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July 2015

Will I have to take an entrance exam?

Most graduate schools and programs require applicants to take a standardized entrance exam and to report the scores as part of their application. The most commonly required exams are: Exam Name Exam Info Graduate Records Exam (GRE) www.gre.org Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) www.mba.com Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) www.ets.org/praxis/prxtest.html Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) www.ets.org/toefl Contact both the graduate school and the graduate program; you may need to take a general test to apply to the graduate school, as well as a field-specific test to apply to the program. UHM does not require an entrance [...]

What will the entrance exams test?

Almost all exams test the same general areas: Verbal skills Quantitative skills Writing skills Some tests require field-specific questions. The GRE, for example, offers “Subject Areas” such as Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, English Literature, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. Think twice before taking any optional exams or optional portions of exams. If it is optional, not taking it cannot be held against you, but if you do take it, a poor score can weaken your application. In general, take whatever exams you need, but only what you need. The exceptions to that guideline are if you are an exceptional test-taker [...]

When and where will I take entrance exams?

When you should take the exam depends on when you need the scores. How quickly scores become available varies from exam to exam, so start by checking the official websites. Choose a date so that your scores will be available well in advance of your application deadlines – one month at the very least; three to four months to be safe. Scores are not usually valid forever. Graduate schools often have guidelines on how recent scores must be; check those guidelines before scheduling your exam. Finally, it is usually less expensive if you know where you want the scores sent [...]

How can I prepare for entrance exams?

For-profit companies will gladly charge you hundreds, even thousands of dollars to help you prepare for your exam. Before signing up to pay all that money, be aware that taking a commercial preparation class does not guarantee better scores and is not usually necessary. Before enrolling in a commercial prep course, take full advantage of the following: Study for long-term retention. Your undergraduate courses are designed to prepare you for graduate entrance exams. Read your assignments thoroughly and carefully, take courses that require extensive writing, use your quantitative skills daily (instead of relying on calculators and computers), and study your [...]

Which formats of entrance exams are available?

PBT stands for “paper based test,” the old pencil-and-paper format, usually proctored in large rooms. CBT stands for “computer based test,” usually offered in computer labs. Most exams are now available only as CBT, except for the GRE, which is still PBT but plans to convert to CBT only by 2008. For most students, the biggest difference between PBT and CBT is the writing section: students who can touch-type have a distinct advantage in CBT tests. In multiple choice sections, the main advantage seems to be familiarity and individual preference, although students who “mouse” with their off hand (right-handers who [...]

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