Advice/Suggestions for PGRE and a PhD?

madhavpr
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:38 pm

Advice/Suggestions for PGRE and a PhD?

Postby madhavpr » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:04 pm

Hi everyone,

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.

Thanking you,

kev12592
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 2:16 pm

Re: Advice/Suggestions for PGRE and a PhD?

Postby kev12592 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:45 pm

As for the PGRE portion of your post, I took the test all 3 possible dates in the last year.

I found these flash cards were very helpful for memorizing all of the equations you need to know (http://www.phys.cwru.edu/flashCards/). It's free and all you need to do is send them an e-mail with your address. I also did ALL of the tests online (viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2444). I'd especially now how to do every problem on the 2001 and 2008 (not listed in link) exams. Both of these more recent exams are similar to the current one and even a couple problems are exact copies from these tests. This was the extent of my studying and I did alright (72 percentile) and I know I would have done a lot worse without these resources.

Note one of my mistakes was that my course load was very heavy when I took the test. It's hard to prepare for this test the week before when you also have tests in classes, so I hope you take it easy this semester.

AEP
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 6:18 pm

Re: Advice/Suggestions for PGRE and a PhD?

Postby AEP » Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:28 pm

madhavpr wrote: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.
Thanking you,


I spent less than 2 weeks on studying the PGRE and only did the practice tests. From my personal experience, as long as you understand everything in all the practice tests, you should be able to get a pretty good score in the real test.




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