It depends upon the program. While some programs will require that you’ve completed various academic coursework, most graduate programs require that you take an admissions exam. There are several options available. First, decide where you want to apply. Then, research the admissions requirements for each program. Finally, determine which exam is required for each program.
GRE – The Graduate Record Exam General Test measures quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing skills. It is a computer-based test allowing test takers to skip questions and change answers. It also provides an on-screen calculator. There are five sections of multiple-choice questions with at least two sections of quantitative reasoning and two sections of verbal reasoning. The quantitative and verbal sections’ scores are reported on a 130-170 scale. The analytical writing assessment provides two prompts for you to analyze and write a short essay using the computer. This section is scored on a 6-point scale.
Some programs require the GRE subject test such as psychology. The Subject Tests are given at paper-based test centers worldwide three times a year in September, October, and April. Research your program to identify which GRE, general test or subject test, is required for admittance into the program. Scores are valid for 5 years.
Visit www.gre.org for more information.
GMAT – The exam includes analytical writing assessment, quantitative, and verbal sections. Data sufficiency and problem solving questions are intermingled throughout the quantitative section, and sentence correction, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning questions are intermingled throughout the verbal section. The verbal and quantitative sections contain computer-adaptive multiple-choice questions. For the analytical writing assessment, you will be presented with two essay topics and will type your responses using the computer. Scores are valid for 5 years.
Visit www.mba.org for more information.
LSAT – The exam is a half-day standardized test consisting of five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions. It is designed to measure reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight, the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences form it, the ability to think critically, and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others. The test is offered 4 times per year: June; October; December; and February. Scores are valid for 3 years.
Visit www.lsac.org for more information.
MCAT – The exam is a four and a half hour test only on the computer. There are four sections; the verbal reasoning, physical sciences and biological sciences sections consist of multiple-choice questions and the writing sample consists of two essays. Scores are valid for 3 years.
Visit www.aamc.org/mcat for more information.
Remember, plan ahead. Studying for these exams may take 3 months or more. So, you want to work backwards. Know the application deadline for the program(s). Put the date on your calendar. Count back six months from the application deadline date and mark the date on the calendar. Consider when the exam is offered too. This will be the target date to start studying, preparing your personal statement, and requesting recommendations. Exam fees range from $160 to $250. Therefore, you want to provide ample time to prepare for the exam. You don’t want to pay another fee to retake the test. Do you best to do well the first-time. Good luck!