Graduate School Exam Preparation

Learn about the GMAT test, MCAT testing requirements, studying for the LSAT and more

While some students complete their studies as undergrads, others may decide to return to school to earn master’s or doctorate degrees. These advanced qualifications are often required for careers in certain industries such as medicine, law, science, business and education. In other instances, a master’s or doctorate may improve a student’s job prospects or earnings potential.

If you are thinking about pursuing a master's or doctorate degree, explore this guide from Citizens Bank to learn which entrance exams you may need to take and the costs and other details associated with each. Read on for information about some of the most common graduate school exams: the GRE, LSAT, MCAT and GMAT tests.

Know what to expect for graduate school exams

Whether you’re curious about the GRE, planning ahead for the GMAT test, getting ready for MCAT testing or studying for the LSAT, you can use our chart to get started.

Test Required for Materials Covered Time Retakes Scores Cost
GRE Most graduate school programs, and some business schools. Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.
May also include experimental math or verbal section.
3.75 hours
Computer-administered: Once every 21 days (up to 5x per year).
Paper-administered: As often as it is offered.
Scores valid for 5 years. Students can send schools most recent score or all scores. $195*
GMAT Most graduate business school programs. Analytics, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal. 3.5 hours Computer-administered: Once every 31 days, up to 5x per calendar year at GMAT testing centers. Scores valid for 5 years. Students can send schools all scores or highest score only. $250*
MCAT Medical school programs in the U.S. and Canada. Physical Science, Verbal Reasoning and Biological Science. There is also a voluntary trial section. 7.5 hours Computer-administered: Up to 3x a year, 4x in a consecutive-year period, or a total of 7x in a lifetime. Scores valid for 2-3 years. Contact prospective schools to see how they will use MCAT score(s). $300* (over $400 for foreign students)
LSAT Most law school programs. Test covers Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension and a Writing Sample. 4-5 hours Paper-administered: Students can take the LSAT up to 3x in any 2 year period. Scores valid for 5 years. Schools will have access to all of your LSAT scores. $175*

*Test fees in this article are accurate as of June 2015. To confirm current fees, visit the website of the test in question.

Practice makes perfect when it comes to LSAT, MCAT, GMAT and GRE exam prep

Whichever test your program requires, it's important to prepare as much as you can. Scoring well on standardized tests depends on knowledge of the material, time management, attention to detail and familiarity with the test format. Whether you’re studying for the LSAT, preparing for MCAT testing, or preparing for the GRE or GMAT, practice exams are a great way to improve your test-taking ability. You can also take graduate exam prep classes in your area or sign up for self-study courses online. To learn more about these options, visit the website of the exam in question.

Be sure to give yourself ample time to study and take as many practice exams as you need to be ready for the test. If you don't do as well as you'd like on your graduate school exams the first time, that's OK! You can always retake the exam to receive a better score. However, be mindful of any limitations in regards to the number of times a test is offered or the number of attempts each student is allowed.

Learn more about paying for grad school with Citizens Bank

If a graduate degree is the gateway to your career goals, don’t let questions about cost hold you back. Once you’ve explored your options for free aid – including scholarships, grants and other financial aid – speak with a Citizens Bank Student Lending Specialist to learn more about using our competitive graduate student loan option to finance your graduate education.

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