Which admission test do I need to take?
Many graduate and professional schools require applicants to take some type of entrance exam to get in. As you research graduate schools, be sure to pay close attention to which test (if any) is required.
The most commonly require entrance exam is the GRE.
Professional school programs require specific tests:
How do I register for an admissions test?
Visit the test website. Some have an online registration form you can download or print. Registration forms for many tests are also available in our office (the CLA Career Services office).
How do I prepare for it?
Preparing takes time and study, so be sure you do this well in advance of the test date. While you might be able to retake the exam, it's best to plan ahead so you do as well as possible the first time you take it. Note also that many schools will review your first score as well as any additional test scores.
Here are some key preparation tips:
Buy study-guide books
Any good bookstore will have lots of preparation study books. The CLA Career Services office also has some available for in-office use.
Review the actual exam
Review an old copy of the exam to familiarize yourself with the skills it tests and the types of questions asked. You can usually find old copies of the exam in the registration manual, on the test website, or in study guides. Once you're familiar with it, you'll be better prepared to choose your study techniques and priorities.
Take a University of Minnesota Grad School Test Prep class
It's a good way to prepare, and a cheaper option than the Princeton and Kaplan prep classes.
Take other preparation courses
Companies like the Princeton Review or Kaplan offer prep classes for the most common entrance exams, such as the GRE. These courses can be expensive. Some students really like the courses; some think they're unnecessary. Before spending money on one, thoroughly research the course and the outcomes you can expect from it.
When should I take the test?
This depends on which test you're taking, which type of graduate program you seek, and when you want to start grad school. If you're unsure of the timeline you should pursue, stop by the CLA Career Services office for advice, or talk to the admissions office of a grad program that interest you. But generally, if you're taking the GRE and want to attend grad school immediately after you finish your Bachelor's degree, you should take the test at least one year before you want to start grad school. Again, be sure to review information for your specific profession and test.
How important are my scores?
There is no one admissions formula used by all schools. Test scores are often just one factor the school considers when admitting applicants. Other key considerations are grades, recommendation letters, your personal statement, and an interview.
orth noting is that some schools review multiple test scores differently from other schools. For example, some schools will take your best score, some will average all your test scores together, or some use only the most recent score. A school's admissions office may be able to tell you which method they use.