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prelim_lore:testimonials [2010/10/25 20:04]
127.0.0.1 external edit
prelim_lore:testimonials [2019/01/12 07:10] (current)
casey
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     * **SOLVE PROBLEMS!** Redo your problem sets (or, as in my case for Stellar Interiors, DO the problem sets if you haven'​t already). Complete additional questions at the end of chapters. Go back to Carroll and Ostlie and complete all the "​elementary"​ problems on the relevant topics. ​     * **SOLVE PROBLEMS!** Redo your problem sets (or, as in my case for Stellar Interiors, DO the problem sets if you haven'​t already). Complete additional questions at the end of chapters. Go back to Carroll and Ostlie and complete all the "​elementary"​ problems on the relevant topics. ​
     * My adviser told me that since I was interested in doing theory and not observation,​ my prelim would be "​harder."​ People told me not to believe him, but there is some truth to what he said. I had fewer questions of me just spurting out numbers or talking about how we observe certain things, but rather was asked to do quick derivations and justify concepts using physical reasoning (e.g., compare my questions from Heiles to other Heiles ISM prelims). Look at McCourt'​s,​ Shiode'​s,​ and my questions in comparison to Hull's or Viscomi'​s. There are (sometimes subtle) differences in the types of questions. Am I saying observers have it easy? Of course not. Carl did ask me an observation question, which to an observer would have probably been an easy question. But I initially got it wrong (though figured it out eventually). Just keep in mind that your interests "​may"​ affect what you are asked.     * My adviser told me that since I was interested in doing theory and not observation,​ my prelim would be "​harder."​ People told me not to believe him, but there is some truth to what he said. I had fewer questions of me just spurting out numbers or talking about how we observe certain things, but rather was asked to do quick derivations and justify concepts using physical reasoning (e.g., compare my questions from Heiles to other Heiles ISM prelims). Look at McCourt'​s,​ Shiode'​s,​ and my questions in comparison to Hull's or Viscomi'​s. There are (sometimes subtle) differences in the types of questions. Am I saying observers have it easy? Of course not. Carl did ask me an observation question, which to an observer would have probably been an easy question. But I initially got it wrong (though figured it out eventually). Just keep in mind that your interests "​may"​ affect what you are asked.
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 +===== Casey Lam =====
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 +Seems like nobody'​s added anything to this page in a while, so figured I'd throw in my two cents. I took my prelim in early January 2019. Subjects were Fluids (Chung-Pei Ma), Galaxies (Mariska Kriek), and High Energy (Josh Bloom). I had taken High Energy the semester before (Fall 2018), and Fluids and Galaxies the semester before that (Spring 2018).
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 +Background:
 +    * High Energy had a final exam so I spent a decent amount of time (around a week) studying for that, two weeks before my "​official"​ prelim studying began.
 +    * I spent a month preparing, beginning after finals week was over. Studying through winter break has it's pros and cons (obvious con: you spend your winter break studying. Pros: it's nicer to study at home (in my opinion), and if you take a prelim in a fall class, you'll already have studied a bunch for that.) ​
 +    * I studied every day, although sometimes it was pretty minimal, like an hour or two of reading the textbook. It helped for me to constantly have the material "​stew"​ in my mind to keep the momentum going.
 +    * I took a practice prelim a week before the actual prelim-- definitely very helpful! ​
 +
 +Advice:
 +    * **Practice your boardwork, and maybe even more importantly,​ explaining your boardwork out loud.** It's easier to write on paper or flip through flashcards and answer things in your mind, but actually getting up in front of the board is invaluable practice. ​
 +    * The oral final exams for classes are pretty representative of the prelim, and are also great practice. ​
 +    * Take your prelim as soon as possible. That way, you get it out of the way (prelim studying is pretty interruptive to your research/​life in general), and the material is fresh in your mind.
 +    * That being said, if you don't have an astronomy background from college, there'​s no problem in waiting longer to take your prelim. I had taken enough classes by Spring 2018 to do a prelim, and could have taken it that summer (which several of my classmates did), but I didn't feel ready. I found that GSI-ing for undergrad classes, in particular Astro 7A and 7B, to be incredibly helpful in understanding the "​culture"​ of astrophysics and getting the basics down. It really helped put the things from grad classes into perspective/​context.
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