If you could go back....

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twistor
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If you could go back....

Postby twistor » Thu May 03, 2007 8:47 pm

Is there anything you wish you would have done differently (or anything you wish you would have done at all) to study for the GRE's?

What do you think could have boosted your score the most?

Is there anything you did that you thought helped the least or didn't help at all?

somebody
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Postby somebody » Thu May 03, 2007 8:56 pm

practice doing problems quickly, i only finished 59 questions and got a 660 so i think i could have done alot better if i was able to do the computations and stuff faster

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu May 03, 2007 8:58 pm

Any problems? Or specific kinds?

tnoviell
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Postby tnoviell » Fri May 04, 2007 10:10 am

I would've actually studied.

quantumc
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Postby quantumc » Sun May 06, 2007 2:24 pm

Concerning the Physics GRE, if I could go back, I would have dedicated the last 50 days before the test studying how to do the problems in the ETS Physics Test GR0177. Each day I would have studied relevant material related to those problems, studying how to do 2 problems each day for those 50 days, learning how to do them in many different ways, and learning the fastest way of doing them. That test (GR0177) is BY FAR the most similar to the actual test in style, and most of those problems are repeated in the actual test almost exactly, sometimes only varying in the numerical value of the parameters. Having done that, if I would have had extra time, I would have dedicated it to learning how to do the rest of the ETS facsimile problems, but learning tricks and shortcuts on how to do those problems FAST. Speed, shortcuts for calculating, basic principles, and tricks is what counts on the GRE Physics, period.

Quantumc

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Sun May 06, 2007 10:59 pm

quantumc:

Sounds like good advice, but how can you be so sure that the next test will be similar to that one? Don't they change it around? Is there less of an advantage studying the other tests?

seba240698
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Postby seba240698 » Mon May 07, 2007 11:42 am

Practise and prastise faster.

Time myself more strictly.

I used to time myself for the mock-up test and I always overshot the time, sometimes taking up 3.5 hrs per test.

Naturally I couldn't complete the whole test on April 14, I managed to do only 70 questions, and I am not certain that I answered all the 70 qns correctly, more like answered only 50 qns correctly.

So, if I can retake the test, I'll really practice to do the question as fast as possible, it is true what others have been saying, GRE is a test of speed, more than knowledge or skills.

quantumc
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Postby quantumc » Mon May 07, 2007 3:09 pm

Thank you twistor and seba240698 for supporting my advice on how to study for the GRE Physics test. I invested quite a long time gathering all kinds of tips, information, and advice from websites, professors, and excellent students that had previously taken the GRE Physics test. Though there are a great many ways to study for it, what I wrote above is what I would have done if I had to take it over again and if I only had 50 days to study for it. That, I find, would be the most efficient way of attacking it.

I see that seba240698 gave a complementary note to mine, emphasizing that : "it is true what others have been saying, GRE is a test of speed, more than knowledge or skills". And it's true the GRE Physics is about applying the basic principles of undergraduate physics, but FAST. For this, there is nothing better than practice and reviewing, and specially practicing under real-timed conditions to gain SPEED.

So, regarding twistors questions: yes, I can be sure that the next tests will be most similar to GR0177, since I took the GRE Physics twice, and friends that had taken it before, and others after I did, described that GR0177 was BY FAR the most similar in style to the actual test. It is a fact that the ETS test committee does not have great creativity and that they will recycle the problems from past ETS facsimiles. So, no, they don't "change it around". And yes, THERE IS less of an advantage studying the other tests (GR8677, GR9277, and GR9677), since those tests have practice problems that are not as similar to the practice problems in GR0177 compared to the actual test. In other words, I would first prioritize the practice and study of principles behind the problems of GR0177, then, if time permitted, I would go on to GR9677, then GR9277, and finally GR8677. Studying problems from other places is not a bad idea, but not the BEST way to practice. In other words, my advice shows how to OPTIMIZE that study and practice time under a limited time frame (around 2 months before the test). :wink:

This will definitely be my advice for my fellow buddies that must take the test soon and for those who will take it in the future. 8)

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Tue May 08, 2007 10:08 pm

quantumc:

I actually talked to someone else today who said that he took the physics GRE last November. He told me he didn't have enough to time to finish the whole thing. He also said that his friends took it and they compared recollections and said that it was pretty much the same for all of them, though they took it at different times.

BUT

I've heard rumors that the ETS is changing the format of the tests. Whether or not this is just for the general GRE or for the subject tests as well remains to be seen.

somebody
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Postby somebody » Wed May 09, 2007 12:25 am

they ARE changing the format of the general test, starting in august or september I think. i doubt they would do anything to change the physics subject test

quantumc
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Postby quantumc » Wed May 09, 2007 12:41 am

twistor:

I didn't have enough time to finish the test either actually. Nor has anybody who I know who has taken it. No one has time to finish it the whole way through. 1.7 minutes per question for 100 questions is bound to make anybodys head explode and never leave enough time to finish. The test is designed that way. It's basically a race against the clock. But this has become the standard device to measure everyone.

BUT, fortunately I am very happy with the results from the last time I took it. I got 78 percentile on the GRE Physics and recently got accepted into Yale and Texas A&M. I have decided for Texas A&M as I want to study quantum optics/quantum computation, was offered a TA by the Physics Department, and was granted a full scholarship. :D

Did you already take the test?

I have only read on the ETS website that the format for the General GRE will change this year, but I haven't heard anything about a change for the GRE Physics Test.

Quantumc

.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Wed May 09, 2007 3:51 pm

quantumc:

I haven't taken it yet.

Congratulations on your acceptances! My main goal is to get into University of Chicago (or Northwestern, 2nd choice). This is pretty much necessary because the other schools in my area are terrible for physics and I can't move because of my girlfriend.

I know there's no silver bullets as far as acceptances go, but anything I can do to improve my chances (including GRE scores) is worth the effort as far as I'm concerned.

schmit.paul
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Postby schmit.paul » Thu May 10, 2007 1:09 am

I'll post my study methodology as I approached the November exam last semester (i got a 96th percentile, American student at a state university). I began reviewing ETS problems the summer leading up to the test, but it was half-assed and not very vigorous. However, within 6 weeks of the exam I began perusing my undergraduate textbooks and compiling a list of "important" equations. I am also a stickler for knowing how things are derived (preferably quickly), and so I would think of problems or principles I haven't used in a long time when I would take showers, and if I couldn't derive them in my head I would immediately look up the derivation following the shower (works for me, may not work for everyone). Most importantly, I worked out all of the problems on two of the old test forms at my own pace, maybe 10-20 a day. 3 weekends before the exam and again the weekend before the exam, a couple friends and I came to campus and simulated a real exam with the two most recently released practice exams: 2h 50m, no water, food, bathroom breaks, and no noise (besides the buzz of a couple hotrod desktops in my friend's lab). Practicing the full length exam in a real exam environment develops the test-taking skills you need to apply on the day of the exam, the most important of which is learning how to identify problems that you should skip immediately and not wasting time on them. I was able to get through the whole exam on test day, I skipped about 14 problems, and I had enough time to come back and answer 5 of the more difficult questions before the time was up. So I managed to get 91 questions answered (I had consistently scored about 89th percentile on the practice exams). I really endorse utilizing the two most recent practice exams in a completely 1:1 manner compared with the actual test. Answering those problems at a leizurely pace under no pressure is not a good way to get ready for the stress of test day. When I took the practice exams I had the mindset that it was the actual test (having a couple friends there doing the same thing can at least get you in the competitive mindset, anything to get you to use the proper tactics to get the best score possible).

And when you generate that big sheet of important equations, memorize them. I love derivations because they enhance my understanding exponentially, but if you have to derive everything on test day you're not going to do well (and you probably have not had enough homework as an undergrad).

Good luck to anyone still awaiting their "day of reckoning"

larry burns
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Re:

Postby larry burns » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:01 pm

quantumc wrote:
So, regarding twistors questions: yes, I can be sure that the next tests will be most similar to GR0177, since I took the GRE Physics twice, and friends that had taken it before, and others after I did, described that GR0177 was BY FAR the most similar in style to the actual test. It is a fact that the ETS test committee does not have great creativity and that they will recycle the problems from past ETS facsimiles. So, no, they don't "change it around". And yes, THERE IS less of an advantage studying the other tests (GR8677, GR9277, and GR9677), since those tests have practice problems that are not as similar to the practice problems in GR0177 compared to the actual test


would you guys agree that this is still true as this post was made 3 years ago?

geshi
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Re: Re:

Postby geshi » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:56 pm

larry burns wrote:
quantumc wrote:
So, regarding twistors questions: yes, I can be sure that the next tests will be most similar to GR0177, since I took the GRE Physics twice, and friends that had taken it before, and others after I did, described that GR0177 was BY FAR the most similar in style to the actual test. It is a fact that the ETS test committee does not have great creativity and that they will recycle the problems from past ETS facsimiles. So, no, they don't "change it around". And yes, THERE IS less of an advantage studying the other tests (GR8677, GR9277, and GR9677), since those tests have practice problems that are not as similar to the practice problems in GR0177 compared to the actual test


would you guys agree that this is still true as this post was made 3 years ago?


I wouldn't say so entirely. I've taken the exam 3 times in the last 2 years. It's still similar to GR0177, but I think it's transitioning away from that exam. Out of the 4 published exams, definitely the GR0177 is the most relevant. One example is they stopped using positronium (booo!) on the recent exams. At least it wasn't on any of the 3 exams I took. Very disappointing as it's basically a freebie for anyone who knows how to do it (it's VERY simple).

larry burns
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Re: If you could go back....

Postby larry burns » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:35 am

is it possible to score 800+ by studying ONLY the practice PGREs, especially the 0177? I'm short on time here for the Nov test to review everything I learned in upper and lower div to review everything. I've started studying a month ago and score a 690 on the practice 0177 I just took after 2 weeks of studying

geshi
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Re: If you could go back....

Postby geshi » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:24 pm

larry burns wrote:is it possible to score 800+ by studying ONLY the practice PGREs, especially the 0177? I'm short on time here for the Nov test to review everything I learned in upper and lower div to review everything. I've started studying a month ago and score a 690 on the practice 0177 I just took after 2 weeks of studying


Maybe. If you're ONLY studying the practice PGREs, then you'll have to rely more on what you've learned (and remember) during your undergrad career. It'll most likely depend on how much you know already know without having to really refresh your memory (via outside sources).

kroner
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Re: If you could go back....

Postby kroner » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:51 am

Yeah I agree it completely depends on how solid your physics is right now. That said, I think the practice tests are absolutely the most important resource for guiding what topics you need to study. In addition, improving your speed is nearly as important as learning the physics, and that will probably come mostly from doing practice tests.




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