Passing qual before the end of 2nd year?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
wubbalubba
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:30 am

Passing qual before the end of 2nd year?

Postby wubbalubba » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:52 am

I have graduated this winter, so I have a gap semester.
I want to make use of this time to prepare myself for the qualifying exams.

My goal is at least to pass the first course for each subjects (algebra 1 and real analysis 1), which is quite realistic and doable with my current knowledge. Is it worth passing the qual exam without actually taking the classes?

(What if I miss a good lecture which could make me realize something I did not learn while self studying... :oops: )

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

petrokov
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:32 pm

Re: Passing qual before the end of 2nd year?

Postby petrokov » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:11 am

I think it's worth it. I got an offer from one school, and in the acceptance letter they actually encouraged me to try to pass the quals as soon as I arrived. Some schools, including the one that gave me this offer, increase funding after a student passes the quals, so this would definitely be a plus for you. I do understand the desire to learn from a class, though, as I learn a lot better from a professor who explains things in an interesting way and who answers my questions during office hours than from just doing the problem sets in a dry textbook. I can't say this for certain, but I'm fairly sure that your school would allow you to take these classes even if you passed the quals. If anyone gave you trouble about enrolling in these classes, I don't see why you couldn't reasonably convince them that you think you'd have a better foundation to learn more advanced material after taking these classes. Plus, if you take the classes and then realize that you already understand everything perfectly, then you could dedicate more time to your other work rather than having to stress about passing the quals.

EGA
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:59 am

Re: Passing qual before the end of 2nd year?

Postby EGA » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:41 pm

wubbalubba wrote:I have graduated this winter, so I have a gap semester.
I want to make use of this time to prepare myself for the qualifying exams.

My goal is at least to pass the first course for each subjects (algebra 1 and real analysis 1), which is quite realistic and doable with my current knowledge. Is it worth passing the qual exam without actually taking the classes?

(What if I miss a good lecture which could make me realize something I did not learn while self studying... :oops: )

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.


Yes, if possible you should pass the quals before taking the class - when you arrive if possible. If you missed something that later becomes important, you can always learn it again. Passing the quals early will allow you to take more specialized courses and begin narrowing down your interests a year in advance which will likely be a big help as you transition into research (which is far more difficult than any tests you will face during your PhD).

wubbalubba
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:30 am

Re: Passing qual before the end of 2nd year?

Postby wubbalubba » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:36 pm

Thank you so much for kind suggestions!




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