Admission Tests

What are Admission Tests?

Admission tests are standardized measures of a candidate’s performance, in academic and real-world skill areas such as:

  • Analytical Reading
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning skills

These tests may also measure a candidate’s knowledge of specific, relevant subject matter. Preparatory books and seminars are available from several publishers and services. Each ‘sitting’ of a test may cost as little as $175, and as much as $400, often paid in US Dollars, so you will want to prepare well!

Doing Well on Standardized Tests

‘Cramming’ for an admission test is a bad idea! They are challenging not only because of the broad content they typically cover, the way in which questions are asked is often tricky unless you have practiced. Remember how tricky your first all-multiple choice exam was, because you have never written one before?

Start preparing for an admission tests at least 4-6 months ahead. Depending on you, you may wish to start even earlier. It is unlikely that you will ‘overprepare’.

GRE (Graduate Record Exam)

ETS GRE Website
The GRE is an assessment of verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills that “provides schools with a common measure for comparing candidates' qualifications… GRE scores are used by admissions or fellowship panels to supplement your undergraduate records, recommendation letters and other qualifications for graduate-level study.” (About the GRE Revised General Test)

  • Half-day test offered throughout the year; strategize about a good date for you, based on your probably school-related commitments like exams
  • Free preparatory materials are available from the test administrators (see website above), and paid materials are available from a variety of sources

GRE Subject Tests: Some graduate programs in fields like Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Psychology may also request the content-focused assessment.

MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)

AAMC MCAT Website
The MCAT “…is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess the examinee's problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. Scores are reported in Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences.” (About the MCAT Exam)

  • Note: new content, including the Social Sciences, appears on the test as of Spring 2015 – overview available from the Khan Academy
  • Half-day test offered throughout the year; strategize about a good date for you, based on your probable school-related commitments like exams, and develop your MCAT study plan accordingly
  • Some free and many paid preparatory materials are available from the test administrators (see website above)

LSAT (Law School Admission Test)

LSAC Website
The LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others.” (About the LSAT)

  • Half-day test offered only 4 times per year at testing centres
  • Five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions, including a ‘trial questions’ section which will not contribute to your final score, and one 35-minute writing sample
  • A wide variety of free preparatory materials and old tests available (LSAC)

GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test)

MBA-GMAT Website
The GMAT assesses a candidate’s critical thinking, reasoning (verbal and quantitative) and communication skills.

  • Half-day test offered throughout the year; choose a strategic date based on your study plan and expected school/work commitments
  • Four 30- to 75-minute sections of multiple-choice and analytical writing questions
  • Some free and many paid preparatory materials are available from the test administrators (see website above)

PCAT (Pharmarcy College Admission Test)

PCAT Website 
The PCAT “helps identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges. It measures general academic ability and scientific knowledge…” (PCAT website)

  • Half-day test offered only 6 times per year at testing centres
  • Six 25- to 50-minute sections of multiple-choice and writing questions
  • Free preparatory materials are available from the test administrators (see website above), and paid materials are available from a variety of sources

DAT (Dental Aptitude Test)

Canadian Dental Association DAT Website
The DAT assesses a candidate’s manual dexterity, knowledge of the natural sciences (biology/chemistry), perceptual ability (angles, forms) and reading skill.

  • Half-day test offered only 2 times per year at testing centres
  • Four 30- to 60-minute sections of hands-on activity to assess your manual dexterity, and multiple-choice questions
  • Preparatory materials are available for a fee from the test administrators (see website above)

OAT (Optometry Admission Test)

Asociation of Schools of Optometry OAT Website 
The OAT assesses your knowledge of the natural sciences and physics, as well as your reading skill and quantitative reasoning. See the information provided under GRE because the conditions are similar. It is a strictly multiple choice test.

The AA&CC can help!
Attend the Graduate & Professional Schools Fair (October), go to a Preparing for Professional & Graduate School workshop, meet professionals in the field through Extern Job Shadowing program, or speak with a Career Counsellor to learn how to get relevant experience! 

 

Additional Resources
Also see our tip sheets on Applying to Graduate School and specific professional schools like these and also:

  • Physical and Occupational Therapy
  • Naturopathy
  • Nursing
  • Teaching
  • Social Work
  • Speech Language Pathology

Please note: While this tip sheet aims to ensure accuracy, requirements do change. Consider it a starting point for your further research. Visit admission test owner websites (eg, AAMC.org) for detailed, up-to-date information about admission testing content, dates and deadlines.