About this seminar

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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..



Date: Topic: Details    
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