For many college seniors nationwide, graduate school is often the subsequent route following an undergraduate education. Whether it be medical school, law school or a Master’s or Doctoral program in another field, students are generally required to take some form of standardized testing prior to being admitted.
The GRE, which stands for Graduate Record Examination, “is a test administered by ETS (Educational Testing Services), the same company that ultimately administers the SATs,” according to the ETS website. This test is the one that is required to get into most graduate or business schools. It contains three parts: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. The verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections are scored in one-point increments from 130 to 170, and the analytical writing section is scored on a 0 to 6 scale.
Ben Abney, a senior exercise science and pre-med major, took the GRE as a requirement for admittance into PA school, or physician assistant school.
“I hope to work in orthopedics or cardiology in the future with a career as a PA,” said Abney. “I am also maybe wanting to go into surgery.”
“To prepare for the GRE, I bought a practice book and did review problems for about a month before the exam. I took the GRE over the summer because I knew I wanted to give myself enough time to study and not get stressed out about it over school. The total cost for the test is $205,” Abney continued.
When asked if he had any advice to those taking the GRE in the future he said,
“I would definitely recommend to anyone who is going to take the GRE to do practice exams, not just review problems. The test itself is about four hours long and really drains you. Honestly, if you want to do well on the exam, studying is really important.”
The LSAT, standing for Law School Admissions Test, is a test required for any person entering law school. And, according to the test’s website, it “provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants.”
According to the LSAT website, “the LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others.” The LSAT is scored on a scale from 120 to 180.
Senior history major Ryan Grondahl is preparing to take the LSAT next month. “I study a minimum of two hours a day, and I do a lot of practice tests,” Grondahl said. “I also feel like sleep is really important. I try to be in bed by 10 p.m. most nights.”
“The LSAT would be the Ferrari of standardized tests because it relies so much on speed and accuracy,” he said.
For those entering medical school, the MCAT (The Medical College Admission Test) is required. According to its website, it is a “standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess your problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.”
According to the Princeton Review, the exam is 7.5 hours, and “consists of four sections: biological and biochemical foundations of living systems; chemical and physical foundations of biological systems; psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior; and critical analysis and reasoning skills.” The four sections are scored from 118 to 132.
So, for any students taking any graduate admission exams: study up, and best of luck!