleh


The four previous exams on that site are the only ones out there. Other than practicing on those, you can do the homework problems of your favorite university physics text, or buy a book of problems, but those are the only four that show you exactly the type of problems that will appear on the exam.


Thanks! What about the study book? Is The Fundamentals of Physics a good source ? and if so, which version/edition do you think would be the best?
Thanks,
Laleh

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby coreycwgriffin » Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:43 pm

Laleh wrote:
coreycwgriffin wrote:
Laleh wrote:I am planning on taking the PGRE in April. My knowledge is a bit outdated so I'm giving myself plenty of time to prepare. I gather that the Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday... is a great source. If so, which edition/version should I get (there are quite a few available). Also beside the Ohio State University's sample tests, where can I get sample tests? Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Laleh


The four previous exams on that site are the only ones out there. Other than practicing on those, you can do the homework problems of your favorite university physics text, or buy a book of problems, but those are the only four that show you exactly the type of problems that will appear on the exam.


Thanks! What about the study book? Is The Fundamentals of Physics a good source ? and if so, which version/edition do you think would be the best?
Thanks,
Laleh


I bought a cheap used copy of an old edition of Sears and Zemansky's (now Young and Freedman's) University Physics text off of Amazon for about $25, and that has some great practice problems that I assume any university physics text would have. But books like "3000 Solved Physics Problems" from the Schaum's people would also be good for practice. Basically, and practice problem you can get your hands on would be a perfect way to prepare. All of your old textbooks that I'm sure you didn't sell, hah.

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minaesm
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby minaesm » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:57 am

99percent wrote:
The key to success in Physics GRE - Fundamentals of physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker

Try to memorize (or understand) all the equations and definitions that are given in the shaded boxes within the text and the chapter review and summary. It has helped me increase my score by 300 points in just about a week..!! (Provided you had understood Physics well in your high school days)


-99 Percent

do u try to solve the problems also ? i wonder which chapters did you read , i have just 1 month and a half to pgre and i cant spend all this time preparing for the test , cos i'm working on my thesis . what do you recommend me to read , igot the 4 actual tests and got all the answers from grephysics.net to check mine . and also i got a printable version of the book hrw . but i dont know how to start and when to start , any kind of help is appreciated to show me the way

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Helio
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Re: The key to sucess on Physics GRE...

Postby Helio » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:30 pm

minaesm wrote:
99percent wrote:
The key to success in Physics GRE - Fundamentals of physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker

Try to memorize (or understand) all the equations and definitions that are given in the shaded boxes within the text and the chapter review and summary. It has helped me increase my score by 300 points in just about a week..!! (Provided you had understood Physics well in your high school days)


-99 Percent

do u try to solve the problems also ? i wonder which chapters did you read , i have just 1 month and a half to pgre and i cant spend all this time preparing for the test , cos i'm working on my thesis . what do you recommend me to read , igot the 4 actual tests and got all the answers from grephysics.net to check mine . and also i got a printable version of the book hrw . but i dont know how to start and when to start , any kind of help is appreciated to show me the way


actually... how about you start with chapter 1 and move on from there. he said nothing about doing the problems, just memorizing formulas. and 1.5 months to get through HRW is not much, so you should have started yesterday




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