REA purple book

AriAstronomer
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 4:53 pm

REA purple book

Postby AriAstronomer » Tue May 31, 2011 4:20 am

What do people think about the REA purple book? I've been using it mainly because it comes with 4 practice tests, and I hear that the questions in this book are supposed to be harder than the actual questions on the gre. Thus if you can master this book you should be good to go? Would people think this is a poor strategy, and it's better to practice questions of similar difficulty? Are there practice gre tests I can be referred to (or is it in that sticky at the top of this page)?

Ari

P.S. Do we get a calculator on this test?

physicsworks
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:00 am

Re: REA purple book

Postby physicsworks » Tue May 31, 2011 8:38 am

I would recommend not to spend too much time solving problems from this book. Most of them do not reflect real test problems (they are too "heavy" and usually require a calculator --- remember, you are not allowed to use a calculator on the test!). However, there are some problems of interest. And I believe there is a topic on this forum where you can find a list of all useful problems from this book.

AriAstronomer
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: REA purple book

Postby AriAstronomer » Tue May 31, 2011 8:45 am

Ahhh, yeah I found the list. Thanks alot for the reccomendation. So now that I've learned my book is essentially garbage, is there another book I could go for, or I guess enough practice tests that I don't need to get a new book perhaps?

Thanks a bunch!

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

Re: REA purple book

Postby bfollinprm » Tue May 31, 2011 9:36 am

AriAstronomer wrote:What do people think about the REA purple book?


That book is awful. If you want good practice, I'd recommend 3000 Solved Problems in Physics (with the corresponding 2000 solved problems in XYZ, where XYZ is the set of subjects you have the most problems with).

Found here:
http://www.amazon.com/000-Solved-Problems-Physics-Schaums/dp/0070257345/ref=pd_sim_b_3

This is a ton of problems, so combined with the 4 practice tests it's enough. It starts super easy, but ramps up at a good rate (and makes sure there are no holes, so do them all, even when they're really simple). Expect to mortgage about 400 hours doing this (a full time summer job), but I know people who have improved from the 600's to the 900's as a result.

physicsworks
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:00 am

Re: REA purple book

Postby physicsworks » Tue May 31, 2011 9:49 am

Well, here is a simple strategy. In real conditions try to solve 3 out of 4 available tests (leave the GR0177 test since it is the most similar to the current). Then look carefully at each problem and solution and find you weaknesses, review these topics using your undergraduate lecture notes/textbooks/"Schaum's outline of theory and problems of physics"/similar "summarizing" books. Next, solve the final official test. You will see your approximate score. I think this strategy can give you up to 850-900 points. You want something higher? That's another story...

AriAstronomer
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: REA purple book

Postby AriAstronomer » Tue May 31, 2011 10:06 am

Thanks alot guys for the help, you've put me in the right direction, and I guess none too soon, looks like you need about 4 months of prep for this.

Ari

rizkibizniz
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:11 am

Re: REA purple book

Postby rizkibizniz » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:21 am

physicsworks wrote:Well, here is a simple strategy. In real conditions try to solve 3 out of 4 available tests (leave the GR0177 test since it is the most similar to the current). Then look carefully at each problem and solution and find you weaknesses, review these topics using your undergraduate lecture notes/textbooks/"Schaum's outline of theory and problems of physics"/similar "summarizing" books. Next, solve the final official test. You will see your approximate score. I think this strategy can give you up to 850-900 points. You want something higher? That's another story...

I want something higher. what's your strategy? :)

Rizki

physicsworks
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:00 am

Re: REA purple book

Postby physicsworks » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:30 am

rizkibizniz wrote:I want something higher. what's your strategy? :)
First of all, there is a new official test available: GR0877. I typed my own solutions to this test and you can find them here or here.

I think to get a score higher than 900 you should master something more challenged than problems from officially released tests. The idea is simple: if you are able to solve more advanced problems, you will solve easier problems more quickly and less painfully. A good place to look for such problems is Griffiths' three Intro's books. There is a big question of what to study (solely for the PGRE, if you want to be a physicist you should master all three books) and what to skip from these three outstanding textbooks. My own view of this is the following:

    Introduction to electrodynamics
1. Vector analysis. I assume you are familiar with all concepts from this chapter. For the PGRE you should be familiar with almost all, excluding, maybe, the Dirac delta function. I doubt there is much benefit (for the PGRE preparation) from solving each problem of this chapter. Just list them and make sure you know how to do this.
2. Electrostatics. This is the basics. Master all the problems excluding too "heavy" with lots of math.
3. Special techniques. Master sections 3.1 and 3.2 entirely, skip section 3.3, from 3.4 master subsection 3.4.4. Do not solve problems with "!" sign (this applies to all chapters in this book), Prob. 3.4, 3.5, 3.7 and all problems after the chapter that correspond to the skipped sections.
4. Electric field in matter. Pay attention to 4.3.1, 4.3.3, 4.4.1 and problems for this subsections. The rest of this chapter can be skipped entirely.
5. Magnetostatic. Master all but section 5.4. Do not skip magnetostatic boundary conditions.
6. Magnetic fields in matter. Easy reading. May be skipped entirely.
7. Electrodynamics. Read all. Solve all but not too "heavy" problems.
8. Conservation laws. If you are familiar with continuity equation that's all you need from this chapter for the PGRE prep.
9. Electromagnetic waves. Understand the basics, skip 9.4 and 9.5, from 9.3 read "Reflection and transmission at normal incidence".
10. Potentials and fields. Browse through the section 10.1 quickly and forget about the rest of the material in this chapter.
11. Radiation. Do you know the Larmor formula? If no, read equation 11.70 and skip all the rest.
12. Electrodynamics and relativity. This is the best preparation for the special relativity on the PGRE. Master all from this chapter excluding field tensor section.

    Introduction to quantum mechanics
Master chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5. Skip the analytical method in 2.3, do not even think about spherical harmonics from chapter 4 and skip all "heavy" problems as always. From chapter 6 read subsections 6.1.1 and 6.1.2 and solve the problems.

    Introduction to elementary particles
Read and understand chapters 1 and 2. Pay attention to problem 2.7. Chapter 3 can also be helpful.

P.S.
Of course, all depends on your skills. If you're strong in particular chapters, you can skip them. Furthermore, if a problem in question is really hard and has nothing to do with the PGRE at all, just skip it.




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