ADVICE

Common entrance exams future master’s student should know about

SOURCE: FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP
If you want to stand out in the job market with a master's degree, you might first want to familiarise yourself with some of the common entrance exams.


By Shekinah Kannan 

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In today’s competitive job market, just about everyone is looking to stand out. Some choose to do so with a master’s degree. While a graduate programme can be a big financial investment, it can be an useful choice for undergraduates who are looking to broaden their career prospects and improve their earning potential. 

If you’re sold on the idea, it’s important to know that getting into graduate school isn’t always as easy as filling in an application form. At many colleges and universities in the US, a standardised admission test could be a requirement, making it essential for aspiring master’s students to familiarise themselves with some of the common entrance exams for postgrad students.

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So, whether you’re looking to uphold justice as a lawyer, save lives as a medical professional, or run or start a business as a CEO or entrepreneur, now’s your chance to figure it out. 

To give you a better understanding of master’s degree admissions, here’s a round up of some of the common entrance exams every master’s aspirant should know about:

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

If you’re gunning for an MBA, you might have to sit for the GMAT. It is among the common entrance exams at many business and management schools worldwide, including the US.

The testing time lasts 3.5 hours while the exam consists of a multiple-choice, computer-adaptive test to measure your preparedness for graduate-level academic work. Overall, the exam consists of a 30-minute analytical writing section with one essay, a 30-minute integrated reasoning section, a 62-minute quantitative section and a 65-minute verbal section.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Not unlike the GMAT, the GRE (or Graduate Record Examination) is a test for admission to many graduate schools, including some business schools. It is offered as a multiple-choice, computer-based exam; the testing time is close to four hours.

The GRE consists of a 60-minute Analytical Writing section, with two essays at 30 minutes per task; two 30-minute Verbal Reasoning sections; two 35-minute Quantitative Reasoning sections; and a 30-35 minute experimental section that can be either math or verbal.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

Along with an impressive GPA, an above-average LSAT score is among the essential factors law school admission officers take into consideration when reviewing applications. The exam is known to be an integral part of applying to law schools across the US, Canada, and a growing number of other countries – the only of its kind to be accepted by ABA-accredited law schools.

The exam is administered in two parts. The first is a multiple-choice exam that consists of several 35-minute sections of reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning questions, followed by a 35-minute unscored variable section. 

For the LSAT Writing section, a decision-prompt structure was designed to get candidates accustomed to excelling in the kind of argumentative writing they will be expected to produce in law school. The essay has to be completed in 35-minutes and has to be written in response to the prompt presented.

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Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

For medical admissions, the MCAT is used to test students in general chemistry, organic chemistry, general biology, biochemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology. It is a multiple-choice, computer-based exam that is a prerequisite for admission to medical schools across the US and Canada. Every year, over 85,000 people sit for the exam.

The exam is broken down into four sections: Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (95 minutes), Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (90 minutes), Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (95 minutes) and Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (95 minutes).

Applicants can expect to spend over 7.5 hours taking the MCAT, with optional breaks scheduled in between.