Preliminary Examinations

Preliminary Examinations

The preliminary examinations for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 will be held on the following days:

Fall 2017 Prelim Exam Dates 

Saturday, August 19, 2017
9:00 AM -12:00 PM   Electromagnetism and Optics, and Special Relativity

Sunday, August 20, 2017
9:00 AM -12:00 PM   Quantum Mechanics

Saturday, August 26, 2017 
9:00 AM -12:00 PM  Classical Mechanics

Sunday, August 27, 2017
9:00 AM -12:00 PM   Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics

Spring 2018 Prelim Exam Dates

Saturday, January 13, 2018
9:00 AM -12:00 PM   Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics

Sunday, January 14, 2018
9:00 AM -12:00 PM   Quantum Mechanics

Saturday, January 20, 2018
9:00 AM -12:00 PM   Classical Mechanics

Sunday, January 21, 2018
9:00 AM -12:00 PM   Electromagnetism and Optics, and Special Relativity

The preliminary exam is a written examination, divided into four sections, three hours for each section: (1) classical mechanics, (2) electromagnetism and optics, and special relativity, (3) thermodynamics and statistical physics, and (4) quantum mechanics. All sections of the exam are administered twice a year on two successive Saturdays at the beginning of each semester.  Note that these divisions do not preclude the possibility of questions on one section that draw from subject material emphasized in a different section. (e.g. a question that touches on thermodynamics in the quantum mechanics section.) 

 The material covered in the examinations is outlined on the physics website.   Binders of past preliminary exams and their solutions can be borrowed from the Physics Library. Each exam is three hours long. Each section will be distributed at 9:00 AM and collected in its final form at 12:00 PM. The examinations are closed book; bring writing equipment. Examination booklets will be provided; scratch work should be done within the examination booklets.

Department Policy on Preliminary Exams
Description of Preliminary Exams