Graduate Schools Admissions Test

Test taker military entrance exams
Taking a test. (Courtesy Ben Mullins)

Just as with undergraduate admissions, graduate school applications usually require standardized test scores. The test(s) you'll take depend on what type of graduate degree you're seeking. Check with the school(s) to which you plan to apply for information about required exams.

The Graduate Record Examinations® (GRE)

Many students planning to attend graduate school take both the General and Subject GRE tests.

The General Test measures verbal, quantitative (mathematical), and analytical writing skills. It is offered throughout the year at specially equipped testing centers (some on college campuses). The student's test day lasts as long as four hours, including at least 2½ hours for the exam itself.

The Subject Tests measure knowledge in specific subject areas. A student usually takes a Subject Test related to his or her undergraduate major. Subject Tests are offered very few times a year, usually at colleges, and take 2 hours and 50 minutes to complete. (The student should expect to be at the test center for up to 3 1/2 hours.)

Further information about the tests -- including how to register and how to prepare -- is available at

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is required by nearly all law schools approved by the American Bar Association. The test is offered four times a year, usually at colleges. The LSAT measures aptitude rather than knowledge; it is designed to indicate a student's readiness for success in law school. The test consists of a reading comprehension section, an analytical reasoning section and two logical reasoning sections. The LSAT takes half a day to complete.

Further information is available through the Law School Admission Council

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT®)

The MCAT is primarily a multiple-choice exam that tests knowledge of science as well as skills (such as problem-solving and critical thinking) desirable for success in the medical profession. The test is made up of four sections: Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Writing. The Writing Sample section requires the student to write essay responses to questions. The test is given twice a year at hundreds of test centers around the United States. The student should expect to spend all day at the testing center; a lunch break and other shorter breaks are included. Students must register for the test online.

Further information is available at

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT®)

The GMAT is taken by students planning to apply to graduate management programs (such as an MBA program). The three-section test measures skills -- verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing -- rather than knowledge. Actual testing takes 4 1/2 hours; additionally, short breaks are offered between sections. The test is given at centers across the country; each center has its own schedule.

You can find information about making a test appointment and about preparing for a graduate management program at

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits 

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, can help. Subscribe to to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

Show Full Article