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April 23, 2021, 04:18:26 pm

Author Topic: GRE  (Read 4060 times)  Share 

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appianway

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GRE
« on: January 25, 2013, 01:46:42 pm »
Is anyone here thinking of taking the GRE this year (or next year) for graduate study?

I'm thinking about taking it at the end of this year, but I'm not too sure... and I'm not really sure how to prepare for it either. :/

mark_alec

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Re: GRE
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2013, 04:34:16 pm »
I took both the general GRE and physics subject test at the end of last year. Preparation was fairly minor for the general one, read through the Princeton guide for it and did the practice questions ETS provided. For the subject test I went through the four available past exams, re-read my first year textbook and wrote up some notes reminding me the quick way to solve problems.

appianway

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Re: GRE
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2013, 12:36:52 am »
I've heard really bad things about the physics subject test, which is why I actually want to take the GRE this year/early next year so that I have enough time to repeat it if necessary. How did you find the PGRE?

mark_alec

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Re: GRE
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2013, 12:57:42 am »
I found it pretty good. On my first trial I did rather abysmally, around about 55 %ile, on account of not remembering how to solve lots of questions from undergraduate physics (electric circuits, special relativity, springs, mechanics, geometric optics etc.). I forced myself to learn how to do each question - http://grephysics.net/ is a good resource for this. Each subsequent test was a major improvement. With about 3 weeks revision, ended up with a 980 on my test.

If you are a quick worker and have don't tend to have troubles with multiple choice tests then it shouldn't be a problem. Knowing tricks like dimensional analysis and taking limits of variables can make some problems almost trivial to solve, as are most of the quantum mechanics ones since they do not rely on ever solving the S.E., only being familiar with a handful of its solutions and some of the rules that govern wave-functions.

Attached are the incomplete notes I made.

appianway

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Re: GRE
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2013, 05:44:42 am »
Thanks so much! If I may ask, which grad schools are you applying for? 980 is a great score :) I'd be very content if I did that well :)

mark_alec

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Re: GRE
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2013, 08:51:42 am »
Thanks so much! If I may ask, which grad schools are you applying for?
Applied to: Cambridge, Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, MIT, CalTech, Chicago, Illinois-UC, Michigan-Ann Arbor.

appianway

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Re: GRE
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 09:16:33 am »
Ooh so I'm guessing you're into condensed matter? Those are all of the CMT/CME powerhouses! No Cornell though?

mark_alec

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Re: GRE
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2013, 09:56:54 am »
Ooh so I'm guessing you're into condensed matter? Those are all of the CMT/CME powerhouses! No Cornell though?
More into quantum information, atomic physics as relevant to this (e.g. spin systems) and biophysics. Didn't look into Cornell, decided that 10 applications (11 really, as I applied to two programs at Cambridge) was enough for a lifetime.

appianway

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Re: GRE
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2013, 09:59:09 am »
I'm taking a class in quantum information at the moment :) Though it's a super super super easy class - best of luck with those fields!!

Eriny

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Re: GRE
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2013, 10:53:44 pm »
I took the GRE over a year ago now (just the general). I basically had to re-study high school Maths but I found the Verbal stuff to be incredibly easy and didn't study for it at all, which is good because there weren't many good prep materials for the new GRE. I got 165 for verbal (96th percentile), 151 for quant (56th percentile, lol) and 5.0 for written (87th percentile). Haven't applied anywhere but I like that I have some good scores which are valid for the next 4 years. I would recommend having a go at a practice test and seeing how you do, especially if you find that you're naturally good at ridiculous standardised tests. Honestly, I think the verbal is incredibly easy for people who read a lot and understand words well in context, unlike the old GRE which was very much based on whether or not you've swallowed a dictionary.

humph

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Re: GRE
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2013, 06:48:55 am »
I took it a couple of years ago. The general GRE is a breeze - I didn't study and got something like 168 for quant, 164 for verbal, 4.5 for written. You don't need to study at all for it; just read a past exam paper to get an idea what to expect.

For science graduate programs they care a lot more about the subject test. I did pretty poorly on the maths one (770 - 77th percentile) but apparently it was good enough to get into Princeton, so meh. If you can do some previous papers, then by all means that's a good way to prepare. Of course, the GRE is a very small part of your application (I don't think any place is going to care if you got 98th percentile or 88th percentile, for example, though less than 80th percentile is not impressive if you're applying to top tier universities). Most care more about letters of recommendation/GPA/statement of purpose/research experience.

Also, for applying to grad schools, thegradcafe is a pretty good website with an active forum, plus people post their application results so you can get an idea of how good you need to be to get into some programs.
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appianway

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Re: GRE
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2013, 08:44:59 am »
Thanks Humph :) Do you really think that GPA is more important than the GRE? I'm just perplexed because getting a certain GPA is much easier at some schools than at others (at Yale the cohort is already incredibly incredibly strong, so even getting an average GPA is much harder than getting a near 4.0 at most places). I've scrolled through thegradcafe before, but it's hard to judge things because of the diversity of schools :/ And I might apply for geophysics graduate programs, and there's not too much information there (or anywhere, to be honest) :(

humph

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Re: GRE
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2013, 09:52:13 am »
It's hard to say; some grad programs value the GRE much more than others (for example, I know that Berkeley maths program doesn't really consider anyone below the 85th percentile on the maths GRE exam). In general, the rule of thumb seems to be that most US grad programs have some idea of the actual worth of a GPA at any well-known US university. The GRE is more beneficial to students coming from less well-known universities (i.e. international students) whose GPA needs to be put into context. For Yale, I don't think that'd be an issue.

For PhD programs at top schools, probably the most important thing is research experience (with supporting evidence of this from strong letters of recommendation by people who've supervised your research).
VCE 2006
PhB (Hons) (Sc), ANU, 2007-2010
MPhil, ANU, 2011-12
PhD, Princeton, 2012-2017
Research Associate, University College London, 2017-2020
Assistant Professor, University of Virginia, 2020-

Feel free to ask me about (advanced) mathematics.