Preliminary Examinations

Preliminary Examinations

The preliminary examinations will be held on the following dates (all dates are subject to change):

Fall 2022 Preliminary Exam Dates 

Saturday, August 20
E&M, Optics, and Special Relativity

Sunday, August 21
Classical Mechanics

Saturday, August 27
Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics

Sunday, August 28
Quantum Mechanics

Spring 2023 Preliminary Exam Dates

Saturday, January 14
Quantum Mechanics

Sunday, January 15
E&M, Optics, and Special Relativity

Saturday, January 21
Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics

Sunday, January 22
Classical Mechanics

 

The preliminary exam is a closed-book 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 weekends 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.) 

Past preliminary exams and their solutions can be accessed remotely here (Berkeley login required).

Department Policy on Preliminary Exams

Description of Preliminary Exams

Expected Knowledge of Units and Basic Constants