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Dr. Larsen's Main Page
- WELCOME! -This is the web-page for the Fall 2020 section of PHYS 481, "Physics Problem Solving". If you're on this webpage, it is probably reasonable to figure that you are likely enrolled in the class -- so thanks for signing up. Materials on this webpage are meant to supplement information given to you in class itself. I'm not a big fan of OAKS, therefore any on-line supplementary material for the course you need can be found here. To the left, you'll find important links/syllabi/etc.
If you'd like to find out more about me or the research we do in my lab, check out my main webpage.
- About This Course -This course has several purposes that are loosely related to each other:
Class meetings are anticipated to be virtual (through Zoom) most of the time. Since this is listed as a hybrid course, we need to plan to meet at least once in person; presently we anticipate meeting live (in RITA room 363) on Monday, October 19th.
- Important Information about the Subject GRE -Although this class would be very useful for any upper-level Physics major, the major impetus for the creation of this course is based in the desire of several students to have a vehicle to help prepare for the subject GRE. Because of this, the Physics GRE exam will be the primary focus of approximately the first two-thirds of the course. If you plan on taking this test, it is my sincere hope that this class will help better prepare you for it. For students planning on taking the GRE, you should be aware of the following resources and information.
ETS Webpage (the people who administer the GRE)
Information Page for Physics Subject GRE
Link to create an account to sign up for the test.
FAQ page for the GRE Subject Tests.
Cost:$150 (Plus there are a plethora of other options you can sign up for to give ETS your money if you so desire, like registering late, requesting additional score reports, requesting "hand-scoring", etc.)
Important Dates:In 2020-2021, you have 3 dates you can take the test. (All three dates allow you to take the test here at C of C if you so desire). If you plan to graduate in May and want to have your scores in the hands of a graduate school in time to evaluate your application in time to enroll in fall, you need to take the test on one of the first two dates. (For some graduate programs with particularly early application dates, it may even be necessary to sign up for the very first test since the score reports don't go out from the second test this year until December).
This year's schedule includes both good and bad news.
The bad news: if you are in your last year and you don't look at this webpage until the first day of class, you are already too late to register for the first date -- even with late registration! I'm going to try and send everyone enrolled early an email before the semester starts to ensure that you don't accidentally miss this deadline, but it is kind of annoying.
The good news: Maybe ETS is getting slightly less evil. (Maybe). See, this year you actually have a chance to register for the second test date AFTER taking the first test (albeit with an extra $25 late penalty). Thus, it is possible to take the test on the first date, realize you bombed it, and quick register for the test on the second test date. You don't have a lot of extra time (less than a week) -- but this is an option that wasn't available until the last couple years.
More good news: You actually get to see your test 1 scores prior to going in and taking the second test. This leaves you with an additional strategy (outlined below) that most people haven't had in the past.
If you are in your last year and plan on taking the GRE in an attempt to get into a graduate school for Fall 2021, you have a few different strategies:
Test Format:Multiple Choice. 100 Questions. 170 minutes. (102 seconds per question). 5 Choices per question. No Calculators!. You are given a sheet with some fundamental constants on it.
Scoring:Each correct answer gives you +1. NOTE -- Up until just a couple years ago, you were penalized with a score of -1/4 on a question if you got it wrong. That penalty is now gone! SO GUESS ON EVERY QUESTION NO MATTER WHAT!
- Class Due Dates -I hope to run this course on a compressed schedule so that you can do as many practice tests before the real Physics GRE test dates as possible. Assuming we use this compressed schedule, the following are the due-dates for the practice tests.