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 Physics Diagnostic Test (PDT)

Beginning term 131, the Physics Department plans to conduct a Physics Diagnostic Test (PDT) for all present and incoming Physics Graduate students. The purpose of the test is to identify students’ deficiencies so that the Department can advise them accordingly on how to remedy them before they graduate. The results of the PDT will not affect students’ Grade Point Average. Nonetheless, students will be required to take the test. The PDT is the same as the exam that our senior students will be required to take when they graduate with a Bachelor’s degree.
 
Objectives of the PDT
  • Gauge students’ broad background in undergraduate physics
  • Gauge students’ analytical skills
  • Gauge students’ written communication skills
  • Gauge students’ verbal communication skills
 
Format of the PDT
  • Part 1: One MCQ Exam  (4-hours)  (Similar to the Physics Subject GRE Exam)
  • Part 2: One Written Exam (4-hours) (Similar to the PhD Qualifying Exam in the USA)
  • Part 3: One Essay Exam (1-hour)
  • Part 4: One Oral Exam (1-hour)
 
Contents of the PDT
 
Part 1
  • Classical Mechanics (20%)
  • Classical Electrodynamics (20%)
  • Waves, Optics, & Relativity (10%)
  • Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics (10%)
  • Quantum Mechanics & Atomic Physics (20%)
  • Laboratory Methods (10%)
    -Graphical and Statistical Data Analysis, Electronics, Radiation Detection, Lasers
  • Special Topics (10%)
    -Nuclear Physics, Elementary Particle Physics, Condensed Matter Physic, Astrophysics
 
Part 2
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Classical Electrodynamics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Thermal Physics
The students will choose one of two problems from each category.
 
Part 3
  • Essay Type Question on a physics topic. The student will be given a list of topics to choose from.
Or
  • Essay Type Question: Statement of Purpose

​Part 4
  • Oral Exam: Short Presentation about a Physics Topic (Physics 101, 102 levels).
Or
  • Oral Exam: Question and Answer Session
 
Time of the PDT
  • Reporting Week (Before Classes)

Outcomes of the PDT
  • Identify students’ weaknesses and advise them accordingly to remedy their deficiencies
  • Help Physics Program be in line with its mission and achieve its goals & objectives

References
 
Foundation Courses
  • Fundamentals of Physics (Halliday, Resnick, & Walker)
  • Modern Physics (Serway, Moses, & Moyer)
Core Courses
  • Classical Dynamics of Particles & Systems (Thornton & Marion)
  • Introduction to Electrodynamics (Griffiths)
  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (Griffiths)
  • An Introduction to Thermal Physics (Schroeder)
Specialty Courses
  • Introduction to Elementary Particles (Griffiths)
  • Introductory Nuclear Physics (Krane)
  • Introduction to Solid State Physics (Kittel)
  • Introduction to Cosmology (Roos)

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