Graduate Exam Cave
Which Grad School Test Should I Take?
If you are interested in attending grad school in the future, chances are you will need to take a comprehensive exam testing your knowledge before you apply. Certain tests make more of an impact on your application than others, and some are program-specific.
So how do you know which one you need to take? First, check the schools and programs you want to apply to. Some universities may not require an exam, while others will, even if it’s for similar programs.
If you do need to take one, set aside enough time to study for it. Your test scores, like your GPA, will play a significant role when the admission team considers your application.
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
The GRE is one of the most common graduate tests to gauge a student’s readiness for higher education. Much like the high school SAT, it tests students’ general knowledge and skills.
The GRE is a four-hour exam split into three sections:
- Verbal reasoning, which is reading comprehension
- Quantitative reasoning, which includes problem-solving and math
- Two essays.
The questions are computer-adapted, which means they will become more difficult if you are getting answers correct.
You can take the GRE any time of the year at specific testing locations. Subject tests are also available during specific months to determine your knowledge if you are applying for a specialty.
Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
If you want to earn a Master’s in business administration (MBA), you will most likely need to take the GMAT. Business schools are using this four-hour exam more to measure how well you can analyze and problem-solve.
The GMAT includes a tricky multiple-choice section and two analytical essays. The multiple-choice tests you on the following:
- Integrated reasoning
- Problem-solving and data sufficiency
- Sentence correction, critical reasoning, and reading comprehension
Questions have more than one correct answer but missing one marks the entire question wrong.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
Law schools all require applicants to take the LSAT before applying. Pre-law students typically take this four-hour exam at the end of their junior year and spend at least three months studying for it.
At least 100,000 people take the test each year and score an average of 151 out of a scale of 120-180. More prestigious law schools only look at students who earn top scores on their LSAT. You can find out how high you need to score at your schools of choice to be considered against other applicants.
The LSAT contains four sections of multiple-choice and essay writing. Though the committee does not grade the essay, they will send it along with your final scores to schools.
Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The MCAT is the longest exam on this list at seven and a half hours long. This test is taken by potential doctors to apply for medical school. It is recommended that you study for at least four to five months in advance.
The exam contains four sections:
- Biological and biochemical sciences
- Chemical and physical sciences
- Social and psychological sciences
- Critical reasoning and analysis