It is not uncommon on campus to see signs advertising study books and practice exam CD-ROMs.
Each product promises to boost the student’s test score. However, the average student might not know what these tests are, let alone how to prepare for them.
If graduate school is in the future, a few exams are necessary. This may come as a rude awakening to students who kissed standardized tests goodbye after finishing the SAT. However, the tests available today are not as confusing once they are categorized.
The most common test taken by undergrads heading for graduate school is the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE.
Divided into three sections, the GRE measures analytical writing, verbal and quantitative skills. Much like the SATs taken in high school, the GREs indicate a student’s knowledge on subject matters emphasized in undergraduate programs.
Though the GREs are general, the company also offers what are called “subject tests” which are GREs in certain disciplines. These test eight specific subjects from the sciences such as biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, biology, chemistry, physics and psychology to English literature and mathematics.
Pam Livecchi, 23, is currently studying for her GREs. She has run into common problems facing students. “I have to relearn all this math from high school that I have forgotten in the past six or so years. Some of it I don’t think I’ve ever learned before, so I have to try and to teach it to myself, which makes it very difficult.”
When thinking of entering the medical field, MCATs are a necessity. The MCATs, or Medical College Admission Tests, are multiple choice tests designed to show a student’s knowledge of science concepts in the study of medicine.
The test is divided into four parts including verbal reasoning, physical sciences, biological sciences and a writing sample.
Students currently in Temple’s Fox School of Business face the GMATs or Graduate Management Admission Tests. The test measures basic verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills students learned as undergrads.
The GMAT is divided into three sections including an analytical writing assessment, a quantitative section and a verbal section.
Perhaps the most dreaded of all tests is the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT. Potential candidates are warned of the four to five hour marathon in testing.
The LSATs are administered by the Law School Admissions Council, and are a required entrance exam for most U.S. law schools.
With a total of 101 questions, the test is divided into five sections. Logical reasoning tests the student’s ability to analyze statements for logical errors.
Next, analytical reasoning allows students to solve complex logical deductive puzzles. The tests conclude with reading comprehension, experimental and the writing sample.
“Start studying at least six months in advance. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are and then formulate a study schedule with goals. It will make it much easier, and you will be better prepared when it comes time to take the test,” Livechhi suggests.
Michelle Nicoletto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org