Prepare for Key Exams
Will you need to take an entrance exam to be admitted to a graduate program? If so, which one?
The answer to these questions vary considerably depending on your intended graduate field and the specific programs to which you will apply. While there are many common entrance exams for graduate school, the most commonly required exam is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test, occasionally supplemented by a variety of GRE Subject Tests. Other key exams include the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Law School Admission Test (LSAT), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), and California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).
The list of potential exams can be quite long, so we encourage you to use this page to get started.
Learn the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is an exam required for admission to almost every law school in the United States. If you would like to become a lawyer, you will likely need to take the LSAT.
Performing well on the LSAT is extremely important for law school admission, oftentimes more important than your GPA and overall academic performance.
Taking the Exam
The LSAT itself is a two-part, 3-hour and 45-minute computer-based exam, consisting of five 35-minute sections (with one 15-minute break in the middle), followed by a final 35-minute writing section. The initial five 35-minute sections are broken up into three different categories:
- Analytical Reasoning
- Logical Reasoning
- Reading Comprehension
Registration and Timeline
The LSAT costs $200 (as of January 2020), but there are many other fees associated with applying to law school as documented by the LSAT & CAS Fees and Refunds, including a fee of $45 (as of January 2020) to send your scores to each law school to which you apply. Budget accordingly, as the cost of the whole process can add up quickly. The LSAT is offered multiple times per year (see LSAT Dates, Deadlines, and Score Release Dates for more information), but most students take this exam in the fall.
Preparing for LSAT Success is a multi-month endeavor for most students, with some students opting to use paid preparation services, and others opting to rely on free preparation materials instead. The choice is an individual one and will depend on your learning style, but taking practice tests is critical either way (see this Sample Law School Admission test for details).
For more information regarding the LSAT and law school applications, review our tips about careers in Legal Practice.