I might be the worst person in standardized test but it is something that is really important for graduate school to the point that the majority of schools will not look at your application if you score lower than the average of the school applicants.
There are many standardized test for graduate and professional school such as the MCAT, PCAT, GMAT, LSAT but the most common one is the GRE.
If you are not going to study something specialized like business, medicine or pharmacy, the GRE is the test that you will used. It have a quantitative and verbal part. The English part is compose of readings, synonyms and antonyms, writing and fill in the blank with words that you not normally will used.
Plan strategically, if you are the kind of person that need someone to motivate you to study then you should consider a prep course if you have the money to pay for it, since they tend to be really expensive. The most common companies are the Princeton review and Kaplan.
If you can’t pay for this courses there are tons of free apps that can help you practice all the areas of the test or are designed for a specific part of the test.
There are also books that you can buy, they are usually range 12-30$, that will help you practice the test.
Additionally, the GRE have a simulation practice test that you can take two-time where you can see in which part maybe you need to study and put more effort as well to see if you take the test today what will you score. Your goal will be to score around the 50% or more because then is when usually your application can be look in a more holistic form.
People should take at least a full two months to study. I never had the time though because I always had a million things to do and never score around the 50% so it doesn’t mean you will not have interview or will not interview in top places but it will be more like a help to get more interviews. You want to give them all the reason to not reject you and everything good plus a good test score will be enough to give you at least one interview.
If you are international or Puerto Rican and your degree is not from US or UK you are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS test to study in the US (we will not enter into why this is so politically wrong). The TOEFL and the IELTS have a reading, synonyms and antonyms, writing, fill up the blank, listening part (where you will hear a conversation or story and answer base on what your heard) and a speaking component (where you might hear a story and then you have to answer the questions). I think the difference between both exams is the IELTS you have to do the practice in person or at least that is what my old roommate told me.
The application page of the university often tells you which is a good score and it varies between universities and also between different programs in the same university.
TIPS for the test day
I recommend you to go really comfortable clothing and also warm because those room are often frozen. If you are like me that you are not an early person and you don’t have breakfast before 9 am bring snacks because you have like a 10 min break where you can eat some. Have a good sleep the night before, stay calm and relax, maybe listen to music that pumps you before going to the test room. Bring only what you need (which is your registration and ID and maybe the snacks), because you don’t know how good is their storage and you can’t enter anything to the test room.
If you already took one of these test feel free to share your experience and/or tips
I wish you the best if you are taking any of these two test.
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