The Dreaded Entrance Exam

I’m pretty sure that what holds up a lot of folks when it comes to applying to grad school is the dreaded entrance exam. Writing a personal statement and requesting letters of recommendation and transcripts is something you can do with relative ease. What takes the most amount of effort is studying for the entrance exam, and if you’ve been out of school for a few years, the exam can be quite a challenge. For those of you who are still in school, know this: the exam scores are good for five years. Capitalize on the fact that you’re used to studying and that a lot of the knowledge is still fresh in your head. Do yourself a favor and take the exam before you graduate. That way, if you decide to take a break from school for a few years, you won’t have to worry about taking the exam again. For the rest of you who need to take the exam, I feel your pain.

Entrance exams come in a variety of flavors and quite frankly resemble an alphabet soup: you have the MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, GRE, MAT, and even the TOEFL. Most programs tell you what exam they want you to take. If you have an option, however, it makes sense to evaluate each test to determine which one would be appropriate for you. Adam talked about each option previously, but you can find a recap of the exams below. If you intend to take the GRE, remember the exam is getting a facelift starting August 1.


Education and The Humanities
If you are applying to a program in education or the humanities, you often get the option of choosing between two tests: The Miller Analogies Test (MAT), or The Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Both tests are drastically different, and as this article points out, you should consider each on the basis of what you consider to be your academic strengths and weaknesses.

Some education degree programs may require PRAXIS exam scores for entry as well, especially ones designed for already-certified teachers.  Ultimately, many state departments of education also require PRAXIS tests to obtain certification at the end of degree programs that are designed for beginning teachers.  To learn more about the PRAXIS tests, visit this website.


Business and Accountancy programs most often require the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The GMAT is designed to test skills required by students entering into business or accountancy degree programs. To find out more about the GMAT, read this helpful article.


The Sciences, Public Administration, Historic Preservation, and Everyone Else
Here at The Graduate School of the College of Charleston, the standard requirement for most other programs continues to be the GRE.


Law School and Medical School
Everyone who is considering a law school program will have to become familiar with the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), and everyone who plans on entering medical school should prepare adequately for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). For specific requirements on these tests, contact the admissions office of the law or medical school that you’re interested in.

To everyone taking an entrance exam this Fall, we wish you the best of luck. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to drop us an email or visit us on the web.


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