GRE Physics


Graduate Record Exam is conducted with the sole purpose of scanning eligible students for admission into a graduate course in the US. The test is of two types: GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test. The General Test is meant to quantify the basic knowledge and skills of a student which are vital for graduate courses. The Subject tests are to test the abilities of students pertaining to particular subjects.

There are in all eight GRE subject tests. The details of each subject test are given on the official website. The subject tests are only paper based. Thus, when you are to register you will be short of centers for taking the test. You shall have to register at a center where the paper based tests are administered. Such centers are likely to fill up quickly and so it is better to register for the subject tests as soon as possible. Once you register for the test you shall be provided with free test preparation materials. In addition you can download the details of the test and practice tests from the official website for free!

When you start planning for the Physics subject test you must gather as much information as possible about the test from reliable resources. It is best to log on to the official website to gain the latest and the most valid information. The better informed you are the lesser are your chances of going wrong while preparing.

The Physics Subject Test is one of the eight subject tests administered. In the Physics test there are 100 multiple choice questions. The questions do not merely test your knowledge of subject content but also your ability to solve related problems. Consequently, some of the questions require calculations to be done, but there will not be any so tedious that you require a calculator. You shall not require logarithmic tables as well. In case logarithmic values are required for some question then the corresponding values shall be given along with the question. Also there will be a table in the test booklet related with the various physics constants and conversion factors among S.I. units.

The Physics subject test is broadly based on eight main content areas: Classical Mechanics (20%), Electromagnetism (18%), Optics and Wave Phenomena (9%), Thermodynamics and Statistical Dynamics (10%), Quantum Mechanics (12%), Atomic Physics (10%), Special Relativity (6%), Laboratory methods (6%) and Specialized Topics (9%). These classifications can not be explicit and independent of each other there shall be some questions in the Physics test which will be related with more than one of these content areas.

Physics is a subject highly dependent on mathematics. When you appear for this test you shall have to apply your knowledge of mathematical methods as well. These methods include single and multivariate calculus, coordinate systems (rectangular, cylindrical and spherical), vector algebra and vector differential operators, Fourier series, partial differential equations, boundary value problems, matrices and determinants and functions of complex variables.

The Physics test is based on the concepts that you have studied in your undergraduate days but it is mandatory for you to prepare for it. With time your familiarity with the topics is lessened and hence you need proper revision of the concepts. It is best to start your preparation from your very own text books. They will contain most of the topics of this subject test. Make a note of all the required topics and their subtopics to check if you have the detailed subject matter. It should not surprise you if some topics are missing in your books. Owing to rapid advancements and the frequent changes in the syllabi the text books soon become outdated. Look for the latest test preparation books in the market and get the one which covers the latest syllabus in detail. Even if you plan to join a coaching institute it is best to revise the concepts that you had once studied in undergraduate classes.

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