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The GRE physics test is an examination administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The test attempts to determine the extent of the examinees' understanding of fundamental principles of physics and their ability to apply them to problem solving. Many graduate schools require applicants to take the exam and base admission decisions in part on the results. This puts pressure on undergraduate programs to teach the topics students will need to succeed on the GRE.## Major content topics

### 1. Classical mechanics (20%)

### 2. Electromagnetism (18%)

### 3. Optics and wave phenomena (9%)

### 4. Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics (10%)

### 5. Quantum mechanics (12%)

### 6. Atomic physics (10%)

### 7. Special relativity (6%)

### 9. Specialized topics (9%)

## External links

The scope of the test is largely that of the first three years of a standard United States undergraduate physics curriculum, since many students who plan to continue to graduate school apply during the first half of the fourth year. It consists of 100 five-option multiple-choice questions covering subject areas including classical mechanics, electromagnetism, wave phenomena and optics, thermal physics, relativity, atomic and nuclear physics, quantum mechanics, laboratory techniques, and mathematical methods. The table below indicates the relative weights, as asserted by ETS, and detailed contents of the major topics.

- kinematics
- Newton's laws of motion
- work and energy
- 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

- electrostatics
- currents and DC circuits
- magnetic fields in free space
- Lorentz force
- electromagnetic induction
- Maxwell's equations and their applications
- electromagnetic waves (electromagnetic radiation)
- AC circuits
- magnetic and electric fields in matter

- wave properties
- superposition
- interference
- diffraction
- geometrical optics
- polarization
- Doppler effect

- 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

- fundamental concepts
- solutions of the Schrödinger wave equation
- spin
- angular momentum
- wave function symmetry
- elementary perturbation theory

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

- introductory concepts of special relativity
- time dilation
- length contraction
- simultaneity
- energy and momentum
- four-vectors and Lorentz transformation *
- 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

- nuclear and particle physics
- nuclear properties
- radioactive decay
- fission and fusion
- reactions
- fundamental properties of elementary particles
- condensed matter
- crystal structure
- x-ray diffraction
- thermal properties
- electron theory of metals
- semiconductors
- superconductors
- mathematical methods
- single and multivariate calculus
- coordinate systems (rectangular, cylindrical, spherical)
- vector algebra and vector differential operators
- Fourier series
- partial differential equations
- boundary value problems
- matrices and determinants
- functions of complex variables
- miscellaneous

- Official Description of the GRE Physics Test
- Detailed Solutions to all ETS released tests - The Missing Solutions Manual, free online, and User Comments and discussions on individual problems
- GRE Prep Course at Ohio State University - Preparation course, with links to all 4 publicly released Physics GRE tests, as well as links to other Physics GRE resources

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Last updated on Friday October 10, 2008 at 13:48:18 PDT (GMT -0700)

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Last updated on Friday October 10, 2008 at 13:48:18 PDT (GMT -0700)

View this article at Wikipedia.org - Edit this article at Wikipedia.org - Donate to the Wikimedia Foundation

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