Soliton wrote:I am currently in my 3rd year out of a 4 year Masters Course (Msci Physics). I have always intended to apply Overseas for university, but only recently have I thoroughly looked into the proccess of US applications for PhD programs.
I am highly overwhelmed by the timescale of the application and have in fact spent the last two days reading everything relevant in this forum and other web sources. I feel like I am getting in the game too late.
I finish my course in summer 2012, and therefore it would be benificial to apply for a PhD program that begins sept/oct 2012 to carry on my education/research.
It would be great if anyone could help me with a few questions:
I realise the amount of work that will have to go into the GRE and in particular the PGRE. I also realise (from what I have read) they are not "make or break", but definately are still a hurdle to get out the way. There are so many dates flying around on the web-
>>1)Considering I have only begun this proccess what tests (dates) do you think I should take in order to ensure I have enough preparation time and don't leave things too late? Do you think I have left it too late / am at a disadvantage at all right now?
Soliton wrote:>>2) Is it always the case that PhD students are "paid" in the sence that their tuition and living costs are taken care of?
I realise there are sometimes tutorships and research assistanceships available. I would love to do these but I get the impression they would be highly competitive and they appear have deadlines even sooner than mid Dec/Jan. Makes me worry a tad more considering I think I am late in the proccess.
Soliton wrote:I am aware that Research experience, letters of reccomendation, Personal statement and General University grades are also part of the application but I feel those components are a little more distant in the future. I consider >>1) to be of prime importance right now, and >>2) is a general concern as I am already living on a loan.
Soliton wrote:The way you read my post was as intended.
Wow this is very reassuring advice. Thanks for all your detail. To be honest, all the other parts that I had mentioned later (the other parts of the application) was of great concern because I thought I was behind. I have University exams coming up in a month - then I am free for summer.
Given this information, I would assume I can focus entirely on my University exams, then the GRE. Granted, figures crossed I have research experience this summer aswell.
Are you saying to take BOTH the GRE and PGRE in October 2012? Do these tests fall near the same date? Ill have to really brush up on my early undergrad problem solving skills- although it's slightly reassuring that its only mulitple choice. And the GRE shouldn't be too bad. EDIT: Also is there really any benifit to taking this "newly revised" GRE? If not there is a normal GRE in August.
Anyway, thanks again. You have reassured me greatly - but alot of work Is still ahead.
I only mentioned september to highlight I want to continue my education fluently, July/August is not a problem either!
I'll be glad to take anymore advice from you or anyone who is willing to give it. Im pretty new to this, and it is still a daunting undertaking (Im sure it is for anyone else aswell).
bfollinprm wrote:Ditto to HQ. The only thing I would add is if you're interested in a top-10 institution* you should aim for a 990 on the PGRE. Do this by working through everything in an intro textbook, Griffiths E&M, a thermo book, and modern physics. You should also do all 4 released tests (found online) as well as the questions in a book like 3000 Solved Problems in Physics (really basic questions, but you don't want to miss a question because of nerves or stupid mistakes). Otherwise, an 800-850 is probably good enough for consideration at most schools as a UK student (though it wont guarantee admission). Also, there's a difference between a US letter of recommendation and a European letter or reference. Anything negative in your LoR is pretty damning, in the US they're pretty much looking to reject those whose recommendations are less positive. You might want to make sure those you ask are aware of this (which might mean trying to work with someone who's sent people to the US before, or better yet is from the US system him/herself.
*in no particular order (well, basically geographically because it helps make sure I don't miss one). This list might be slightly different for different subfields and by no means means these schools are always better than their lesser-"ranked" counterparts.
Isn't a 990 a "scaled" perfect score? Now I'm starting to worry a bit I would definately be interested in applying - but as for getting in, thats another story.
Is it even feasible to go through the main Intro books and do most of the problems in a few months? And trust me, I would definately need to do that looking at the practice tests... Maybe Im just out of practice.
Yea I will definately make sure that any recomendations know that in the future, thanks.
astrok wrote:there are only two UK test sites for the subject GRE (Canterbury and Kent)
michael wrote:astrok wrote:there are only two UK test sites for the subject GRE (Canterbury and Kent)
Did they change this? I did my PGRE in Leeds.
Soliton wrote:Thanks for all the help again guys!
One last point;
Of course I want to get the normal GRE out of the way. I would say my confidence for this one is a little bit less than the PGRE! At least, even though daunting, the PGRE is physics! I can't say reading/writing etc is my comfort zone at all. But like I said before I do want to get that out of the way.
On their website ETS/GRE say:
"If you need your scores before November 2011, register now to take the current test before August. Otherwise, you can register for the GRE revised General Test and save 50% if you test between August 1 and September 30, 2011."
Knowing which one to take makes a vast difference due to the implementation of the new test.
How much later are the scores if I take the test on or after August? I have summer research over June and July so Im trying to minimise clashing whilst still allowing 1-2 months of PGRE prep.
midwestphysics wrote:You'll get the new scores for tests after 8/1 in mid-Nov. Oh and the new test is only the Gen GRE, not the PGRE
Soliton wrote:midwestphysics wrote:You'll get the new scores for tests after 8/1 in mid-Nov. Oh and the new test is only the Gen GRE, not the PGRE
So this means Id be fine taking a slightly later one then? I.e The new test type?
Anyone think this would be advised given my situation? Or try and push it to earlier in my schedule to get it done with?
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