Entrance exams for master's degree programs vary depending on the type of program you plan to enter. Some tests are general exams that are accepted by all graduate school programs, while others are specific to a certain type of graduate or professional school. Read on to learn more about the various types of admissions tests you may want to consider taking if you are applying to graduate school.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
The GRE is the general test that is used for admission into most graduate school programs. Administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the GRE tests verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning (math), and analytical writing (essay section). The computer-based test is available year-round at locations across the United States. Scores are available at the test center and you have the option of sending the scores to whichever schools you choose. The fee to take the GRE is $195 and registration can be completed online.
Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)
The GMAT exam is primarily used for admissions decisions by business school graduate programs. If you're planning to attend business school, you should also plan to take the GMAT. It consists of a 30 minute analytical writing assignment, 12 integrated reasoning questions (30 minutes), 37 quantitative questions (75 minutes) and 41 verbal questions (75 minutes). These questions are designed to measure the skills needed to succeed in business school. The GMAT is given year-round and costs $250. While unofficial scores are available at the test center, your official scores will be sent to you within 20 days of completing the exam. Registration can be completed online.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The LSAT is specifically used for law school and has questions designed to test your ability to succeed in that environment. The test is given by the Law School Admissions Council four times a year at designated locations all over the world. It includes multiple choice questions that cover reading comprehension skills, analytical reasoning skills, and logical reasoning skills, as well as an essay. The test costs $170, with additional charges for official score reports. Scores are available three-four weeks after completing the exam.
Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The MCAT is designed specifically for those who plan to apply to medical school or other health professions school, including allopathic, osteopathic, podiatric, and veterinary medicine programs. This multiple-choice exam measures your skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of science concepts and principles, in sections that include physical sciences, verbal reasoning, and biological sciences. The cost to take the MCAT is $275 and includes distribution of your scores to the programs of your choice. Scores are available 30-35 days after completing the exam.
Before registering for any of these tests, it is important to validate the need to complete the test with the schools you are considering. In general, most non-professional graduate programs accept the GRE. Some schools may not require any exam, particularly for very strong applicants or those who have already completed an undergraduate program at the school in question. Entrance exams for master's degree programs are just one facet of your application; schools will also examine your transcripts, recommendations, and other factors when making an admissions decision.