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Testing for Further Education: The LSAT, GMAT, and MCAT

If you are thinking about continuing your post-secondary education online, you may want to consider what qualifications you will need in order to apply to certain online schools or programs. The application process for online education courses is very similar to that of traditional institutions: you will be required to forward an application, statement of intent, and some reference letters. You may also be asked to complete certain admissions tests in order to be considered for a place in your online school. The LSAT, GMAT, and MCAT are standardized tests that are required in order to apply to specific programs.


The Law Schools Admissions Test (LSAT)

The LSAT, or the Law Schools Admission Test, is a standardized test used in the admissions process to law school. If you are applying to an online law school in the United States or Canada, it is more than likely that you will have to complete the LSAT examination. Like traditional schools, law schools online expect applicants to achieve excellent grades on the LSAT. This rigorous test is administered by the Law School Admission Council, a non-profit organization that has over 200 law school members. The test is primarily multiple choice and takes about four hours to complete.

What does the LSAT Include?
The LSAT is composed of five main sections:


  • Logical Reasoning Section: The logical reasoning section tests your ability to apply logic and to determine the main point of arguments quickly and effectively. It consists of 25 multiple choice questions that you have 35 minutes to complete.
  • Analytical Reasoning Section: The analytical reasoning section also consists of multiple choice questions. These questions test your ability to apply logic, make predictions, and draw conclusions based on limited sets of information. There are usually 25 questions which you have 35 minutes to complete.
  • Reading Comprehension: The reading comprehension section tests your ability to understand challenging scholarly texts. It requires you to read four separate passages and then answer a set of questions about the passages. This section is also 35 minutes in length.
  • Essay Section: The essay section requires you to write a short essay based on one of two prompts. You will be provided with either a decision prompt or an argument prompt. The decision prompt requires you to choose a method of action based on a certain scenario. You must then write an essay supporting this method of action. The argument prompt gives you a brief passage describing a particular case. You will need to critically examine the argument made in this case in essay form.


How is the LSAT Scored?
The LSAT is scored on a scale between 120 and 180, with 180 being the highest possible score. Most students earn a score between 140 and 159. A score above 160 is considered exemplary. The essay section is unscored, however, it will be sent to all of the law schools which you apply to as part of your application package.


How do you Take the LSAT?
The LSAT is offered by the Law School Admissions Council on particular days throughout the year. Contact this council directly for more information on specific test dates, times, and locations. You can complete LSAT registration online, over the telephone, or by mail. You will be required to pay a fee of about $115.


The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)

The Graduate Management Admissions Test, or GMAT, is required for acceptance into most business schools. If you are applying to an online business school in order to complete your MBA or another online degree, you will need to successfully complete the GMAT. The GMAT consists of three separate sections and is four hours in length. A computer adaptive test, the GMAT supplies different questions to each person taking the test.

What does the GMAT Include?
The GMAT consists of three testing sections:


  • Analytical Writing Assessment: This section requires you to write two separate essays. The first essay necessitates the analysis of an issue (you must explain and defend your point of view about a particular issue) while the second essay asks you to analyze and critique an argument. You are given 30 minutes to write each essay.
  • Quantitative Section: The quantitative section tests your ability to perform basic mathematical calculations and to interpret graphical data. You will answer 37 multiple choice questions, including problem solving and data sufficiency questions. This section is 75 minutes long.
  • Verbal Section: The verbal section of the GMAT tests your ability to read and comprehend, reason and evaluate. The section includes 41 multiple choice questions which you have 75 minutes to complete. These questions include reading comprehension questions, critical reasoning questions, and sentence correction questions.


How is the GMAT Scored?
The GMAT is scored in sections. The verbal and quantitative sections are scored together, on a scale ranging from 200 to 800 points. The analytical writing assessment section is scored separately, on a scale of 0 to 6 points. In order to be accepted into a top business school, you will need to achieve a score of a least 700 on your GMAT. Online schools and traditional business schools that are not as well-recognized will probably require a score of 600 or higher on the GMAT.

How do You Take the GMAT?
The GMAT test is offered in specific locations all over the world. In order to take the test you must register at a specific testing center. Testing dates are available throughout the year. In order to take the GMAT you must also pay a fee, which is usually around $250.


The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

The Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT, must be completed by all students who intend to apply to medical school. If you are applying to an online medical program, you will also be required to complete the MCAT. The MCAT is a very rigorous test, which takes up to eight hours to complete. Consisting of four sections, your scores on the MCAT are likely to be a major factor in your acceptance to a medical program.

What does the MCAT Include?
The MCAT consists of four main sections:


  • Physical Sciences: This section consists of 77 multiple choice questions about physical science. You have 100 minutes to complete the section.
  • Biological Sciences: This section consists of 77 multiple choice questions about biology. It must also be completed in 100 minutes.
  • Verbal Reasoning: The verbal reasoning section tests your ability to understand and evaluate information presented in a prose format. You will be given several text passages and asked to complete 60 multiple choice comprehension questions based upon the passages. This section takes 85 minutes to complete.Writing Sample: The writing sample section of the MCAT takes 60 minutes and consists of two essays. In both essays, you will be asked to formulate a thesis and support this thesis using relevant information.


How is the MCAT Scored?
The MCAT is scored according to section. The multiple choice sections are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 15, with 8 being an average score. A total score is then given based on your performance in all three multiple choice sections. A total score of 30 on the MCAT is required by most online education programs and traditional medical programs. Your writing sample is scored with a letter grade, ranging from J to K, with K being the highest grade.

How do You Take the MCAT?
The MCAT is only offered twice a year, so be sure to find out when the test is being offered and sign up early. The MCAT is offered in various locations around the world, so finding a test location should not be a problem You will need to pre-register for the MCAT and at this time you will be required to pay a fee of approximately $200.


Getting Prepared

Because these tests are so extensive and intense, numerous study guides, courses and classes are offered to help you prepare. Many university students form study groups in order to help each other get ready. Of course, individuals that have been out of school for some time likely won’t know other people preparing for these entrance exams, thereby making it difficult to form a study group. As a result, it is necessary to turn to individual tutoring sessions from professional study programs or study guides. While study manuals used to be a popular choice with many students preparing for an entrance exam, online courses and study groups are growing increasingly popular.

Enrolling in an online program for one of these tests allows you the flexibility of learning when you want, just as using a book or manual would. However, you get the added bonus of being able to interact with other students as well as an instructor who is guiding your online learning. As a result, you get immediate feedback and evaluation of your work, which helps to improve your work and, ultimately, your score on your LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT.


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