“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.” This quote, unironically attributed to Christopher Columbus, says as much about education as it does exploration. The path of learning entails all kinds of challenges, particularly if you want a piece of paper that proudly proclaims what you learned and where you learned it. This is to say, the more prestigious a degree from a particular school, the more obstacles and distractions an applicant will need to prevail over simply for admissions. This fundamental truth applies to both undergraduate and graduate studies alike.
Obviously, we talk a LOT about the SAT & ACT around here. These two standardized entrance exams may be taken more than any others in the U.S. but they hardly stand alone as necessary steps to specific academic programs. Most graduate programs–particularly those at the most prestigious schools–require entrance exams as well:
- Medical school requires the MCAT.
- Business school requires the GMAT or GRE.
- Law school requires the LSAT or GRE.
- Graduate school requires the GRE.
Other specialized degrees like dental or optometry programs require different exams, but GRE, GMAT, MCAT, and LSAT serve as the big four of graduate entrance exams. We work with many GRE students at Chariot Learning, but over a long career in test prep, I’ve taught, designed, and overseen instruction for all of the main grad exams. Recently, I had an opportunity to collaborate with Justin Nguyen and other educators on a terrific series explaining graduate tests on the Declassified College Podcast.
What exams do you need to take for graduate school? (6 minutes)
How to prepare for the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT (8 minutes)
As a bonus for anyone considering medical school, I strongly recommend this discussion with Elisabeth Fassas, author of Making Pre-Med Count: Everything I wish I’d known before applying (successfully!) to med school.
What questions do you have about graduate admissions tests?