The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized test that is designed for students interested in admission into graduate business programs. It is one of the most popular tests across U.S. and Europe. Applicants seeking admission in graduate business programs such as the MBA are recommended to take the GMAT. Many business schools use the GMAT scores as main criteria for admissions. The test was introduced in 1953 and is currently being administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council.
The test will evaluate a student’s analytical writing skills, quantitative skills, and verbal ability. Each section has a number of questions. The quantitative and verbal section usually follows a multiple-choice format. Mentioned below is the main format of the test:
AWA (analytical writing assessment) – 2 essay sections (30 minutes each)
Quantitative ability – multiple choice questions (75 minutes)
Verbal ability - multiple choice questions (75 minutes)
How to Prepare
Individuals can prepare for the exam on their own by studying GMAT prep books or with the help of prep schools and courses. There are many books available that can prove to be a useful reading source. On the other hand, practice tests are also available online. It is recommended that individuals prepare well before registering for the test.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized admission test that is a requirement for most graduate schools in the U.S. It is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The exam is designed to evaluate the applicants’ ability to pursue graduate level studies. Many schools throughout the United States base their admissions on GRE scores of applicants.
The GRE exam will measure an applicant’s verbal reasoning skills, analytical writing skills, critical thinking skills, and quantitative reasoning skills. The exam does not focus on any particular subject or knowledge area. Much emphasis is laid on the ability to answer questions in a limited time frame. The GRE test can be paper-based or computer-based. It typically takes around 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test.
This section comprises of 2 essays.
This section will entail basic math, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis questions.
This section will contain written material where applicants must properly identify sentence structures.
How to Prepare?
There are many online resources and institutions that offer GRE prep courses to students. These courses are designed to familiarize students with the test format and polish their reasoning skills. Individuals can also seek additional help through GRE practice tests and books.
The SAT is a standardized test used in the United States and other countries for college admissions. It is considered a compulsory component of the application process by majority of the US colleges and universities.
Breakdown of the SAT
The SAT is a three hours and forty five minutes long exam that is divided into three main areas:
There are 10 sections in all of the three divisions and one equating section. Except a short essay and ten out of the 54 math questions, all the questions are multiple choice. Each of the three divisions has a maximum score of 800, adding up to a total of 2400.
How to Prepare for the SAT Exam
SAT preparation gets a lot of people nervous and worked up. Start by learning some relaxation techniques. Learn how to utilize all your energies efficiently and focus them towards achieving your target. The exam is almost four hours long. Make sure you are mentally and physically prepared for that. Get hold of a SAT test prep book, or take a SAT prep course. Building up vocabulary and learning math problem solving skills are two areas that everyone should pay a good amount of attention to.
General Educational Development (GED)
The GED is a test taken by those who previously dropped out of high school and now wish to get their lives back on track. It’s a series of examinations that must be passed before you can achieve high school equivalency.
Contact your local school district and get in touch with the teachers available for adult education classes. Following this, take a practice test to analyze where you currently stand. Check if your city has a local education office or adult literacy volunteer group for this purpose. You can prepare for this exam yourself as well, but it is considered ideal if you have a teacher to help you out, especially if you have been out of school for quite some time.
Structure of the GED Test
The GED is a four-subject test, consisting of:
Reasoning Through Language Arts
The four subjects must be passed for the certification. Each section has 50 questions and except one essay question in the ‘Reasoning Through Language Arts’ section, all are multiple choice. The time allotted for each section is different according to the content of that section.
Get a minimum of 410 points on each test and a minimum of 450 overall to receive the certificate. As a requirement, GED students have to score higher than 40 percent of high school students to graduate.
The LSAT (Law School Admission Test), administered by the LSAC (Law School Admission Council) is a standardized test required for admission into a law program. This test is offered four times a year and takes about 3.5 hours to complete—35 minutes for each section. The test is scored out of 180 points and consists of the following sections:
One Reading Comprehension section
Two Logical Reasoning sections (also known as “Arguments”)
One Analytical Reasoning section (also known as “Games”)
One Un-scored Variable section
Scored on a scale of 120 to 180 points, top law schools consider a good score to be as close to the maximum score as possible. The applicant’s GPA will also weigh with the admission committee. An applicant can take the test more than once but not more than three times within a two-year period.
In order to take the test, you may need to register at least one month in advance. Currently, the LSAT requires $170 in fees, which includes a free score report. If you register late, you may have to pay an extra $66. Additional score reports cost $12. Other fees may also apply.
The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a computer-based standardized test developed by the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges). It is designed for applicants to gain admission into medical programs. This test is offered multiple times a year, with scores valid up to 2 or 3 years, depending on the admission criteria of the medical school applied to.
The MCAT consists of three main sections—Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Verbal Reasoning—with an extra optional section as well. Each section is scored on a scale of 1 to 15 points, making the maximum achievable score of 45 points.
The MCAT tests applicants on the following skills:
Basic scientific understanding
The fee structure of this test varies depending on the date of registration. The earlier an applicant applies lesser the cost he/she will have to incur. International applicants may have to pay an additional $90. Other fees may also apply.
The VCAT is a test that gauges the knowledge and abilities of those students who are applying for veterinary colleges. It is administered thrice a year, in January, October and November. These test scores help various universities determine whether or not prospective students will be able to cope with the competitive studies of veterinary science.
The structure of the test involves a total of 300 questions, all multiple choice. The total test time is 210 minutes, inclusive of rest and lunch breaks. The questions included in the test can be broken down as follows:
50 verbal questions
40 quantitative questions
40 reading comprehension questions
50 biology questions
50 chemistry questions, both inorganic and organic
Preparing for the VCAT
There are several options available for students to study for this exam. Exam prep books, sample tests and free web resources are among the more popular ones.
Fees and test dates are subject to change without notice. It would be in the best interests of the students to double check fees and dates from the candidate information booklet. You will be subject to late fees as well if your application is not submitted by the given deadline.
The ACT, started by the American College Testing Program, is a standardized test taken by students applying to colleges in the United States for their undergraduate education. Colleges and universities do take your ACT scores into account as well as your high school grades and extracurricular activities during admissions.
The test is typically 3 hours and 25 minutes long, not counting breaks in between. It consists of the following sections:
English (45 minutes)
Mathematics (60 minutes)
Science (35 minutes)
Reading (35 minutes)
Writing – optional (30 minutes)
Each section is scored on a range of 1 to 36. Your overall score for the ACT is then calculated as an average of your individual scores. You may also take the test more than once if you’re not satisfied with your score, but no more than 12 times in total.
The fees charged for registration depend on a variety of factors. While the basic registration fee is $38—which includes test score reports sent to you, your high school and four colleges of your choice—if you decide to take the optional writing test then the fee may become $54.50. There may also be additional fees charged if you register late, if you would like the test scores to be sent to more colleges, and if you accidentally miss registration for some reason.
The OAT or OCAT, which stands for Optometry (College) Admission Test, is a standardized test which is administered by the Prometric test centers. This test, along with your GPA and other related information, is weighed by optometry colleges during admissions.
The score ranges from 200 to 400, with an average score of 300. For a more detailed breakdown of the test, refer to the list below:
Quantitative Reasoning (45 minutes)
Physics (50 minutes)
Optional Break (15 minutes)
Reading Comprehension (50 minutes)
Optional Tutorial (15 minutes)
Survey of Natural Sciences – Biology, Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry (90 minutes)
Optional Post-test Survey (15 minutes)
Overall, the test may take up to 280 minutes. After completion, you may receive an unofficial score report. Official score reports are only available (and sent to optometry schools of your choice) after the auditing process is finished.
You may register for this test multiple times during a year, but there must be a time lapse of at least a month and a half before taking the test again. The registration fee is non-refundable and approximately $330. This covers official score report sent to any five optometry schools of your choice, listed on your application. Finally, if you wish to reschedule your test, you may incur additional costs.
Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
This is a specialized test that pharmacy colleges consider when selecting potential students during the admission process. It is a measure of general academic standing and the scientific knowledge necessary for the initiation of a pharmaceutical program.
PCAT Test Structure
The test includes five multiple choice sub-tests that are designed to determine the candidates’ abilities and understanding in five key areas: Biology, Reading, Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability, and Comprehension and Chemistry. In addition to these, the PCAT also includes a Writing test which gives the students an essay to write on. The entire test takes around 3 hours and 40 minutes, excluding any time for breaks. It is a challenging test, therefore students are advised to practice time management skills before taking the test.
Registration for PCAT
Almost all candidates for the test currently register and pay all fees online at the PCAT website. Other options may include registration via mail with a printed registration form. After registration, the students must schedule their test date. The test is administered three times a year. Registration for the test must be done well in advance of the deadline. All relevant dates can be found on the PCAT official website.
Transcripts are produced approximately 5 weeks after the test has been administered. Official transcripts are sent to three colleges specified by the candidates and one official transcript is sent to the candidate.
Prospective dental school students in the U.S. usually take a multiple-choice standardized exam known as the Dental Admission Test (DAT). An applicant can take this test thrice, with 90 day intervals in between, before requiring special permission to take it again. However, each time, a new application and fees must be submitted. The test fee is non-refundable.
The DAT consists of four sections:
Survey of Natural Sciences
The survey of natural sciences contains 100 questions which are divided in:
The perceptual ability section has 90 questions with six subtests:
3D form development
The reading comprehension section has 60 questions based on three reading passages on different scientific matters. Lastly, the quantitative reasoning section is made up of 40 questions, on mathematical problems and word problems on topics such as:
Probability and statistics
Applicants will have 4 hours and 15 minutes for this exam, and an additional 45 minutes are dedicated to breaks, which are used for a tutorial before beginning the exam, a break at the midway point, and a survey at the end of the paper. Your score is based on the number of correct answers you have, thus there is no negative marking for wrong answers.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
TOEFL or Test of English as a Foreign Language is a standardized test, offered via the internet. It is meant for those non-native English language speakers, who intend to enroll in the U.S. colleges and universities. The test is administered by Educational Testing Service or ETS, and measures a potential student’s university level English language skills. TOEFL consists of four sections, including:
The writings section consists of 2 questions or tasks and students are given 50 minutes to complete the section. The speaking section consists of 6 tasks and students are given 20 minutes to complete them. The listening section consists of 34-51 questions and students are given 60-90 minutes to complete the section. The fourth section, reading, consists of 36-56 questions and students are allowed to complete the section in 60-80 minutes. Students are also allowed a 10 minutes break. The test is designed to evaluate a student’s skills in writing, speaking, reading and listening, all at once. For example, students will be required to use their speaking, listening and reading skills to respond to a question.