anyone else worried about the prelims?

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youiyousee
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Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:11 pm

anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby youiyousee » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:14 pm

Pass rate at the school I'm looking at is about 66% per attempt. We're allowed two attempts, and about 10% of the students are cut. The school also has a bad rep. for cutting students after grinding out TA time for two years.

worst case: if you're cut, do you leave with a masters? or nada?
What are the options? get a job, or apply elsewhere, change subjects?

VT
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 12:30 pm

Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby VT » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:32 pm

hahahaha, your username is clearly telling us that you are talking about UIUC.
what a great username!

Sorry my post is not relevant.

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butsurigakusha
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Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby butsurigakusha » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:48 pm

If you are talking about UIUC, then I don't think you have to worry. When I visited, they told me that nearly all the students pass. You can take it right when you arrive at no cost, and many of the students pass it first try. Someone told me that the 10% statistic was from several years ago, but in recent years there's a higher percentage who pass, including one year where I think everyone passed. I think most of those who do not pass are those who would probably quit grad school anyway, because they decide it isn't right for them.

Anyway, the impression I got is that the prelims are really not something to be too worried about. That's not to say that you shouldn't prepare for them. But if you do prepare, you will almost certainly do fine.

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al-Haytham
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Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby al-Haytham » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:06 pm

yeah at the uiuc open house they said that almost everyone passes their prelims, although i dont think they showed us hard statisitics...

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fermiboy
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Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby fermiboy » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:10 pm

They definitely have rep for tough quals. They even address it in one of the FAQs on their website. I have also heard from more than one person that UIUC (and Berkeley) do flunk people out, basically using them as cheap labor for the first couple of years.

christopher3.14
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Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:19 am

Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby christopher3.14 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:30 pm

It shouldn't be bad if you have so much to study from. UIUC posts all of their past exams online:

http://www.physics.uiuc.edu/Education/Graduate/Qual/Qual-Attic.html

Also, Rutgers has past exams WITH solutions here:

http://www.physics.rutgers.edu/grad/qualifiers/past/

I'm using these to study for my own qualifying exams that coming up in a few weeks, and for the Fall at whatever school I will eventually choose.

Hope this helps.

bestbearblackbear
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:17 pm

Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby bestbearblackbear » Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:28 pm

What are prelims? By the way everyone is talking, it seems like they are different than the qualifying exams. Does every school have prelims?

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jdhooghe
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Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby jdhooghe » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:57 pm

They are one and the same.

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butsurigakusha
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Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby butsurigakusha » Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:22 am

It might depend on the school, but at Berkeley they are different exams. The prelims are taken early on and cover undergraduate physics material, more or less. The qualifying exam is a test related to one's area of research, and is taken later on. UIUC has a similar system, but, interestingly, the names of the exams are reversed. UCSD has an entrance exam, taken at the very beginning, a departmental exam (both of which are general physics tests), and then a qualifying exam related to research.

These are the only schools I know about, but it seems that schools will typically have an exam early on that covers physics in general, and then a later exam related to one's area of research.

ler1
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:55 pm

Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby ler1 » Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:27 am

The questions dont seem that bad. I thought they would be intense.

garden
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Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:11 am

Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby garden » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:37 am

I just wonder why don't we discuss and solve all of sh*t difficult problem we may know from anywhere at here?

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butsurigakusha
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Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby butsurigakusha » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:57 am

I have oft times pondered that very question.

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quizivex
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Re: anyone else worried about the prelims?

Postby quizivex » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:12 pm

WHOOOOOA!!!!!!!

garden has returned! Welcome back! Thanks for your input. Sounds like a fabulous idea... sounds... literally, I don't know what it actually means...

So it's been like 3 months... I'm convinced garden's presence is connected to some astronomical event... such as lunar/solar eclipses... hmmm

And I think his post has helped clarify some of the meanings in his original epic post...




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