GRE Physics Syllabus

GRE Physics Syllabus

This paper based test comprises of approximately 100 five-choice questions, some of which are arranged in sets and constructed on such materials as diagrams, graphs, experimental data and descriptions of physical situations.The aim of the test is to evaluate the extent of the examinees’ grasp of fundamental principles and their ability to apply these principles in the solution of problems. The questions covers from the undergraduate syllabus. The International System (SI) of units is used predominantly in the test. A table of information representing various physical constants and a few conversion factors among SI units is presented in the test book. The duration of the GRE exam is 2 hours & 50 minutes. It is a multiple choice question format and the score range is from 200-990 scale with 1 mark increments. There is a ¼ Th mark deduction for a wrong answer.

Content Specifications

  1. CLASSICAL MECHANICS — 20%

(such as kinematics, Newton’s laws, work and energy, oscillatory motion, rotational motion about a fixed axis, dynamics of systems of particles, central forces and celestial mechanics, three-dimensional particle dynamics, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism, noninertial reference frames, elementary topics in fluid dynamics)

  1. ELECTROMAGNETISM — 18%

(such as electrostatics, currents and DC circuits, magnetic fields in free space, Lorentz force, induction, Maxwell’s equations and their applications, electromagnetic waves, AC circuits, magnetic and electric fields in matter)

  1. OPTICS AND WAVE PHENOMENA — 9%

(such as wave properties, superposition, interference, diffraction, geometrical optics, polarization, Doppler effect)

  1. THERMODYNAMICS AND STATISTICAL MECHANICS — 10%

(such as the laws of thermodynamics, thermodynamic processes, equations of state, ideal gases, kinetic theory, ensembles, statistical concepts and calculation of thermodynamic quantities, thermal expansion and heat transfer)

  1. QUANTUM MECHANICS — 12%

(such as fundamental concepts, solutions of the Schrödinger equation (including square wells, harmonic oscillators, and hydrogenic atoms), spin, angular momentum, wave function symmetry, elementary perturbation theory)

  1. ATOMIC PHYSICS — 10%

(such as properties of electrons, Bohr model, energy quantization, atomic structure, atomic spectra, selection rules, black-body radiation, x-rays, atoms in electric and magnetic fields)

  1. SPECIAL RELATIVITY — 6%

(such as introductory concepts, time dilation, length contraction, simultaneity, energy and momentum, four-vectors and Lorentz transformation, velocity addition)

  1. LABORATORY METHODS — 6%

(such as data and error analysis, electronics, instrumentation, radiation detection, counting statistics, interaction of charged particles with matter, lasers and optical interferometers, dimensional analysis, fundamental applications of probability and statistics)

  1. SPECIALIZED TOPICS — 9%

Nuclear and Particle physics (e.g., nuclear properties, radioactive decay, fission and fusion, reactions, fundamental properties of elementary particles), Condensed Matter (e.g., crystal structure, x-ray diffraction, thermal properties, electron theory of metals, semiconductors, superconductors), Miscellaneous (e.g., astrophysics, mathematical methods, computer applications)

Books:

Physics Fundamentals

  • Fundamentals of Physics – Expensive but a must-read
  • University Physics – Expensive but good
  • Physics for Scientists & Engineers With Modern Physics

Top Physics Subject Test Prep books

  • 3,000 Solved Problems in Physics
  • GRE Physics Test: REA: Serious Prep for the GRE
  • Princeton Problems in Physics with Solutions
  • University of Chicago Graduate Problems in Physics with Solutions
  • The Best Test Prep for the GRE (Test Preps)

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