The GRE Physics test consists of about 100 questions fo five-choice format, some of which are grouped in sets and based on such materials as diagrams, graphs, experimental data and descriptions of physical situations.
The objective of the test is to determine the extent of the test taker’s grasp of fundamental principles and his ability to apply these principles in the solution of problems.
Most test questions can be answered on the basis of a mastery of the first three years of undergraduate physics.
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.
Based on prevailing curricula at the undergraduate level, the test makers decide the contents of the GRE Subject Physics. Nearly all the questions in the test will relate to material in this listing; however, there may be occasional questions on other topics not explicitly listed here.
GRE Physics Sample Questions
Practice questions play an important role in your preparation. You can download standard practice question from here for the familiarity of the test questions.
GRE Physics Contents
- 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 fundamental concepts, solutions of the Schrödinger equation (including 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 (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)