Graduate School Entrance Exams

Taking graduate school entrance exams is an important step in the application process. Alison Beauvais ’04 has this advice:

Regardless of your major, and especially if you are undecided on what to pursue after graduation, it is a good idea to prepare for and take graduate school entrance exams before you leave. I thought I had decided to focus on my theatrical career after graduating from “K,” but now, four years later, I find myself in the thick of grad school applications for psychology and praying that my GRE scores will be enough for a second look. Minds change, but GRE scores are good for five years and there is no better time to take them than when you are already in an academic mindset.

Below you will find information about specific entrance exams including the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT. 

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

This exam is used for most graduate school programs. The format is as follows:

  • Analytical Writing
    • Two essays: analyzing an issue and formulating an argument
    • 75 minutes total, 30 for one essay and 45 for another
  • Quantitative
    • High school level math
    • 45 minutes
  • Verbal
    • Tests your sentence completion, analogies, antonyms, and reading comprehension skills
    • 30 minutes for 30 questions

Additional Information

  • Scores largely help to determine eligibility for financial aid
  • Test can be taken once per month and up to 5 times in one year
  • Test is offered nationwide at testing centers nearly every day
  • Your scores are good for up to 5 years
  • For more info visit the GRE site

Subject Tests

Some programs require the regular GRE and the subject exam. Even if your program does not require a subject exam, you may want to take it to supplement a lower GPA. You may also want to take it if you are applying to a subject that you did not take in college. Check each school for their requirements.

  • Subjects offered: Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology
  • Offered three times/year: October, November and April

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

The GMAT is required to enter business school. The format is as follows:

  • Analytical writing
    • Two essays: analysis of an issue and of an argument
  • Quantitative
    • Problem solving and data sufficiency
  • Verbal
    • Reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction

Additional Information

  • Computer-Adaptive Test (CAT) – a test that adapts to your ability level
  • Test can be taken once per month and no more than 5 times per year
  • GMAT is offered at testing centers almost every day. Register for the test online, by phone, by mail, or by fax.
  • Visit for more information

Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is required to enter law school. The format is as follows:

  • Logical Reasoning (35 minutes each)
    • Analyze and evaluate arguments
    • 2 sections of 25 questions each
  • Analytical Reasoning (35 minutes)
    • Draw conclusions, make deductions or predictions based on a predetermined set of rules
    • 25 questions
    • Presents test takers with logic ‘games’
  • Reading Comprehension (35 minutes)
    • New in June 2007 – Additional comparative reading section: Two short passages followed by questions relating to both passages
    • 27 questions
    • 3 short passages followed by a list of questions
  • Essay (35 minutes)
    • Prompted either to decide the course of action in a hypothetical scenario or discuss validity of an author’s case by examining line of reasoning
    • Not graded; used as a ‘tie-breaker’
  • Experimental (35 minutes)
    • No way to tell which part of the test is experimental
    • 25 questions
    • Extra logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, or reading comprehension
    • Used to test potential questions for future LSAT examinations

Additional Information

  • Percentile rankings are used to place you in comparison to your competition
  • Can only take the test 3 times in a 2 year period
  • Visit The Law School Admission Council for testing dates and more information

The Medical School Aptitude Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is required to enter medical school. The format is as follows:

  • Physical Sciences (70 minutes)
    • 52 questions
    • Physics, general chemistry
  • Verbal Reasoning (60 minutes)
    • 40 questions
    • Similar to reading comprehension
  • Writing (60 minutes)
    • 2 essay questions
    • Formulate an argument and convey complex ideas
  • Biological Sciences (100 minutes)
    • Basic biology and organic chemistry
    • 77 questions

Additional Information