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
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