Navigating Graduate and Professional School Entrance Exams

GRE. MCAT. PCAT. DAT. OAT. These are acronyms for a few of the entrance exams that undergraduate students applying for graduate school may have to face. In order to better prepare, here is a shortened know-how manual of the various exams and which ones to take.
Health and Medical Field Programs
The Dental Admissions Test is a year-round test that is proctored in test centers. It is accepted by 66 dental schools in the United States and 10 in Canada. This timed exam allows test-takers 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete the following sections: natural sciences for 90 minutes, perceptual ability for 60 minutes, reading comprehension for 60 minutes, and quantitative reasoning for 45 mins. An optional 45 minutes is allowed for a tutorial in the beginning, a break, and a survey. While there is no specific undergraduate major requirement, dental school applicants must fulfill the pre-requisites that vary amongst dental schools.
The Medical College Admission Test is required by most medical schools and is completely computer-based with four sections in its 7 hours and 30-minute length. It is offered 15 times a year and is known to be one of the longest and hardest exams. The four sections are comprised of the biological sciences for 95 minutes, the chemical and physical sciences for 95 minutes, the psychological and social sciences for 95 minutes, and critical analysis and reasoning skills for 90 minutes. It is important to study well for this exam as in addition to testing their skills, it is used as a predictor of the applicant’s success in medical school.
The Optometry Admission Test is a computer-based test used to measure a prospective optometry student’s skills. Similar to the DAT, the OAT has four sections: natural sciences for 90 minutes, reading comprehension for 50 minutes, physics for 50 minutes, and quantitative reasoning for 45 minutes. This four and a half hour exam is administered on a year-round basis in recognized test centers throughout the country. As with other entrance exams, it is important to verify the requirements of individual optometry schools. And like dental schools, there is no specific undergraduate major requirement, but there are pre-requisites.
The Pharmacy College Admission Test is required by some pharmacy schools for admission. Divided into five subtests, there is a variety of multiple-choice and writing questions given within the two and a half-hour time limit with a 15 minute break. The sections include: 30 minute writing section, biology section for 45 minutes, chemistry section for 45 minutes, critical reading section for 50 minutes, and the quantitative reasoning section for 50 minutes. Similar to the DAT and MCAT, application requirements vary among individual pharmacy schools.
General Graduate School Programs
The Graduate Record Examinations is a computer-based test that is offered year-round in more than 160 countries. Applicants vary from prospective graduate and business school students who are pursuing a master’s, MBA, J.D. degree, a doctoral degree, or a specialized master’s in business. The sections of the GRE include analytical writing with an “analyze an issue” task and “analyze an argument” task for 30 minutes each, two sections in verbal reasoning for 30 minutes each, two sections in quantitative reasoning for 35 minutes each, and an unscored and research section that varies.
The Miller Analogies Test is a standardized graduate school admissions test that features 120 partial analogies. The test measures higher-level thinking skills, general academic knowledge, and analytical thinking. The final score is based on 100 questions; twenty questions (unknown to the test-taker) are unscored and used for research. While the GRE is more widely known, the MAT is a shorter and cheaper alternative. Students should check the entrance exam requirements of the specific graduate schools where they plan to apply.
MBA Programs
The Graduate Management Admission Test is required by many business schools that offer MBA programs. This computer-based exam is offered at testing centers all year long and can also be taken online. There are four sections of the GMAT: the quantitative reasoning section for 62 minutes, the verbal reasoning section for 65 minutes, the integrated reasoning for 30 minutes, and an analytical writing assessment for 30 minutes for a total testing time of 3.5 hours with breaks.
Law School
The Law School Admissions Test is the only test accepted by ABA-accredited law schools and Canadian common-law law schools. Divided into two parts, the total testing time allotted is 3.5 hours with breaks. The first part of the LSAT addresses logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension. The second part is a writing prompt. Unlike the exams mentioned prior, the LSAT is only offered seven times a year and dependent on the law school, they can accept the GRE in lieu of LSAT score. Read another blog about taking the LSAT here.
When you are considering your career path and whether you want to attend graduate school, keep these exams in mind! Be sure to do further research and study beforehand for the best results on any one of these tests.
Pearson Students: What are your best study tips for standardized exams? Share in the comments below!

Sidney Li is a junior at the Ohio State University majoring in Biology on the Pre-Dental track with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is the research coordinator for her Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Exploration and Engagement scholar’s community. She is also an advocacy fellow for the Asian American Community Services and a member of the Pre-Dental club. Sidney also serves as a Pearson Campus Ambassador for Ohio State.

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Don’t be LAST to take the LSAT: Start Early!

Calling all my future lawyers: are you interested in law school? If so, this article dives into preparing for the inevitable and dreaded Law School […]
The post Don’t be LAST to take the LSAT: Start Early! appeared first on USA.

Setting SMART Goals

As an active college junior majoring in Business Administration, I have to balance between my academics and extracurricular activities. I realize that it is not easy, but setting SMART goals helps me to stay organized. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Click the link below to watch my vlog on Setting SMART Goals:
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Brionika Johnson is a junior at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources. In her free time she is a student leader on campus as the recording secretary for Pre-Alumni Council. She is a dog lover, loves to travel, and likes to spend time playing board games with her family. She loves being a Pearson Campus Ambassador on her campus and is the first-ever PCA at Tennessee State!

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Winning Writing: Email Essentials for College Students

What is one of the most important responsibilities of a college student? Selling yourself. More specifically, selling yourself in writing. Given our increasingly competitive environments, students have had to do this more than ever before! Whether your objective is to get hired by a recruiter, or just to request a favor from a busy individual, excellent communication skills are a MUST. Your utmost goal is to show that you are one in a million, not one of a million. In this brief article, I will highlight several tips for writing stellar emails.
Be you. If you are not, you are fooling yourself and the recruiter. And you could end up in a job that makes you miserable.
Show two qualities – warmth and competence.
Warmth, so that they will want to enjoy a coffee with you. Competence, so that they will want to hire you. Can you think of a story that might make the person smile, or even laugh?
Mention mutual connections.
Name someone you know whom the individual you are writing to also knows (and respects). Or have that someone introduce the two of you. Mutual connections are a great element in building rapport.
Find similarities.
Try to compare yourself to the individual. Or mention something you have learned from them. Example: “Like you, I decided my strength was in finance, not marketing.”
Keep it brief.
Make sure there is an “ask” or next step.  Keep the ask small and specific. Be direct. Make it easy to say “Yes!”
Check it for accuracy!
Then, check it a second and third time! Ensure proper grammar and spelling of names.
With increased virtual communication, email introductions have become dull and typical. Try something new to impress your audience! Here is an example.
“I hope this email finds you well.” NO. This makes you one of a million.
“Greetings from sunny California!” YES! This sets you apart.
 By applying these simple steps to your email content, you will surely stand out and display yourself as a remarkable candidate. Well, what are you waiting for? Go and reach out to that recruiter you have in mind! Best of luck!
Pearson Students: What are your favorite email openings? Share in the comments below!

Taylor King is as second-year business administration student at North Carolina A&T State University. Upon obtainment of her degree, she plans to become a corporate chief of staff, helping to implement strategic initiatives surrounding human capital management in order to achieve organizational goals. In addition to serving as a representative of the University Honors Program, she enjoys serving as a Pearson Campus Ambassador on her campus. Taylor is both a plant and animal lover, and in her free time enjoys cooking meals, spending time with her family, and drinking a hot cup of coffee every morning.

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Holiday Shopping on a Student’s Budget

Whether you started early or are last-minute shopping right now, I have a few tips to help you find deals for everyone on your gift list this year! Click the link below to watch my vlog on Gift Shopping on a Budget!
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Mary Nielson Clinton is a student at Mississippi State University studying Public Relations and Marketing and will graduate in May 2022. In her free time, she loves to spend time with friends, volunteer in the Starkville community, or get involved with her incredible campus. She is a big fan of her Australian Shepherd named Rusty and is a tour guide for MSU, amongst other things. She is honored to be a Pearson Campus Ambassador on her campus and has enjoyed every second of it.

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Recipe of the Month – Christmas Sugar Cookies

What better way get in the holiday spirit than baking and decorating cookies?! Click the link below to join my friends and me in some festive baking fun!
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Ingredient list and measurements:
Cookie Recipe:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large/extra-large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (can exchange with vanilla if allergies)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons corn syrup
3 tablespoon milk
3/4 teaspoon almond extract –
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it is stiff, add more milk. This is a nice starting point for the frosting!

Abby Adams is a junior Business Administration major concentrating in Operations and Supply Chain Management at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is pursuing a leadership minor, as well as a behavioral psychology certificate. On campus, she is a tour guide, Leadership Challenge Course Facilitator, and a member of numerous clubs and organizations. She also enjoys being a Pearson Campus Ambassador and serves as Student Editor of the Pearson Students blog. Outside of school, Abby loves attending concerts and watching the Green Bay Packers play.

How to Make the Most of Your Winter Break

So, you’ve spent the last couple of months working and studying and your midterms and finals are finally over. You now have all this extra free time and don’t know what to do with it. Well, as an expert in feeling completely lost after school ends, let me help guide you on what you should do over winter break to help you 1) prepare for next semester 2) have fun while staying safe during COVID-19!
Actually Take Time Off
First, take a few days off. Don’t jump right into your work! You just worked your butt off studying for finals and you deserve a couple of days off. Use this time to destress, sleep, binge all the shows you weren’t able to, and generally relax.
Though COVID-19 has made going out and having some semblance of a normal life very difficult, there are still some things you can enjoy safely. First, you can always cozy up in your fuzzy socks and blanket to watch a good Christmas movie. I recommend The Santa Clause– it’s a classic. If your friends are also on break, I recommend hopping on a Zoom call with them and watching the movie together. Although many of us can’t physically be in the same room, small things like this make a huge difference.
Spend Time with Friends
Next, I’d recommend scheduling time to catch up with your friends. It’s often easy to get caught up in your own world and now that everything is online, it’s even harder to connect with people. You don’t run into people randomly in the dining hall, so we have to make a conscious effort to reach out to people. Don’t be afraid to message someone you were in a group project with or even someone who you talked to in a breakout room! You never know where the best friendships could arise.
Getting Back to Work
After those few weeks, you may start feeling restless. I know I always get bored very quickly whenever I’m on break. Use this as motivation to get back to work. I know many of us are looking for summer internships and this is the perfect time to prepare. Get your LinkedIn ready, scour Google for contacts or positions to apply to, and if you’re just a freshman, don’t be afraid to work at a local company or organization. Any experience is better than no experience. And with COVID-19, job hunting virtually has been made easier than ever. Don’t be afraid to cold email or message people on LinkedIn about your interest in their position or company!
Next, try to stay on a somewhat consistent schedule and maybe start learning again. It doesn’t have to be linear algebra or biochemistry, but it never hurts to stay informed and educate yourself. I recommend finding some podcasts to listen to when doing your morning or night routine.
If you want to be extra prepared for the upcoming school year, try to find the syllabus for your classes and get ahead on readings, or the topic in general. This is going to make the future you very grateful and happy.
Before you know it, you’ll be ending your break and going back to school soon. Hopefully, you found this guide helpful and will be ready and energized to tackle the spring semester!
Pearson Students: What is your favorite thing to do over break?

Christy Zheng is a sophomore at the University of Southern California double majoring in accounting and business administration. On campus, she is involved in advocacy work for the APIDA community as well as women in the workforce through APASA and OWN IT. In her free time, Christy enjoys playing volleyball with her brothers, watching anime, eating good food, and painting! Christy is also a Pearson Campus Ambassador at USC.

Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 
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Holidays on Campus: Winter Wonderland Room Tour

Even though it doesn’t snow here in San Diego, I am from Ohio so the winter and holiday snowy season will always remind me of home. Click the link below to view my vlog showcasing how I’ve brought a little bit of home into to my winter wonderland room decor. Happy Holidays from California!

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Camryn McCrary is currently a senior at San Diego State University where she is completing her degree in Journalism and Media Studies with an emphasis in Advertising. She is currently a Pearson Campus Ambassador as well as a social media assistant for the public broadcasting station, KPBS. In her free time, she enjoys going on hikes, trying new foods and loves playing with all types of animals, especially dogs!

Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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Overcoming Failure: Reflect on the past to face challenges ahead

I am often faced with a simple adage in life: whether it be academic, personal, or career related, failure happens, but it is our ability to stand up and dust ourselves off that will drive us to success. The Latin phrase, “per Astra per aspera” or “through adversity to the stars” is emblematic of the challenges we face. Failure is a part of life, and however de-moralizing it may feel, there are lessons we learn by going through such scenarios. As an example, I recently lost an election in a race for a local Board of Education. But there are things I learned in my loss that have made me a better employee, student, and general member of society.
Reflect on your actions
Following my electoral loss, I faced the reality that the plan I had created for myself and had been following for years was disrupted. At that very moment though, I had to make a choice, either to continue the path I was headed down, unaware of what lay ahead, or reflect and figure out exactly what went wrong, and where. I created a timeline of my campaign and carefully analyzed my methods and strategy. I discussed tactics with some stakeholders in my campaign and had honest conversations with them on what I did right, but most importantly, what I did wrong.
It was here that I learned that it is a necessity for anyone, in whatever failure they may face, whether it be minor or large, that the ability to critically reflect on ones actions, and be open minded on the findings is crucial to overcoming failure. Without the ability to reflect on oneself, you are bound to repeat these failures, and as Mark Twain once put it, “There is nothing to be learned from the second kick of a mule”.
Visualize your challenges
While the ability to reflect is essential to overcoming a failure, the ability to be visionary is another. No, I am not talking about wishful idealism or a vision that ignores the enormity of challenges before you. I am talking about a vision that allows you to see the challenges and how they should be tackled.
When it relates to my electoral loss, my reflection followed a major course correction, but this correction did not underestimate the challenges before me. However masterful of a plan you create, you must embrace the nature of life, where the unexpected may suddenly appear and you must deal with it.
Follow through on the process
The last, and perhaps most fundamental characteristic of overcoming a failure is the ability to follow through. This strenuous ordeal requires a great deal of devotion, organization, and perseverance. Without follow through, the ability to craft an expansive reflection and establish a vision for the future becomes meaningless.
Failure is an unequivocal aspect of life; however, it is our ability to learn and grow that is key to our individual success. Although each of us may face unique scenarios, we are united in our struggle to ascertain a better future.

McKinley Falkowski is a history major at the University at Buffalo and is a Pearson Campus Ambassador. In his free time, McKinley helps local historians research for books on the history of his hometown, Buffalo, New York.

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A Major Decision Made Easy!

Exploring and applying to colleges was a long and difficult process, and when I finally chose to attend CU Boulder, I thought all of my decisions had been made. However, there was a new weight on my shoulders: what would I study?
Choosing a major is an extremely important decision, and at first, I felt very stressed about making it. However, I soon realized that the decision came naturally.
Take Your Time
Some people know what career path they want to follow before they even enter college, but don’t worry if you are not one of these people. College is an opportunity to explore different passions and areas of study, and you do not need to decide your major before you have the chance to explore. Most colleges want you to decide your major by the end of your sophomore year, which gives you two years to discover your passions.
When I came to CU, I knew that I wanted to eventually pursue a career in business, but I had no idea the specific area of emphasis. Business includes a plethora of career paths, from information management and data analytics to finance and accounting. My school allowed me to try all of these areas during my freshman and sophomore years and by the end, I was able to choose the field I was most excited about. I realized that I loved accounting, so I declared my major and began taking more accounting related classes my junior year.
Don’t Stress!
My advice for you if you are struggling to decide a major is to take time to explore your options. Spend the first year or two of college taking tons of different courses and finding what you love. Don’t stress too much about it! If you choose something you don’t end up liking, you can always change your major. Many people change their majors in college. It is completely normal.
Overall, choosing your major can be scary but also very exciting when you finally decide what you want to pursue. I wish you luck on your journey through discovering your passions and choosing a major!

Rachel Hutchinson is a junior at the University of Colorado Boulder studying Accounting, and also pursuing certificates in Business Leadership and Global Business. In her free time, she enjoys being with friends and trying new coffee shops. She loves being involved on campus, especially in the Leeds School of Business. Rachel has also worked as a Pearson Campus Ambassador on her campus.

Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 
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