Grad School Exam Preparation

Exam preparation for Graduate School and Professional Programs and test taking strategies is important to your success into getting into a good program or college, as well as securing financial aid. Congratulations on making a positive move toward starting your college career. When you are getting ready for graduate school entry exams whether it is the GMAT, GRE, LSAT or any other standardized test, ample exam preparation is key to your success.

The tips are also useful when preparing for professional exams such as the NCLEX, PRAXIS, TEAS, PCAT, NAPLEX, PTCB etc. Knowing when and how to start your exam preparation process is important to having adequate time to prepare, without feeling a sense of being rushed or increasing testing anxiety level. Exam preparation for standardized tests is necessary, especially in learning the exam format.

Graduate Programs Tests

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is the acronym GMAT. The GMAT is used for entry into MBA programs. Prepare for the GMAT test which has three major sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative Section, and Verbal Section.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is used for many graduate degree programs. Each GRE section has a score between 200 and 800 and has three graded sections: Verbal Section: 30 questions in 30 minutes, Quantitative (Math) Section: 28 questions in 45 minutes, Analytical (Logic) Section: 35 questions in 60 minutes. There is an additional section on the GRE that is not scored. You can prepare for the GRE Test by accessing various exam preparation resources.

The Miller Analogy Test (MAT) is taken by candidates applying to graduate schools. The MAT test is a 60 minute timed test that contains 120 analogy questions. Only 100 of the questions are scored. MAT question topics cover the humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, and social sciences.

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a program of the Association of American Medical Colleges and used by medical schools as part of their admission process.

The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is a standardized test administered to pharmacy school applicant. The PCAT exam is divided into six sections taken in about about four hours. The sections are Verbal Ability, Quantitative Ability, Biology, Chemistry, Reading Comprehension and, Writing sections. Calculators are not allowed during the exam and no penalty is given for incorrect answers.

Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL is required to assess the English proficiency of people who’s first language is not English. It is required for both undergraduate or graduate study in the United states. The TOEFL is a computer-based exam that is offered all year round. It has four sections: listening comprehension, structure, reading comprehension and writing. Prepare For The TOEFL Test.

Professional Certification Examinations

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to document the competencies of registered nurses and practical nurses. Locate NCLEX exam resources.

The Praxis exams are offered by ETS. The Praxis I exam covers Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, and is an initial teacher certification test. The Praxis II series of exams are used for teacher certification in specific subject areas. PRAXIS exam preparation resources.

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Is required for admission to law school. The exam is offered three times a year. Prepare for the LSAT Test which is not really a knowledge-based test, but a thinking and reasoning-based test that tests skills in logic reasoning, logic games, reading comprehension and writing.

Regardless of the program or school you are preparing for, exam preparation is important to your success as a graduate student or professional looking to continue to grow.

Exam Taking Tips and Strategies

  • Have a positive attitude and think success. If you think you can, you will!
  • Have a plan and use it. For example make a list of topics you will need to cover. Plan extra time to cover challenging topics.
  • Don’t cram! Instead follow your plan.
  • Get enough rest the night before and eat a good breakfast on the day of the test.
  • During the rest make sure you have everything you are allowed to bring into the exam room.
  • Understand how the test is scored: Some exams drop points for answered or incorrect answers. Be sure to check the rules on your particular test. Some times it’s better to guess, other times it’s best to leave the questions answered.
  • Read and understand instructions and directions!
  • Manage Your time well. Practice this during exam preparation. Some sections my give you less time than others.
  • If you are stuck, move on. However some test do not let you go back to previous questions.
  • When taking a multiple-choice tests, start by eliminating the obvious wrong answers and then narrow down your remaining choices.
  • If you are before time is up, take the time to review your exam if you are allowed to. This will help you catch careless mistakes but be sure not to start second guessing yourself.
  • Relax and remain calm during the exam.

Exam Study Strategies

Here are a few things to guide your process and progress.

  • Choose the right form of test prep that matches your learning style. For example some people are visual learners while others are kinesthetic.
  • Put in place (and practice) a feasible plan on how and when you will study.
  • Know the format of the test very well, plus the nature and types of questions that you will be answering. For example, know how many questions are in each section, and how much time you have for each section.
  • Start preparing in advance. Do not wait till the last minute to start preparing. By the same token, take your time in learning the test format so that you don’t feel rushed. Ask for guidance and assistance. If it helps get some additional tutoring either through a teacher or a tutoring service. You can also form a study group if you learn well in groups.
  • Vary your test prep style. For example, study at different times using different methods, and using different resources.
  • Locate sample test preparation resources for example previous tests that are freely available, online resources, and book.
  • During both the test prep and the exam itself, be as calm and relaxed as you can. Get plenty of rest.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Exam preparation takes time management and organization.

Proper exam preparation takes time and plenty of practice. Investing time and resources will help increase your chances of performing well, and subsequently your odds of getting into your graduate program of choice.