The Graduate Record Examinations
If you're heading for graduate school, the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is probably your first place to start. It is used by schools to determine whether or not you're ready for graduate-level work. It has two parts: the General test and the Subject test.
The General test measures "general" verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills. The questions are not related to a specific field of work.
General tests are usually computer-based and given at universities and certified testing centers around the world and throughout the year. One way to find a testing center is through Education Testing Services (ETS).
The Subject tests measure readiness in eight disciplines:
- Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
- Computer Science
- Literature in English
Subject tests are intended for people who majored in one or more of these eight subjects and intend to study further in that area. The tests are paper-based and usually offered in October, November, and April at certified testing centers around the world. You can find a testing center at ETS.
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
If you want to go to law school, the LSAT is for you. It measures aptitude more so than knowledge. The test includes reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. It's offered only four times a year by certified testing centers. You can find a list at the Law School Admission Council.
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The MCAT is for those of you heading for medical school. It measures verbal reasoning, physical sciences, biological sciences, and writing. The Association of American Medical Colleges has lots of helpful info, as does Tara Kuther, our Guide to Graduate School. Don't miss Kelly Roell's tips for MCAT Test Prep.
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
The GMAT is for those interested in business school, in degrees like a masters in business administration, or MBA. It measures skills, not knowledge, in the following areas: verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing.
Like the other tests, the GMAT is offered in testing centers around the world. You can find dates and locations at MBA.com. You'll also find lots of help from Karen Schweitzer, About.com's Guide to Business Majors. Tara Kuther has a ton of great stuff on her Graduate School site, and Kelly Roell can help you prep on her site, Test Prep.
Those are the four big ones. Which one is right for you?