Qual Archive

The Qualifying Exam of the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a test of undergraduate material at the intermediate level.  The scope is advanced undergraduate material, but is expected to be mastered at the level appropriate for someone who will eventually graduate with a Ph.D in physics.

From this page you can download copies of previous qual problems as Adobe Acrobat PDF files. (Requires Acrobat Reader

This archive goes back to 1995, and the problems have been organized by subject.  Solutions are not available, and no correspondence will be entered into as to how to solve these problems.

These problems were designed by members of the faculty of the Illinois Department of Physics, and a great deal of effort went into their construction.  The Department is grateful to them for their enthusiasm, ingenuity, and hard work.  These problems may be reproduced or circulated only if correctly attributed to the Physics Faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Typically, Illinois students prepare for the Qual by attempting these problems by themselves, under exam conditions, which is an excellent way of quickly finding "blind spots." Experience has shown that repeated study of these problems in such a way rapidly improves one's grasp of the basics of physics.  In order that future generations of Illinois students may have a fresh exposure to these problems and their solutions, please do not post solutions.  Thank you.

The qual is held once every academic year, during the first or second week of the fall semester.  Each exam consists of two parts, A and B, on which there are problems in each of four topics:

Formula sheet that may be used by students during the qualifying exam

The naming convention of the problems (and PDF files) used below is:

Sample problems to help study for the qualifying exam

Classical mechanics Statistical mechanics Quantum mechanics Electromagnetism
CMSpring95A
CMSpring95B
CMFall95A
CMFall95B
CMSpring96A
CMSpring96B
CMFall96A
CMFall96B
CMSpring97A
CMSpring97B
CMFall97A
CMFall97B
CMSpring98A
CMSpring98B
CMFall98A
CMFall98B
CMSpring99A
CMSpring99B
CMFall99A
CMFall99B
CMSpring00A
CMSpring00B
CMFall00A
CMFall00B
CMSpring01A
CMSpring01B
CMFall01A
CMFall01B
CMSpring02A
CMSpring02B
CMFall02A
CMFall02B
CMSpring03A
CMSpring03B
CMFall03A
CMFall03B
CMSpring04A
CMSpring04B
CMFall04A
CMFall04B
CMSpring05A
CMSpring05B
CMFall05A
CMFall05B
CMSpring06A
CMSpring06B
CMFall06A
CMFall06B
CMSpring07A
CMSpring07B
CMFall07A
CMFall07B
CMFall08A
CMFall08B
CMFall09A
CMFall09B
CMFall10A
CMFall10B
CMFall11A
CMFall11B
CMFall12A
CMFall12B
CMFall13A
CMFall13B
CMFall14A
CMFall14B
CMFall15A
CMFall15B
CMFall16A
CMFall16B
SMSpring95A
SMSpring95B
SMFall95A
SMFall95B
SMSpring96A
SMSpring96B
SMFall96A
SMFall96B
SMSpring97A
SMSpring97B
SMFall97A
SMFall97B
SMSpring98A
SMSpring98B
SMFall98A
SMFall98B
SMSpring99A
SMSpring99B
SMFall99A
SMFall99B
SMSpring00A
SMSpring00B
SMFall00A
SMFall00B
SMSpring01A
SMSpring01B
SMFall01A
SMFall01B
SMSpring02A
SMSpring02B
SMFall02A
SMFall02B
SMSpring03A
SMSpring03B
SMFall03A
SMFall03B
SMSpring04A
SMSpring04B
SMFall04A
SMFall04B
SMSpring05A
SMSpring05B
SMFall05A
SMFall05B
SMSpring06A
SMSpring06B
SMFall06A
SMFall06B
SMSpring07A
SMSpring07B
SMFall07A
SMFall07B
SMFall08A
SMFall08B
SMFall09A
SMFall09B
SMFall10A
SMFall10B
SMFall11A
SMFall11B
SMFall12A
SMFall12B
SMFall13A
SMFall13B
SMFall14A
SMFall14B
SMFall15A
SMFall15B
SMFall16A
SMFall16B
QMSpring95A
QMSpring95B
QMFall95A
QMFall95B
QMSpring96A
QMSpring96B
QMFall96A
QMFall96B
QMSpring97A
QMSpring97B
QMFall97A
QMFall97B
QMSpring98A
QMSpring98B
QMFall98A
QMFall98B
QMSpring99A
QMSpring99B
QMFall99A
QMFall99B
QMSpring00A
QMSpring00B
QMFall00A
QMFall00B
QMSpring01A
QMSpring01B
QMFall01A
QMFall01B
QMSpring02A
QMSpring02B
QMFall02A
QMFall02B
QMSpring03A
QMSpring03B
QMFall03A
QMFall03B
QMSpring04A
QMSpring04B
QMFall04A
QMFall04B
QMSpring05A
QMSpring05B
QMFall05A
QMFall05B
QMSpring06A
QMSpring06B
QMFall06A
QMFall06B
QMSpring07A
QMSpring07B
QMFall07A
QMFall07B
QMFall08A
QMFall08B
QMFall09A
QMFall09B
QMFall10A
QMFall10B
QMFall11A
QMFall11B
QMFall12A
QMFall12B
QMFall13A
QMFall13B
QMFall14A
QMFall14B
QMFall15A
QMFall15B
QMFall16A
QMFall16B
EMSpring95A
EMSpring95B
EMFall95A
EMFall95B
EMSpring96A
EMSpring96B
EMFall96A
EMFall96B
EMSpring97A
EMSpring97B
EMFall97A
EMFall97B
EMSpring98A
EMSpring98B
EMFall98A
EMFall98B
EMSpring99A
EMSpring99B
EMFall99A
EMFall99B
EMSpring00A
EMSpring00B
EMFall00A
EMFall00B
EMSpring01A
EMSpring01B
EMFall01A
EMFall01B
EMSpring02A
EMSpring02B
EMFall02A
EMFall02B
EMSpring03A
EMSpring03B
EMFall03A
EMFall03B
EMSpring04A
EMSpring04B
EMFall04A
EMFall04B
EMSpring05A
EMSpring05B
EMFall05A
EMFall05B
EMSpring06A
EMSpring06B
EMFall06A
EMFall06B
EMSpring07A
EMSpring07B
EMFall07A
EMFall07B
EMFall08A
EMFall08B
EMFall09A
EMFall09B
EMFall10A
EMFall10B
EMFall11A
EMFall11B
EMFall12A
EMFall12B
EMFall13A
EMFall13B
EMFall14A
EMFall14B
EMFall15A
EMFall15B
EMFall16A
EMFall16B