About this seminar

Typical upper division physics courses concentrate on the tools (for example mathematical methods) that have been developed to solve physics problems.  These tools make you a scientist, but they do not by themselves, make you a physicist.  To be a physicist, you have to also have internalized physics knowledge.  The GRE Physics subject test probes your internalized physics knowledge.  Problems on the GRE do not require lengthy calculations, but they assume that you have a good conceptual understanding of physics, that you remember definitions and simple formulas, and that you know at least approximately important physical constants and scales. 

In this seminar you will find out what you really need to know about the different physics topics on the GRE without having to go to reference materials.  You will see how the same basic knowledge is tested in many differently worded problems, and you will solve many GRE-type problems, since practice makes perfect.  You will also practice some test-taking skills.

In each of the first 10 weeks we will concentrate on a particular set of topics. You should review 10 example problems before coming to the seminar.  During class you will solve 15 additional problems and then discuss your problem-solving strategy and solutions with your fellow students in the class.  More practice problems are provided under the "More practice test" link.

The last class meetings will be devoted to taking GRE-type practice tests that include all topics.

class study before class solutions in-class solutions
Jan 11     P0 P0s
Jan 18 Mechanics Mechanics P1 P1s
Jan 25 E&M E&M P2 P2s
Feb 1 Fluids, Thermodynamics Thermodynamics P3 P3s
Feb 8 Waves and Optics Waves and Optics P4 P4s
Feb 15 Modern Physics Modern Physics P5 P5s
Feb 22 Lab Methods Lab Methods P6 P6s
Mar 1 Advanced Mechanics Advanced Mechanics P7 P7s
Mar 8 Advanced E&M Advanced E&M P8 P8s
Mar 22 Quantum Mechanics Quantum Mechanics P9 P9s
April 5 Special topics Special topics P10 P10s
April 12     Practice test Practice test
April 19     Major field test