More valuable: Storage and access to specific bits of info in the brain (memorization), or ability to figure a problem out (resourcefulness)?

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Postby fumantis » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:00 pm

As I am coming to understand from some of these posts, we have to memorize the formulas we will need on the subject GRE.
But are any formulas at all provided on test day or within the problem questions? There are just so many formulas! Seems unfair to gauge physics majors on memorization rather than solely on problem solving, when the true measure of a good scientist is his/her resourcefulness.

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Postby DarthTater » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:12 pm

This is one of the problems I have with standardized testing. They test how well you can memorize all of physicsdom and recall it in less than two minutes per question. I don't know about anyone else, but I put more value in knowing how to figure something out rather than simply remember the formulas and mindlessly plug an chug. But that's just me...

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Postby grae313 » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:19 pm

They are both equally important, IMO. You don't have to memorize every single formula, but you should know the most basic and fundamental equations for each general subject covered, and be able to work with them and derive results QUICKLY. However, just as often you can solve a problem with some clever thinking and resourcefulness. The easiest thing to do (it sounds like you haven't yet) is to take one of the practice tests, and look at the answers for everything you got wrong, didn't answer, or weren't sure about at You'll get a very good idea for what sort of knowledge you need to have for the test.

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but still..

Postby fumantis » Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:49 pm

yeah at the time of my first posting i hadn't taken any practice exams. Ive taken 4 or 5 now and even more so I find it ridiculous to be expected to work out a 5-10 minute problem by inspection in 1.7 minutes--something that will NEVER be expected to do IRL. Im a good student and physicist and my scores havent been so bad, but it is a matter of principle for me i suppose. Standardized tests have about as much real merit for gaging knowledge (especially physics knowledge) as W has as a peacekeeper, lol.

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Postby fumantis » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:18 pm

Im also in a GRE prep class with 5 other students and we all agree that we've had no clue and left blank, or had to guess on around a third of the questions on each practice test. So what the GRE tests as much as anything else is how lucky your guesses are....

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