Top 4 Graduate School Entrance Exams (And Some Tips for Preparing…)

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graduate school entrance exams

Are you thinking about going to graduate school? Good for you! Perhaps you’re a college student, or just looking for a career change? There is no better way to advance yourself personally or professionally than to pursue a higher degree! Applying to graduate school can be a lengthy process, and entrance exams play an important part. Zeroing in on the tests you’ll need to take, and beginning to prepare is a great way to begin.

Most graduate schools require an entrance exam as part of the application process and these are the most common:

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is the most commonly required admissions test for graduate school. The exam consists of three sections: “Verbal Reasoning,” “Analytical Writing” and “Quantitative Reasoning” and takes just under four hours (including breaks) to complete. Scores are valid for up to five years. A great thing about this test is that you can take it multiple times, and only send schools your best set of scores!

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is the test you’ll take if you’re applying to a business program. Pretty much all graduate business schools require their applicants to take the GMAT. There are four sections: “Analytical Writing Assessment” “Integrated Reasoning” “Quantitative” and “Verbal.” The exam takes three and a half hours and scores are valid for up to five years.

If you are specifically applying to medical or law school you will need to take the  MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) or the LSAT (Law Schools Admission Test) respectively.

The MCAT is required for medical school applicants. It consists of four sections and takes about seven and a half hours to complete. Scores are valid for three years. The LSAT is for law school applicants and consists of six sections. Scores are valid for up to five years.  

It is important to do your absolute best on whichever test you take. A high test score on your exam may be the difference between acceptance into graduate school and rejection. That’s why it is critical to research the best ways to prepare for your specific exam. There are many professional study courses available, and you should go online and see what people are saying about the quality of any course you’re considering.

In addition to course offerings, you should consider getting a hold of practice exams, or actual exams as a means of studying and familiarizing yourself with the format of the test. For the LSAT, you can purchase official previous tests by going to the Law School Admission Council’s website,

For the GRE, if you struggle with Math, you should know that the material on the GRE is 7th, 8th and 9th grade math. Any standard math textbook may be of help. Or for free online learning, nothing beats Khan Academy.

We wish you well on your exams and with the rest of the application process!