Preparing for the GRE
The physics GRE is a standardized physics test that covers the material of most of the undergraduate physics courses you take at MIT. It is a test designed to help graduate school admission committees and fellowship sponsors assess your understanding of the field. Thus, you will be required to submit physics GRE scores in most grad school and fellowship applications. Your raw score is the number of questions you answered correctly minus one-fourth of the number you answered incorrectly. Then, your raw score is converted to a scaled score ranging from 200 to 990. The conversion between the raw score and scaled score depends on the difficulty of the administered test.
The Physics GRE official website has information about the format of the GRE, as well as a breakdown of the topics.
Tips from MIT grad students
Here are some tips given by graduate students in the physics department on how to prepare for the physics GRE:
Start studying during the summer for the physics GRE in November.
The physics GRE tests your ability to quickly solve problems. In order to go through the questions quickly, you will want to have concepts, formulas, and solutions to typical problems memorized.
Only one book is currently published to help you study for the physics GRE: the book by Joseph Rea entitled "The Best Test Preparation for the GRE Physics". It has lots of practice problems, but it is not indicative of the material or difficulty of questions on the exam. The best book for studying is "GRE: Practicing to Take the Physics Test". It has three, real full length GRE physics exams. Unfortunately, it is out of print and incredibly difficult to find. The Science library has older copies of this book: one in the reference collection and two in the science library stacks, call number QC32.P73. Check availability.
If you have the time, take the exam twice. You will get a good feel of it the first time around, and you can then focus on your the areas which gave you problems before the second exam date.