Going one step further

During high school, many students focus on finding the perfect college that offers everything they want, so that after four years of hard work they can find a place in the job market.

But now more than ever, people fresh out of college are facing a fiercely competitive job market, in which everyone has at least a bachelor’s degree.

Graduate school is now an extremely popular option for students who hope that getting another degree will help put them in better standings than other competitors.

Graduate student Chris Imparato graduated from St. John’s with his bachelor’s degree this past May, but is now returning to the University to obtain his master’s degree.
“I decided to go to graduate school because most of my friends who graduated were having trouble finding jobs,” said Imparato.

“I figured there was no real rush to get in to the real world, and that hopefully in two years when I have my master’s degree, the economy will have improved quite a bit, as well as the job market.”

Another reason some may hold off going directly into the job market is the hope that in the few years that they are in school, the economy will be in a more positive state.

Just as there were the SAT and ACT to get into college, there are specialized standardized tests depending on what you are looking to get your master’s degree in.

Four popular tests that many graduate schools require prospective students to take are the GMAT, LSAT, GRE and MCAT.

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is the most common test that most graduate schools require. Students who are going to get their master’s in majors other than medicine, business and law are required to take this test in order to apply to the graduate school of their choice.

The GRE is a three-part test very similar to the SAT, analytical writing, quantitative and verbal sections. The analytical writing section includes two essays: one asking the students to write about their stand on an issue, and another asking them to choose an argument, and analyze it.

This section lasts 75 minutes, and tests a student’s skills in written English, supporting ideas with logical reasoning and ability to communicate complex ideas.

The quantitative GRE section has geometry, data analysis, algebra and arithmetic.
The math in this section is on a high school level, in which students have 45 minutes to complete.

The last section of the GRE is verbal. It consists of sentence completion questions, reading comprehension and analogies, which is very similar to the SAT.

Students have 30 minutes to complete the 30 questions in this section. Students can receive a score ranging from 200-800, and lasts two-and-a-half hours.

The next popular test is the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) which is required for most business schools. Like the GRE, the GMAT is made up of three sections, and lasts four hours.

The first section, once again, is analytical writing. It asks students to write two essays: one that analyzes an issue, and another one that analyzes an argument.

This part of the test lasts 60 minutes, allowing the student 30 minutes for each essay question. Skills that are being tested include the ability to support a point, critique an argument and mastery of grammar and rules of written English.

The second section is quantitative testing. This section has two types of multiple choice questions: problem solving and data sufficiency. Altogether there are 37 questions, and the test taker has 75 minutes to complete it.

The problem solving questions deal with basic arithmetic, elementary algebra and basic geometry. Data sufficiency questions deal with the student’s ability to analyze math problems, and figuring out what information is relevant to the problem.
The last section on the GMAT is verbal, and consists of three types of multiple choice questions dealing with reading comprehension, critical reasoning and sentence correction. This section contans 41 questions and lasts 75 minutes.

This section is given to test students on their ability to understand relationships in a passage, and to identify grammatical errors.

Most business schools tend to focus more on the student’s composite score (quantities and verbal combined) when making their admissions decsions.

The LSAT (Law School Admission Test) is one of the most well known graduate school tests and is necessary to apply to most law schools.

Unlike the GMAT and GRE, the LSAT is made up of six sections (five multiple choice, one writing sample) and last for three-and-a-half hours. Students can receive a score ranging from 120 to 180 points.

Logical reasoning has multiple choice questions that deal with evaluation and the ability to analyze arguments.

The analytical reasoning section contains logic games, and test students on conclusion drawing skills, applying logic to difficult situation and understanding effect and outcome.

The third part of the test is reading comprehension. Students must read the passages and answer a series of questions.
Finally, similar to the other admissions tests, there is an essay section where students must explain their choice of action in a specfic scenario.

The last test to get into grad school applies to students who are looking to gain acceptance to medical school, an extremely hard task to do.

Out of all the tests, the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is the most difficult, testing verbal, reasoning and writing skills, along with physical and biological science knowledge.

Most med schools value MCAT school scores as much as a student’s GPA.

The test takes students five-and-a-half hours to complete, and includes 144 multiple choice questions and two essays.
What makes the MCAT unique is the 70 minute section that tests science skills ranging from of nuclear physics to the periodic table.

These tests may seem like a looming cloud of dread for most students, since it is yet another intensive test that requires preparation, in addition to their regular class loads.

Since these tests are very important and have a lot of information in them, students can take classes to prepare themselves, with the help of trained instructors that go over the whole test.

“I looked through a couple of GRE books to get an idea of the types, and difficulty of the questions as well as whatever tips that they had to offer,” said Imparto.

Kaplan, which is seen frequently in Marillac cafeteria, offers these classes to students, but there is one down side.
Most of the time, these classes are expensive to take and it can be difficult for students to find time in their schedule to fit it in.

Online help is also available, which can be helpful to students who balance other commitments.

Preparation books are also available at local bookstores, such as Barnes and Noble and Borders.

Another alternative to prepping for the tests are buying books that include practice material from the test itself.
On Amazon.com, students can purchase the Kaplan GRE Exam 2009 Premier Program for $120.00.

Although many may say that is a bit too much for a book, it comes with a CD-ROM filled with hundreds of questions from the test and 448 pages of useful information in getting high scores.

St. John’s University offers many differnt Graduate programs.

Depending on the school that the student is applying to, the admissions test that the University requires students to take varies.

Students who are applying to the College of Pharmacy are required to take the GRE. Students who are applying for English, or in the school of Edcuation are also required to take the GRE as part of the admissions process.

Students interested in apply
ing to the Master’s program for the Tobin College of Busniess are reqired to take the GMAT.
No matter how you choose to prepare to take the test, make sure that you register in time for them.

Registration information can be found at www.princetonreview.com.