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Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Test is in November, Planning starts... NOW!

Hi I am brand new to this site and I have read many post, but not all.  Hopefully this is a (partially) new idea to the forum.I am in my fourth year of undergrad (I switched to physics in my 4th semester, so I have catching up to do) and will be taking the tests next November.  Now for many people it may seem a bit early to start thinking about the PGRE, especially since its only spring break time.  However, I want to take a systematic approach to this test over the summer and before school starts in the fall I want to have a sound review of my previous years of physics.  I am proposing to develop a study schedule that devotes time to each subject on the test based upon the size of subject, percent of test devoted to it, and how good I am currently at it.  I will be working in the lab over the summer (no more than 40 hours a week) and I live alone, so I hope to find 10-20 hours a week max on review.  I also want to find a systematic way of memorizing the essential formulas and tricks the test will require.  I believe flash cards will be the most effective for this but is there a page/pdf that could get me some essential formulas to start with ? This is a daunting task and it would be wonderful to find a good first step.The way I compute it now, I will devote 12-13 weeks of the summer to study*15 hrs a week avg=appx. 130-150 hrs of study over the summer.  It seems a bit low honestly.  I will study in the Fall (I believe I will have 2 classes and research) but I really want a solid base in everything before school, because everyone knows how hard it can be to focus when your attention is devoted to several places.  Love to hear your informative and critical thoughts!

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Have you taken any practice tests to know where you're at now, and what you'd like to get? For studying theory you shouldn't spend more time than is required to understand the physics behind all practice questions. The rest depends on how good you are at solving problems quickly.I recommend you take a practice test now (one of the newer ones), so you can retake it later as well. When taking a test remember which problems you failed and study the respective topics, and do some extra problems from books etc. If you don't do this and encounter a similar problem on the real test it will really stress you out.Also everytime you mess up a problem because you misread the text (like compute x vs 1/x) write that down too. Then everytime you read a problem write down what you need to compute (like d=?, to make sure that's what you're computing).

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bigD3002 wrote: is there a page/pdf that could get me some essential formulas to start with ?

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negru thanks that is very helpful information! I have not taken a practice test yet.  Now if I recall there are 4 available?  I guess I will know which is the newest when I begin to look over them.As far as my current knowledge in physics, I have maintained good grades but my memory has faded a bit on some stuff from over a year ago.  However I will go ahead on a practice test sometime soon and analyze my results.  When I do I'll post on this thread and give a suggestion.  I have high ambitions, I do think right now that to achieve my goals I will absolutely need the whole summer.  Hopefully I will have more data to compile after I take the test.and quark, that is a lovely page, thanks!  That's a much better start than I was expecting!

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bigD3002 wrote:negru thanks that is very helpful information! I have not taken a practice test yet.  Now if I recall there are 4 available?  I guess I will know which is the newest when I begin to look over them.

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If you start preparation now, you may consider taking the test in April.Just try the sample tests after, say, a week's preparation and see where you are at.I think it is just a standardized test and you spend more time practicing doing the test than actually learning the physics.From my experience, 1 week is enough for learning and reviewing the physics knowledge since most are first year stuff. The time you need to get ready really depends on how well you can handle those multiple choices fast enough.

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My argument is that the 2000+ ones are more similar to the current tests, so you'll get a better idea on where you stand. Then if you take it like now, by next fall you will very likely not remember too many of the answers, especially the ones you couldn't really figure out. Otherwise yeah don't go berserk on the tests just yet. Take one, study a few months, take another, etc. Then in the final week review ALL the questions.Also my strategy during the test is to immediately skip the hard questions. If you can't get it under a minute skip it, come back later. Also make marks for the questions you're not sure about or which required lots of calculations. Then depending on your time redo the calculations. And yeah take the april test if you can

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My preparation strategy is basically do the sample tests over and over. It went pretty well at the end.

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I really don't have the time to review at the moment.  I am currently in 3 physics classes as well as undergoing 2 different research projects.  I am really interested to see how I will do but I would be quite embarrassed to have a poor score from taking the test prematurely. On another note: Are the questions on the practice test really that similar to the questions that will be on the new one? I have no way to judge this at the moment but it seems that out of all the physics questions that can be posed in the universe, certainly every test could have several score of completely never before tested questions...My spring break is next week, hopefully I can get on a practice test during my spare time.  I appreciate all the advice!

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bigD3002 wrote:I really don't have the time to review at the moment.  I am currently in 3 physics classes as well as undergoing 2 different research projects.  I am really interested to see how I will do but I would be quite embarrassed to have a poor score from taking the test prematurely. On another note: Are the questions on the practice test really that similar to the questions that will be on the new one? I have no way to judge this at the moment but it seems that out of all the physics questions that can be posed in the universe, certainly every test could have several score of completely never before tested questions...My spring break is next week, hopefully I can get on a practice test during my spare time.  I appreciate all the advice!

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