This is my first post in the forums. I have a masters degree in space science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and I'd like to do a PhD in condensed matter physics in the future. I am mostly a self taught student with an interest in doing physics. While I haven't taken a core physics courses like Quantum and Stat. Mech, I have watched lectures on youtube on basic physics 1 and 2, classical mech etc, read and solved most of the problems in the following textbooks
1. Physics- Halliday, Resnick, and Krane - 5th edition
2. Classical Mechanics- Taylor (1st 11/12 chapters + the one on Hamiltonian mechanics)
3. Griffiths - E&M (had a course on E&M that required this book)
4. Solid state physics - Kittel (required for a solid state physics course), but I kinda learned QM simultaneously using Griffiths.
Plus, I'm kinda proficient in mathematical methods- Calculus 1,2,3, Linear algebra, ODE, PDE, Fourier transforms.
I want to take up the PGRE this April. I am just going to do all the problems again from the books, practice test and just review/relearn the portions I think I'm weak at. Is this a good strategy? I'm aiming for a relatively high score in the exam but let's see what happens.
I will be eligible only for Spring/ Fall 2015 admissions but lack the necessary "research experience". I want to specialize in superconductivity, haven't really thought about my exact area of interest. I don't have a really strong profile and since my physics education is mostly through self learning, how can I raise the chances of getting into a good/decent PhD graduate program next year? I have started emailing professors belonging to different universities, and will set up appointments with the profs working in condensed matter physics from my university this week. I am applying to some jobs as well. I'll have to go back to India I'm unemployed by the end of May.
Any suggestions, tips are welcome.