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Graduate Standardized Exams That Are Required For Application To Study In The United States or Canada

Here's an overview of the graduate standardized exams international students need to take to study in the United States or Canada.

Standardized exams are an important part of graduate school applications in the US and Canada. It is a fundamental admission requirement of many graduate programs. It is also factored in during the allocation of graduate funding. Apart from that, some professional medical programs administer their own standardized tests to prospective students for proper assessment of academic capability.

Graduate students may also be required to take and pass English proficiency exams depending on the universities and if they are native English speakers or not. This has been covered in the post on Undergraduate Standardized Examinations.

Graduate standardized exams include:

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

GRE is the most written standardized exam for students looking to get an advanced degree in the US. It is also widely accepted in Canada and some other countries and can be taken in most countries year-round. It is taken as a computer-based test or paper-based test and recently the home testing option became available. This exam is developed and administered by ETS and it is valid for 5 years. Since the GRE is taken by graduate applicants from diverse disciplines, individual programs may evaluate prospective students using sections of the exam they deem relevant.

  • GRE General Test: It costs between $205 to $255 depending on the test location. The general test evaluates verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking level for 3hrs 45 mins (breaks inclusive). Scores range from 130 to 170 per section and the maximum score is 340. 

  • GRE Subject Test: It tests knowledge in specific areas of biology, chemistry, literature in English, mathematics, physics, and psychology. The exam is for 2hrs 50 mins for a fee of $150. 

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

This is a computer-based standardized test that evaluates quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing skills that are vital in real-world business and management. It is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) to evaluate Master of Business Administration (MBA) program applicants. A fee of $250 is needed to register and the test is valid for 5 years. The exam duration is about 3hrs 7 mins and the total score ranges from 200 to 800. It is taken multiple times a year in more than 100 countries. 

Watch Video on Graduate School Exams Below

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

This exam is computer-based and administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) to assess prospective law school students in addition to their GPA. It is taken in many countries for a fee of $200. Skills such as reading comprehension as well as analytical and logical reasoning are tested. The exam duration is 2hrs 55 mins and scores range from 120 to 180. 

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

It is a computer-based standardized test administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to test the in-depth knowledge of prospective medical students on scientific concepts. It is divided into four sections: Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills; Biological, Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems and Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior. The exam is for 7hrs 30mins (breaks inclusive) and scores range from 472 to 528. It costs $320 for test-takers in the US, its territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands), and Canada. There is an extra fee of $115 for test-takers in the 11 international test centers (Australia, Japan, China: Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Africa, Germany, Israel, United Kingdom, Singapore, Thailand). 

Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

It is a computer-based standardized test endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) to assess prospective pharmacy students. It evaluates writing, biology, chemistry, critical reading, and quantitative reasoning for 3hrs 25 mins. Candidates are required to have a strong chemistry background and the use of a calculator is prohibited. Exam score ranges from 200 to 600. This exam is available in many countries for a fee of $210.

Dental Admission Test (DAT)

It is an exam used to evaluate prospective dental students in the US and Canada. DAT can be taken year-round at Prometric test centers in the US, its territories, and Canada. DAT is administered by both the American (Take DAT at Prometric Test Center (ada.org)) and Canadian Dental Association (Canadian Dental Association (cda-adc.ca)) to assess prospective dental students in their respective countries. It evaluates candidates on the natural sciences (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry) perceptual ability, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning for about 5 hours (break and optional sections inclusive) at a fee of $495. 

Optometry Admission Test (OAT)

It is administered by the American Dental Association (ADA) on behalf of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. This exam is used by optometry schools to assess prospective students on physics, reading comprehension, a survey of natural sciences, and quantitative reasoning for $465. Like DAT, it is only available in Prometric centers in the US, its territories, and Canada. The exam spans for 3hrs 55mins and scores range from 200 to 400.

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