Preparing for Graduate School
By: Taylor Duckett
School is out and you now have three months ahead of you to fill, what to do? Just because school is out doesn’t mean that your level of productivity should decrease. Take some time this summer to look at graduate programs or, if you’ve already decided what type of graduate school program that you want to do, start preparing for the entrance exam. Though it’s more crucial to spend time doing this if you are a junior of senior, it’s not a bad idea for underclassmen because it is never too soon to start looking ahead and preparing for the next leg of your academic journey.
The most common tests for graduate school are the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT. The LSAT and MCAT are specifically for law and medical school respectively but the GRE and GMAT serve as entrance exams for a variety of graduate programs and it’s important to know for sure which one you need to take. Depending on the schools and programs that you are interested in, it may not hurt to take both. It’s always better to over prepare then to under prepare. Here are some ideas on how to prepare for each of these standardized tests.
There are tutors available either through the school or through testing agencies that can assist with preparation for these exams. Some of the tutors can be expensive but if you do your research, it’s possible to find tutors within your price range. For the LSAT, you can ask the local law school if they have any LSAT tutors in the area that they can recommend and the tutors are usually law school students and occasionally there are professors who serve as tutors as well.
Another method is go buy study guides to review. There are electronic study guides as well as paperback ones sold in every major bookstore. Each exam has a website and on that site you can find links to online review materials and when in doubt, you can always do a Google search in order to find free practice materials. The most widely used practice books are Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Barrons. All three are reputable study guides but it may be beneficial to take practice test from all three as each may place their emphasis on different aspects of the test.
If there are old versions of the standardized test publically available, take them and take as many of them as you can. Also, most study guides come with practice test included at the end of the book. After studying the material, try and find a friend or family member to proctor the exam so that you can get a feel for what things will actually be like on exam day.
The last way to prepare for graduate school entrance exams is to talk to students who have taken them already in order to get feedback or, talk to the admissions office at the graduate schools that you are thinking of applying to. Don’t be afraid to request information about the program or school because it helps while studying if you know what types of scores you should be aiming for.
Take time to relax this summer, but while you’re relaxing, set some time aside to study and prepare for your future, you won’t regret it.
B.L.O.G. Magazine, Contributing Writer
Taylor Duckett is a student at the University of Miami majoring Economics with minors in Political Science and Business Law and she is also a student at the University of the Supernatural Ministry with a concentration on Youth Ministry. She enjoys writing creatively in her spare time and writes for her college newspaper. Taylor is a woman who strives to glorify God in all that she does.