GRE Subject Test Physics

GRE will comprises of around 100 five choice questions, Basically they will be clubbed in sets on the basis of materials as diagrams, graphs, experimental data and descriptions of physical situations.

The ultimate objective of the test is to figure out the extent of the candidates grasp of basic fundamental principles and their potential to use these principles in the solution.

The test questions can be answered based on the mastery of the first three years of undergraduate physics.

The International System i.e.. SI of units is used particularly in the test. A table of information mentioning various physical constants and a few conversion factors among SI units is presented in the test book.

The percentages of the test on the core content topics have been set by the committee of examiners with input from a nationwide survey of undergraduate physics curricula. The percentages will indicate the committee's determination of the relative focus on each topic in a typical undergraduate program. These percentages are given below along with the core subtopics consisted in each content category. However, In each category the sub-topics are stated roughly to decrease the importance for inclusion in test.

Mostly all the questions will be related to material in this listing; Also, few questions may be there on other topics not specifically listed below:

  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Optics and Wave Phenomena: 9% (Such as wave properties, superposition, interference, diffraction, geometrical optics, polarization, Doppler effect)
  • 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)
  • Quantum Mechanics: 12% (such as basic concepts, solutions of the Schrodinger equation (consisting square wells, harmonic oscillators, and hydrogenic atoms), spin, angular momentum, wave function symmetry, elementary perturbation theory)
  • 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)
  • Special Relativity: 6% (Such as introductory concepts, time dilation, length contraction, simultaneity, energy and momentum, four-vectors and Lorentz transformation, velocity addition)
  • 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)
  • Specialized Topics: 9% Nuclear and Particle physics (like nuclear properties, radioactive decay, fission and fusion, reactions, fundamental properties of elementary particles), Condensed Matter (like crystal structure, x-ray diffraction, thermal properties, electron theory of metals, semiconductors, superconductors), Miscellaneous (like astrophysics, mathematical methods, computer applications)

The candidates who are giving GRE physics must have been aware with few mathematical methods as well as their usage in physics. These mathematical methods will comprise of single and multivariate calculus, co-ordinate systems (rectangular, cylindrical and spherical), vector algebra and vector differential operators, Fourier series, partial differential equations, boundary value problems, matrices and determinants and functions of complex variables. These methods may come in the test regarding the context of different content categories and also few questions relating to mathematics on the specific topics mentioned above: