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BellaOnline's Graduate School Editor

Preparing for Admissions Testing

Even though you have a bachelor's degree (or will have soon), you still need to prove to the university you wish to attend that you are worthy of admissions. How do you do that, other than provide transcripts and letters of recommendations? You participate in standardized admissions testing.

"Aack! No! I thought I was through with testing when I took the SAT/ACT." You groan dramatically.

Sorry to pop your bubble, but the reality is that standardized admissions testing is as much a part of the life of a potential graduate student as it is for the potential undergraduate. The key to successfully surviving this process lies in proactively preparing for standardized testing.

Find Out Which Test You Must Take
Each admissions test has its own quirks. The GRE is targeted for general graduate admissions. The GMAT is used for admissions to graduate schools of business, management, finance and occasionally economics. The LSAT is for law school admissions. The MCAT for medical school admissions, etc.

Most graduate schools don't provide you with an option; but, if you do have a choice of tests that you can take for admissions purposes, you'll need to do a little research to find out which test your skills would best fit.

Become Familiar with the Test Format
Some tests are more heavily weighted in math, others in reading/vocabulary, and still others require heavy analytical skills. If you have the option of choosing which test to take, then make and take the opportunity to take practice tests and see which type of test you do best with. However, if like most potential graduate students, you don't have an option, you'll need to focus on building the skills that will help you through the test you must take.

Build Your Test Taking Skills
If its been a while since you last took a standardized test, you really need to consider doing some prep work. You don't have to sign up for a class--though students do find this type of tutoring beneficial--but I do suggest that you at least pick up a book or two about the test; and, check out your options for taking free practice tests.

Most of the testing companies as well as some of the publishers who put out test prep materials make practice tests available in one form or another.

Make Test Day as Stress Free and Positive as Possible
There's a lot to be said for the power of preparation positive thinking, but you also need to make certain that you've taken steps to make your test day a good one.

Familiarity, practice and positivity really are key in preparing for standardized admissions. Take the time and make the extra effort to prep for your admissions test. It'll really pay off in the long run.

Until next time!

Lynn Byrne

Graduate School Site @ BellaOnline
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Content copyright © 2013 by D. Lynn Byrne, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by D. Lynn Byrne, Ph.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Nicole Amos for details.

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