blackcat007 wrote:i am given to understand after staying in this forum for sometime that ETS won't ask much from outside the topics that the 4 sample papers cover (may be for some topics like elementary particles, but then you don't need to answer all to get a 990).
please advise !!
sidharthsp wrote:blackcat007 wrote:i am given to understand after staying in this forum for sometime that ETS won't ask much from outside the topics that the 4 sample papers cover (may be for some topics like elementary particles, but then you don't need to answer all to get a 990).
please advise !!
In the paper i gave, there where few [7~8] questions totally from outside. But you can still have a crack at them if you cover the syllabus. So IMHO if you cover the syllabus, go through the 400 questions and understand the concepts behind them, and get a good idea of the speed needed, then your preparation is pretty solid. Also create a list of all formulaes. These links LINK 1 [22.7 MB] AND LINK 2 [26MB] are good compilation. [Courtesy: Someone called nightvid and physics department of University of Arkansas].
acmilan wrote:adding to what sidharthsp already said, I think you should go thru Halliday and Resnick from cover to cover and then add to the major topics (like Mechanics, Modern, QM, E&M, Thermo) with some more advanced readings as you follow the list of possible topics for the PGRE on the ETS site. As far the more advanced readings go, you don't have to cover the entire texts, just the topics from the ETS list and especially the ones that were either not covered at all in Halliday & Resnick or just barely skimmed over.
Covering some Solid State - just the basic stuff from the first 3-4 chapters of Kittel as well as some superconductivity - would be a good idea too but don't dwell too much on it as there won't be that much of it on the test anyway.
Also, with the more advanced books, don;t waste time with trying to remember complex derivations or extensive solutions to complex problems, this is true especially for QM and Thermo.
There are some lists of books here with suggested books on this site, personally, I went with what I had used in my undergrad classes - Symon (ClassMech), Bernstein (modern), Griffiths (QM), Reif (Thermo) and some of Kittel (Solid State) - basically, go with the ones you feel comfortable with.
Only exception I made was for E&M - I had used Wangsness but for PGre prep went with Griffiths because 1) it's a better and more approachable text and 2) Griffiths is big fish in the group that makes up the problems for the PGre exams and a lot of problems on the test feel as if they were taken stariaght out of his books ... same goes for the Halliday and Resnick Foundations of Physics, btw.
It won't hurt to cover something on lab and experimental techniques including basic error/statistical analysis.
Of course the 4 tests are a fundamental part of the whole prep so you should leave yourself at least a month, better two, before the test date to go thru them and see where you have gaps in your prep and spend some extra time on those specific areas. Cover these tests extensively and make sure you feel comfortable with the problems and the time constraints because as you will find out, time-management during the actual test is just as important as good knowledge of basic physics.
It might be a good idea to actually cover 1 or 2 tests at the start of your preparation just to give yourself an idea of how quickly you need to solve the problems and how deep you will have to go when going thru those books above.
Also start early and try to be done with the bulk of your prep over the summer 'cause if you are gonna be at school come test time, you will find yourself in hell
acmilan wrote:I wouldn't go too deep into kittel as it has the effect of tear gas on seniors too and is one of those books that can shatter a student's confidence, which is the last thing you need just before a test
seriously speaking, the material covered on the test is extensive and spans over many areas of physics but doesn't dig that deep into it especially when the more advanced topics are concerned. Spend the bulk of you time and effort on ClassMech, QM and Atomic, E&M and Thermo and some Modern too, beyond these major areas, you will be asked primarily questions that expect more basic, as opposed in-depth, understanding of physical concepts, which I think is sufficiently well covered in Halliday&Resnick - particle physics, even some solid state stuff, cosmology, relativity, optics, waves etc.
Even with the major areas that you should concentrate on, they won't ask you to solve complex problems or come up with major derivations or anything - if the related problems need computation, it would be simple enough for you to do in your head or with a couple of lines on a paper. I would emphasize on understanding the concepts and how to use them in solving more basic problems - the problems on the test are no where near as hard and time-consuming as the majority of problems at the end of the chapters in say Symon, Griffiths's QM, Kittel, etc.
On the test, as long as you know the underlying concepts, you would be able to do the vast majority of problems pretty quickly. Of course there are some more time-consuming problems but that doesn't mean they are hard - just that they need some computation before you can zero in on the result. an example of such problems is computing the resultant force on an object or the resistance in a circuit.
Often, you can eliminate some of the answers by simply looking at the units and/or degrees of magnitude, this is especially helpful with problems where you have some idea how to solve them but aren't completely sure of it and narrowing down the possible answers is essential.
Approximation is also a useful trick to have in mind on a test like this one where time is on the run.
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