12:15pm October 6, 2007, relieved? frustrated? confident?

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

12:15pm October 6, 2007, relieved? frustrated? confident?

Postby quizivex » Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:16 pm

So how'd the test go for those of you who took it?

I have an overall good feeling but I was kicking myself as I walked out of the test center realizing I made a really dumb mistake on one of the problems... I'm trying to forget about the rest of them so I don't find myself re-solving the whole test at home just to see how many more mistakes I made haha.

As I was reviewing physics material for the GRE, I wrote down and memorized a few random formulas and solutions of fundamental problems in textbooks I came across, just cuz I figured they, or some related problems, could show up on the test. It turns out a few of them did, yay!

Other thoughts?

tchotchke
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:37 pm

Postby tchotchke » Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:43 pm

just glad that it is over, I found myself working through this test much faster than the GR1077 and the others, but maybe because that I was better prepared.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:43 pm

Although I didn't take the GRE this October (I'm scheduled for the Nov.) test. I hate the feeling of realizing mistakes that you made seconds after handing the test in, and then thinking that only if you had a few more minutes you would have gotten it right! I've gotten to the point that when I leave a test I can usually predict my grade within +/- 5 points. Of course with the GRE, all bets are off....

cancelled20080417
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:30 pm

OCT GRE phys

Postby cancelled20080417 » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:44 pm

I found the test to be pretty easy than what I had thought. But I also ended up makin couple of stupid mistakes, and I hated myself for those silly mistakes, other than that it was good. Any idea about what your score would be on this test ( this question is for those of us who took the test in OCT)!!!

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Postby quizivex » Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:37 am

I'm reluctant to guess my score because I don't want to "jinx" myself (imagine a physics major being superstitious, ha). And I'm always worried about ETS messing up my score anyway.

I would say there were only 3 problems I had no clue on. Maybe 3 more I was unsure of but made an educated guess. And then 3 more I know I made a silly mistake and botched. Other than that I felt like I moved through the exam somewhat comfortably (though some problems I thought would be too tedious to derive and I immediately used 'alternate methods' to eliminate what I thought were 4 wrong answers. I hope I did those properly).

However, I can't estimate based on the above, since as we all have experienced, It's remarkable how many of those practice problems we think we do correctly but somehow miraculously get wrong. I could have made a ton of mistakes, or maybe only a few. I have no idea.

I'm really hoping those are the only mistakes I made give or take a couple, and thus hopefully will get a raw score in the mid 80's.

But if everyone seems to do well, maybe that raw score won't give us a high scaled score. I mentioned on a previous post that I was worried that the poplulation taking the October test would be (on average) much stronger than that taking the tests in the past. The past schedule forced nearly everyone to take the Nov test in order to get the scores in on time, but now with more convenient test dates in Oct/Nov, only the most prepared students seem to have taken the Oct test.

Someone referenced an ETS article that says they give scaled scores based
on a sample population of students who took the test in the past (note that's immediately unclear since "the" test changes each time they offer it). So hopefully we'll be ok. But ETS's description of how that works was very vague. I'm not gonna give it much thought since obviously I can't control how they do it anyway. I just have my fingers crossed.

cancelled20080417
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:30 pm

GRe and other

Postby cancelled20080417 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:38 am

..............
Last edited by cancelled20080417 on Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Postby quizivex » Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:39 am

Yeah that's a difficult decision about the November test. I registered for it too but I'll probably cancel it.

Unless you think you bombed the October test (which it seems you didn't), I suggest canceling the Nov one. This goes for anyone in the same situation. The reasons are first that you won't know your Oct score probably until after the Nov test (check ETS website for details). Sometimes the scores come a few days earlier but still, unless we plan to keep reviewing for this next month, we'll probably forget a lot of stuff and be less prepared in November. So even if we scored lower than we wanted, we'll probably score lower yet on the Nov test.

Conversely, we could end up getting a nice score and taking the other test for no reason, with a chance of doing worse and/or cluttering our application with a 2nd score. Finally, and most importantly for me, the stress. During the test and the days before, my heart was pounding so hard it probably triggered seismographs nearby. It's a great relief that the exams' over as is knowing I probably did ok. I can now catch up on my classes, solicit recommendations and have some fun without dreading November 3rd haha.

<deleted for anonymity>
Last edited by quizivex on Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sirjetpackbob
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:21 am

Postby sirjetpackbob » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:15 am

Wow, good job guys! Would you mind sharing your study strategies? What worked well, what didn't work? I consider myself pretty bright (3.9 GPA, 4.0 Physics) and I've been studying for about a month and a half, but I'm still getting a raw score in the 30s on my practice tests. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, or started preparing too late. I know one problem is that stat mech, solids, and nuclear+particles aren't offered until later in my senior year, so I'm at a pretty big disadvantage in all of those subjects. Any advice you guys could give though would be greatly appreciated by us November testees who are still in freak-out mode :).

cancelled20080417
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:30 pm

Postby cancelled20080417 » Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:09 am

.............
Last edited by cancelled20080417 on Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Postby quizivex » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:00 am

@ sirjetpackbob

To improve your success with the practice exams, it depends first on what the problem is... that is, whether too much of the material is unfamiliar, or you have trouble solving the problems, or you can't do them fast enough etc...

If the material is unfamiliar, you'll of course need to review more. It's best to save the practice exams for after your review since the problems are much more instructive when you know the content and the challenge remains to solve the problem itself. I didn't even look at the practice exams before I was done a thorough review of my undergrad physics.

And yes, you'll need to learn on your own the basics of the subjects you haven't learned yet. My school doesn't teach stat mech and my quantum was taught incompetently. So I started from scratch with both of those and learned enough to understand nearly all of the related questions on the GREs. There's always a few abstact/formal quantum questions on the test, and a few relate to MB, BE and FD statistics and their applications so all that stuff is definitely worth learning, even if it takes a few weeks.

Also, note that you must thoroughly learn everything that's on the ETS website describing the physics GRE. Of course, it pretty much lists everything, but that's not what I mean... When they list small specific topics, such as compton scattering, x-ray diffraction etc... you must pay special attention to them.

If the issues are either speed or problem solving, you'll have to work on that in whatever way helps you, whether that's by plowing through Schaum's 3000 problems or sharing ideas with friends etc... Just remember that most of the problems do not take much computation, just a clever trick.

@ RG
I've always wanted to work with fusion. I wouldn't mind doing other things instead. Ouch I know what you mean about liberal arts schools distracting you with nonsense courses. I'm at a large school that has an overwhelmingly humanities-biased core curriculum including required classes in "race studies" and art. Though I luckily had some decent profs in the humanities courses and they weren't nearly as painful as they could have been.

Indeed, the net physics learning available is nearly independent of the school, that is, an exact differential, except in extreme cases which we could call quasi-hectic, but the amount of nonsense endured depends on the particular program through which the student progressed.

I don't know much about condensed matter theory, but I'm pretty sure that is studied at nearly every major university in the country, so you should have lots of options.

Uh oh, I've completely forgot about Lagrange multipliers, haha.




Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests