Walking blindly into a graduate school exam can be a disaster. A little bit of information and a lot of understanding of what to expect can be the difference between the grade you need and the grade you get.
So, while you have to spend many hours studying the content, you also need to know a lot about the exam itself. Knowledge is power, so the more you know, the less intimidating the test will be.
Here are some of the essential facts you need to know about graduate exams:
1. There are different exams
You might have heard of the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT. These are the four most common graduate school exams. Which one you’ll need to take depends on your field of study. Whether or not you need to take the exam at all depends on the graduate school you plan to attend. While most insist on the admission exam, not all do.
You should be applying to more than one graduate school as there’s a chance you won’t get into your first choice. When following the application process, make sure you know what the exam requirements are so that you can fulfill them.
2. The exams are structured
Whichever graduate school exam you have to write, you can find out about it online to get an idea of the structure. It will influence your preparations for the exam. Your MCAT prep should include breaking your studies up into the four sections the test comprises. This strategy will help you manage your study timetable for any of these exams.
Find out if the exam is done on a computer or whether you have to write it by hand. Forewarned is forearmed. To get a clear picture of what it will be like, take several practice tests as part of your preparations.
3. These exams cost money
Registration fees with testing centers apply when you write a graduate school exam. The price varies depending on the test. The frequency with which the tests are administered depends on which exam you’re writing.
Make sure you’ve budgeted for and saved the registration fee well before the time. You don’t need the additional stress of worrying about how you’ll afford it when you need to be focused on the test itself. Unfortunately, registration fees are not a once-off payment. If you retake the test, you’ll have to pay these costs again.
4. You can retake the exam
Not getting a high score in a graduate school exam isn’t the end of the world. You can retake the test as many times as you like, provided you are prepared to pay the registration fees.
Nobody likes the idea of having to write an exam more than once. However, there is always the chance that you might need to improve on your score to secure a spot at the graduate school you want to attend.
5. You’re not alone
Don’t feel that you’re the only person struggling to prepare for a graduate school exam. If you know of fellow students who are going to be writing the same exam, form a study group. You can support each other and strengthen one another’s preparations. Study groups are the ideal way to maintain your morale when the preparations become overwhelming.
In terms of resources, there is a lot that you can access. These include some of the materials you need to study as well as practice tests you can take to see if you’re ready or not. Some of these resources are free, while others require a payment. However, most people who pass these tests with flying colors can vouch for how helpful they are.