Graduation Guide: Tests

So you are getting ready to enter your senior year and you are considering grad school. Unlike college, where you only had test options- the SAT and the ACT – you now have many more options, and what test you take will depend on what kind of graduate program you are planning on entering.

The GRE – Many grad programs require that students take the GRE – in particular, humanities and stem masters programs. This differs from program to program, however, so check with the particular program that you are looking at ASAP. The GRE is a lot like the SAT in that it is a measure of the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, writing, and critical thinking skills you should have developed in undergrad. It is laid out like the SAT, but it is a bit more difficult. Also, you complete it on the computer. You sign up for an appointment to take it – you don’t take it in a big classroom setting like you would have done with the SAT. To find out how to sign up for it, visit the GRE site. Try to take the GRE about a year before you plan to enter graduate school.

Here is an article with pretty helpful advice about how to prep for the GRE.

The LSAT. For those of you planning on going to law school, you’ll be taking the LSAT. This is a sit down test that is offered four times a year and that takes about half a day to complete. Many law schools require that you take the test by December of the year before you plan to enter your fall semester of law school, though taking it earlier is advised.

Check out LSAT tips available here.

The MCAT If you are planning on going to medical school, you will take the MCAT (Medical college admissions test). In most cases, you’ll want to take the MCAT in the calender year prior to the year in which you plan to enter medical school. The MCAT site gives this advice: “If you think that you will take the exam more than once in a given calendar year, you may want to make your first attempt in January, March, April, or May. This should allow you sufficient time to receive your scores, make a decision about your second attempt, and find an available seat later in the testing year. Seats fill up quickly, especially near the end of the year, so the earlier you test and make a decision about a second attempt, the higher the likelihood that a seat will be available for you later.” This is a computer based test, but it is offered with less frequency than the GRE, so you’ll want to sign up as soon as possible.

Check out more MCAT tips here.

The PRAXIS is part of the teacher certification process. Those of you who are ed majors should be talking about this with your adviser. Check out information about NC state teaching licensure requirements here.

The GMAT is for individuals who want to get a graduate degree in management, including an MBA, a Master of Accountancy, and Master of Finance programs. If you are planning on getting an MBA, however, you most likely do not need to be worried about this right now. There are differing opinions on how long students should wait to begin business school, but most programs still prefer that students have between 2-4 years of job experience, and will usually reflect this in their admissions decisions. The reasoning here is that students who have job experience have been able to develop analytical, teamwork, leadership, analytical, and communication skills necessary to succeed in an MBA. There are some exceptions to this, and it is of course always important to do thorough research into the programs that you are interested in and to ask admissions officers this questions specifically. This Wall Street Journal article talks about some schools that are starting to admit students straight out of undergrad, and it also talks about some interesting programs that target students straight out of undergrad.



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