Senior Steps – Preparing for grad school

Seniors may be faced with the question, “Which test am I supposed to take?” For Liberal Arts and Sciences students and also engineering students who plan to go to graduate school, they must take The Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) must be taken by students applying to MBA programs. Those looking to attend law school must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). In order to attend some Education, Social Work or Counseling programs, students must take the Miller Analogy Test (MAT). Finally, those who are aspiring to become doctors must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

The GRE General Test and the GMAT are computer-adaptive tests that are available year-round with test centers throughout the world. The GRE Subject Test, MCAT, LSAT and MAT are paper and pencil tests offered throughout the year. Villanova University is a test center for most of the paper and pencil administrations.

When to test – Remember that up to six weeks could be required for scores to be processed and sent. Give your self plenty of time to meet admission deadlines. Many programs will accept scores up to five years old. Take the exam when you feel you are best prepared.

Preparation – Books, software and prep classes can all be of help. Think about what kind of help you need; an expensive prep course may not be necessary. If you only need help with math, hire a math tutor. Form a study group with friends and go over sample questions together. Villanova does not offer any prep programs. Kaplan offers a free “test drive” at Villanova each semester, where you can take a practice exam free of charge and receive a diagnostic score report. Sign up in Career Services for the Sept. 28 program.

General Advice – Take the test only once. This isn’t like the SATs where repeating is more typical. If extenuating circumstances (illness, poor testing conditions) prevented you from doing your best, retake the test and explain the circumstances in your program application. Register early to get your first choice of test center. Villanova is a popular site for the LSAT and fills up early. Some tests offer standby options, but there is always an extra fee. Plan ahead and save yourself the money and the inconvenience of testing in an unfamiliar and distant location.

All tests require you to bring photo ID on test day!

Career Services has registration booklets for the GRE, GMAT and LSAT. Contact the University Counseling Center for MAT registration.

Some helpful website about the specific graduate school exams are:,,,,