This Saturday, many people like myself will be taking the Physics GRE exam, and many more will be taking other ETS standardized tests.  If you have had any interaction whatsoever with ETS, you have probably come to one easy conclusion:

They are the devil.

This is not an exaggeration; I’m pretty sure after Satan indwelt Judas Iscariot, he went on to start a standardized testing “non-profit” organization that rakes its forced customers over the coals every time they turn around.  But that’s not the point.

Okay it is the point.  And a subpoint is that because ETS is so devilish, their tests are not only difficult, but tricky.  And in preparation for battle with the Enemy, I have created the following short list, borne of what I’ve learned from my own studying procedures, which I am going to use to prep myself right before I go in to the test.  I have shared it with you so that you may not lose heart but may be strong and courageous for the fight with ETS this Saturday morning.

Things to Remember For The PGRE

  • Units, Orders of Magnitude, and Limits!
    • Check to see if the problem can be solved by comparing units, checking orders of magnitude, or taking infinite limits (use L’Hopital’s rule).  This will in general be fastest.
    • If all else fails, use physics on the problem.
  • Remember Positronium
    • Who knows why?  ETS is freaking in love with positronium.  It has a ground-state energy of -6.8eV, or half that of regular hydrogen.  Don’t forget!
  • Relax, Don’t Stress
    • That’s what they want.  Don’t waste your time on lengthy problems.  Move on, move forward.  They’re all worth the same.  If it were up to ETS, you’d spend all your time on the first problem.  Which brings us to the final point:
  • ETS Hates You
    • They will do whatever they can to take your money.  Don’t be caught off guard by stupidly-worded questions, minor hangups like “negative charges” (i.e. meaning you have to use LHR instead of RHR), “All true… EXCEPT,”  units given in cm, mm, dm, Angstroms, or any other converted unit.
    • They’ve taken enough of your money and time.  It’s time to end this.