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. Ten example problems with solutions are provided below. You should review those 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 3 class meetings will be devoted to taking GRE-type practice tests that include all topics..

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Topic: |
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Aug 25 | Mechanics | Topics from an Introductory Physics course | P1 | P1s |

Sep 1 | E&M | Topics from an Introductory Physics course | P2 | P2s |

Sep 8 | Thermodynamics | Topics from an Introductory Physics course | P3 | P3s |

Sep 22 | Waves and Optics | Topics from an Introductory Physics course | P4 | P4s |

Sep 29 | Modern Physics | Topics from a Modern Physics course | P5 | P5s |

Oct 6 | Lab Methods | Topics from 1st and 2nd year demos and labs | P6 | P6s |

Oct 13 | Advanced Mechanics | Review including upper-level topics | P7 | P7s |

Oct 20 | Advanced E&M | Review including upper-level topics | P8 | P8s |

Oct 27 | Quantum Mechanics | Review including upper-level topics | P9 | P9s |

Nov 3 | Special Topics | Special topics covered in 200-400 level courses | P10 | P10s |

Nov 10 | Practice Test | GRE-type practice test, all topics | P11 | P11s |

Nov 17 | Practice Test | GRE-type practice test, all topics | P12 | P12s |

Nov 24 | Practice Test | GRE-type practice test, all topics | P13 | P13s |