Warning: Vitriol Spill Ahead.
The Physics GRE is an institution which seeks to test the knowledge and command which young aspiring Physicists may or may not have. To guide great minds into higher learning and those without a great deal of aptitude to find other paths in life.
There is a chance that someone actually might believe such bald faced bullshit. The scary thing is that someone who works for the Educational Testing Service may actually believe it as well. The ETS and its consortium of lackeys provide a service to the United States' Institutes of learning by assigning people a number based on their aptitude for memorization and ability to think straight at 7:30 in the morning. This number is then considered briefly by Graduate Institutions before they look at more important things, such as fellowships and the work the person in question has done. This service may possibly help some students or Universities but it is neither rigorous nor is it particularly fair.
The questions chosen by the ETS, in its infinite wisdom, to grace the pages of the test are gleaned from such hallowed books of learning as early 20th Century spectrologists' notebooks and first/second year text book "hard" problems. The ETS doesn't try to test understanding of concepts but the ability to study the highly overpriced and poorly edited test prep material that is sold to students seeking to take the test. Much of the vitriol included in this writeup is inspired by the horrific "Comprehensive Physics Review" included in the Research & Education Association's Physics GRE Test Preparation guide. It is an amalgam of what seem to be ten to twelve graduate students hastily written notes on the various subjects. Woe betide the Physicist who throws away his freshman physics text, or any text. Such tomes are filled with basically all the knowledge they need and explanations to all the equations so that they don't feel incredibly arbitrary.
Furthermore, the editing in the test prep book is on par with that of a non-native speaker. Constants and variables may be given new characters every four or five paragraphs, and neither may be standard to physicists. Current is referred to as "i" which would not be so bad if complex numbers did not figure into Electromagnetism at all levels. New variables are introduced and then left unused with no explanation. It is a truly horrible thing to have to read, no less study.
Though much of my anger and frustration is directed at my test preparation book, the ETS should still share no mean piece of the blame. It is because of their vile tests that students must whip themselves and live in fear of a piece of paper on which they believe their future could be written. The fact that such a belief is founded partly on truth would seem to promote something resembling a push toward comprehensive academic testing of pertinent understanding of the field of Physics, but such optimism is sadly unfounded.
It is a wonder they are not found guilty of racketeering.