How To Beat The 4 Major Causes Of Getting A Low ACT Score

The ACT test is a major college admission test that will move you one step closer to your academic and career goals. This test is bound to evaluate how capable you are to study in college, particularly in your chosen schools. Amazing boons await you if you get a high score in the ACT test, that’s why it makes sense to prepare well for such an exam by adhering to an effective ACT test prep program.

Your goal is to do away with getting a low ACT score. But why do students get a disappointing score? You ought to know the reasons why so that you can delve into their underlying causes and find solutions to overcome them. What are the causes of getting a low score in the ACT test?

  • It was too late when you started your study program. You may have been behind schedule when you started your ACT test study plan. Months of studying is actually required for the ACT subject matters to sink in your wits. This usually is the case not only for the ACT but for other standardized tests such as the SAT and the GRE, among others. Other than your knowledge, these tests are bound to challenge your reasoning ability, too. You will be evaluated on your skills to infer and predict as well as draw conclusions which are not typically practiced in your daily school life. To remedy this dilemma, you should arrange an efficient and effectual ACT study program several months prior to taking the exam. Pay attention to the days that you have reserved for your ACT test prep and be committed to do your studying tasks as scheduled.
  • You need to apply a more effective learning style for your test prep. Do you do well with studying on your own or with a group or a class? Are you more adaptable to taking online quizzes or do you prefer quizzing with your friends? Be sure to implement the learning style that you can settle in. This way, you can really absorb the topics that you are studying for in the ACT test. The key to this is to determine whether you are an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner. Take the quiz online and stick to the studying method that is most effectual for your learning.
  • You are not familiar with the structure and the approach of the ACT test. Your test prep for the ACT ought to be different from the other exams that you encountered. Although the items in the ACT are derived from the usual tests that you have tackled in high school, they are presented in varying methods. They’re like your vocabulary quiz and midterm exams delivered in possibly more complex ways. In this case, the best solution is to take practice exams that will familiarize you with the test question strategies and structure of the ACT test. Come the big day, you won’t be taken aback by what you see on your test booklet because hey, you’ve seen them before!
  • You may be too pressured and causing yourself anxiety. Studies have shown that a significant number of students suffer from test anxiety before, during and after taking the ACT. Test anxiety is an overwhelming feeling, and it can lead to your thought processes bogging down. As a result, you might get a low score in your test. As a resolution, you have to look for ways to prevent test anxiety. Practice deep breathing, do some calming visualization for your mind and some stretching exercises to boost your circulation and relax your muscles. Lighten up and believe in yourself and in the thought that you have sufficiently prepared for your test and will even ace it.

These are some of the predominant reasons why students get a low score in the ACT test. But now that you know, you can plan ahead and prevent these quandaries. Ample time of preparation and being aware can go a long way and take you to the right direction when it comes to the ACT test and your academic goals.

Should You Finish High School Or Take The GED Exam?

You obtain a high school diploma after completing four years of secondary education, while the GED diploma is attained after taking a 7.5-hour exam. What’s the real deal between the two? Both a high school diploma and a GED diploma are credentials proving that you possess the knowledge and skills of a high school graduate. Getting hold of either means that you are ready to study in college or work for a job that requires high school level education. There are untoward reasons why many students drop out of high school and are unable to receive a secondary education diploma and therefore take the GED exam.

Why Do Students Drop Out Of High School?

In a study conducted by Statistic Brain in 2015, it was indicated that every year, 3 million students in the U.S. drop out of high school. At Clemson University, the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network cited that some of the major reasons why students drop out of secondary school are family-related, school-related and employment-related. In particular, the following are the reasons why a student may be unable to finish high school:

  1. An illness that made him/her miss too many school days
  2. Conflicts with other students or their teachers
  3. Teen pregnancy or early parenthood
  4. Needing to work in order to support their family
  5. Getting bored with their studies
  6. Financial problems
  7. No parental support

If a student drops out of secondary school because of these and other reasons, their next option is to take the GED exam. As a high school equivalency credential, the GED is recognized in all the 50 states- the only one of its kind. The GED exam includes 4 subjects: Math, Science, Social Studies and Reasoning Through Language Arts. The whole time duration of this test is 7.5 hours, but you have the option to take each subject separately on different days. You can take the GED if you are at least 17 years old and are not currently enrolled in high school.

Use Your GED Credential For The Right Reasons

Both the secondary education diploma and the GED diploma qualify you to be someone who has the skills and knowledge of a high school graduate. However, the real difference lies when you apply for college or a job. The prospective colleges and employers that you apply to will tend to ask you why you took the GED. To gain their favor, you have to inform your future college or employer that you are holding a GED diploma for the right reasons. The key to achieving your educational or career goals is to provide a solid reason why you took the GED instead of finishing high school.

So if, for example, money problems have made you decide to quit secondary school, you can tell your prospective employers that you dropped out because you plan to go to college nonetheless. In the same way, you can also tell them that you want to land a better job. As much as possible, you want to give the impression that you are a driven and responsible individual.

If you’re planning to take the GED so you can finish your college education earlier, it is best to consult the matter with your school guidance counselor. This way, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the pros and cons of your decisions.

If you think that taking the GED is the right option for you, aim to pass it with flying colors. Don’t settle for a mediocre or passing score, especially if you want to study in a well-merited college or university. Many schools consider GED scores that are above the passing rate. It thus makes sense to adhere to an effective test prep program that includes GED study guides, joining online classes and taking GED practice tests to boost your chances of achieving your best score.

The Study Schedule That Got Me a 254 on the USMLE Step 1

Every one has a strategy, everyone has advice. The important thing to ask yourself when studying for the USMLE is what study strategies work for you? I stayed very faithful to what works for me. Here are the 5 questions I asked of myself when deciding how to tackle studying.

#1) What kind of a learner am I?

There are visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners. A visual learner learns by seeing information in diagrams, charts, graphics, etc. An auditory learner are the annoying people who can just sit through lectures and remember everything. They also learn well in group study sessions, by repeating things aloud, listening to podcasts, etc). The kinesthetic (or tactile) learner likes hands-on learning, practice, teaching someone, performing questions, etc.

While many people are a combination, I knew that I was a visual learner. If I’m trying to get someplace and my GPS in my phone has been dismantled by elves, if someone tells me directions, I’ll get lost (so I’m clearly not an auditory learner). Even if I’ve driven someplace before, I can get lost (so not quite a kinesthetic learner). However, draw me a map and I’ll never forget where I’m going. Never in a million years. Knowing this I knew how to proceed.

#2) Realistically, how much time can I spend in a day studying?

The answer for me was 6 hours. I knew this from medical school. No matter how I cut it, whether doing 6 hours all at once or 2 hours in the morning, afternoon, and evening, my mind would begin to shut down after 6 hours. That was just me.

#3) What are the resources for which I have time?

Time is your most valuable resource before the USMLE. Therefore, I went with one main resource: First aid for the boards. Theoretically, if you know every word of that book, you will do well. I augmented this with two other books. The books were (1) BRS Pathology, and (2) Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple. Some people swear by Guillon audiotapes, but I am not an auditory learner, so I ignored them. Then of course you need a question bank (Qbank or USMLE World).

#4) What strategy will assure memory retention?

There is no sense studying something if you are going to forget it the next day. As a visual learner, the key to my learning is to write stuff down and re-organize it so I could see it visually. So I did my tried and true 3-exposure learning technique which got me through most of M1 year:

Exposure 1: Read & highlight

Exposure 2: Write out charts, graphs, mneumonics, etc.

Learning theory says this step should happen within 24-hours of exposure 1.

Exposure 3: Try questions to test knowledge.

Keep track of persisting mistakes.

Rinse and repeat for the areas in which you continue to test poorly.

#5) What will my schedule be… so when I should I schedule my exam?

The USMLE-study schedule is a gut-wrenching thing to write. I found solice in two things: Math & Flexibility.

Math: After making a list of all the topics (essentially the Table of content in First Aid), I figured out how long each topic would take me. For example: The Cardiology section is 30 pages long.

Exposure 1: Read & highlight will take me about 1 hour at 2 minutes a page.

Exposure 2: Write out, write out, write out will take me twice as long (2 hrs)

Exposure 3: Questions for me was 50 questions = 3 hours to review

I review only a few questions, but in great detail. Therefore, if I wanted to do the reading and at least 150 Cardiology practice question, it would take me two 6-hour days. I repeated this scheduling method for each topic and put it on a calendar. And, yes, time spent organizing is never time wasted.

Flexibility: After 2 NBME practice exams (one at 1.5 weeks and the other at 3 weeks), I adjusted my schedule to allow for more time studying subjects in which I was weak. For those subjects, I would go back to more in-depth resources such as BRS pathology and Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple and would double the number of practice questions (I was usually completing about half of the available questions).

Finally, I always scheduled in 1-2 days a week as pop-off valves for topics that needed more attention.

Schedule your exam based off of the estimated time you calculate that will need. Adjust your schedule based on your weaknesses, but try not to linger too long on a particular subject. If your day for endocrinology runs out, for instance, move on and pencil it in for your “pop-of valve” day. Near the end, a lot of people get burnt out. Eventually your brain reaches its limit and the stuff that goes in, pushes other stuff out. At this point, there is no sense delaying the test. Trust your method and stick to the strategies that work for you.

Tips on Applying to Graduate School

Graduate school provides a more specialized level of training and enhanced, expert instruction in a particular field. The most critical decision in applying to graduate school is not in selecting the institution but rather in identifying the most favorable area of study. Unfortunately, the decision-making process does not end there. Other considerations such as timing, location of study, financial aid, and the student population should all be given appropriate attention.

In this publication, we offer tips to jumpstart your search for a Master’s or Doctoral degree. We explore the common reasons for applying, the selection process, test taking, and the necessary preparations leading to attendance. These guidelines will provide you with insights into approaching the application process with confidence and will serve as a reference as you go through the application steps.

Good luck!

I. Top Reasons for Applying to Graduate School

Career Change/Advancement

People with several years of working experience often realize that their career path slowly becomes limited, or even spares no room for professional growth. Some also discover that their skill set is no longer applicable to their field of exposure and subsequently pursue specific training in their industry as a means to move forward.

On numerous occasions, a rank-and-file employee may have already acquired a knowledgeable understanding of how a company is managed, and may wish to pursue a supervisory position in the company or in another enterprise. Whether you are planning to switch careers or aiming for advancement, a graduate education can greatly offer more flexibility.

Increased Salary

Higher earnings directly correlate with higher education. Management and/or supervisory positions are often restricted to those with advanced degrees, thus limiting your earning potential if you do not have these advancements. According to studies, a graduate degree holder in the United States can earn an average of 33% more than someone with a bachelor’s degree alone.

Personal Improvement/Intellectual Stimulation

Discounting future career and income potential, other people opt to pursue graduate studies simply because they love to learn and are genuinely interested in acquiring more knowledge on their chosen field.

II. Determining if Graduate School is the Right Choice for You

Graduate school is perfect for people who enjoy research and learning. It is not ideal for people who merely want to take more courses, or for those who are in a rush to get a job.

Undergraduate study differs from graduate education in that it requires more of your time, motivation, and effort. It also entails forming professional and personal relationships with professors and other students. Generally, it challenges you in what you want to achieve in your life.

III. The Right Time for Graduate School

The right time to pursue an advanced degree is situational. You can embark on graduate school right after you receive your bachelor’s degree, a year after graduation, or even several years later. If you are approaching graduation, and you have decided that graduate school is the next step for you, it may be helpful if you ask yourself the following questions:

1) Are you ready for another three to eight years of studying?

2) Should you take time off before moving on to graduate school?

3) If you want to take time off, why?

If the main reason for taking time off is fatigue, then ask yourself if the two or three months of vacation before graduate school can help you revitalize yourself. If you are convinced that graduate school is the next step for you, then there is no reason why you should delay your application.

Right after Graduation

If the knowledge you acquired in your undergraduate education is specifically relevant to your graduate program, then this option may be the right one for you. Other reasons for going straight to graduate school include your excellence as a student; your current status of having few (or no) obligations, both personally and financially; and your interest in pursuing an area of expertise that requires a graduate degree.

Take time to ensure that graduate school is right for you. Advanced study requires a considerable amount of motivation and the ability to work independently. Sometimes, a vacation from studying may help intensify your motivation and enhance your skills. As such, you may want to consider the following option.

After a Sufficient Rest Period

Many graduates take a year off before they start their graduate program. You can use this time to work, both to help you fund your studies and to gain experience. Perhaps, you simply want to travel. If you are traveling, remember to apply for courses at the right time, keeping in mind that you might be asked to attend an interview or an admission test. You will need to plan well ahead, sometimes as long as 18 months prior to application. In the case of some overseas programs, it is common for students to put together a timeline before they begin focusing on their time off.

It is important to understand that pursuing a graduate degree a number of years after undergraduate study is not uncommon. Some time off can be valuable if it improves your qualifications and primes you for the pressures and rigors of graduate school.

After Working Full-time

The reasons for acquiring work experience before graduate school include acquiring a better understanding of your professional objectives, obtaining relevant work experience, and developing a more responsible attitude toward studying. If you know in advance that you intend to pursue a graduate education after several years of work, look for an employer with a tuition reimbursement program. Often, employers are willing to finance part, or all, of the expenses entailed in graduate study.

While Working

The biggest percentage of the graduate school student population consists of part-time students. The idea of supplemental education is a growing trend because rapid industry changes affect almost all fields of expertise. Continuing to work, whether on a part time or a full time basis, can also be a means of paying for expenses incurred during the course of your graduate study.

IV. Master’s vs. Doctoral Degrees

It is a common misconception that a prospective PhD student must possess a Master’s degree to enter a doctoral program. Although majority of graduate programs do require this, it is not always the case. It is better to conduct your own research and investigate the degree requirements for a program as opposed to making an assumption. In this booklet, we provide some of the more significant differences between being a Masteral and a Doctoral candidate.

The Masteral Candidate

You will spend, on the average, about two years in graduate school. The purpose of this program is to provide you with solid education in a specialized academic discipline

Your First Year The enrollment process is similar to that for undergraduate study. You are required to fulfill the coursework requirements of your degree. However, the work will be heavier, the course topics will be more specialized, and much more will be expected from you than when you were an undergraduate. With your adviser’s help (chosen by you or assigned by the program), you will start to solidify your academic focus.

Your Second Year You may take more advanced classes to complete your course requirements. Having determined your research direction, you will gradually spend more effort toward the completion of your thesis. Depending on your pace, you may need one semester or an entire academic year for you to finish your masteral thesis, the objective of which is to show your mastery in your area of study.

The Doctoral Candidate

You will spend, on the average, five to six years in graduate school. The purpose of the program is to provide you with comprehensive knowledge of your field, prepare you to conduct original and significant research, and make you ready to become a member of a teaching faculty.

Your First Three Years You will enroll in classes to fulfill your degree requirements and obtain comprehensive knowledge of your field of study. You will gradually establish your research direction, often consulting with an adviser (usually) appointed at the start of your graduate study. By the end of your second or third year, you would have completed a thesis or taken comprehensive exams, or both. The thesis and/or exams will allow your professors to evaluate your capabilities to continue with doctoral studies.

Your Last Three Years Coursework becomes a minor component of your academic workload, and may even disappear as you conceptualize your dissertation, a novel and significant contribution to the available knowledge in your specialization. You will teach more and more classes and gradually collaborate more with senior faculty members. You will form a close professional relationship with a faculty member who shares the same research interests as you do, and he/she will become your dissertation adviser. Your program will end with the completion of your dissertation, which may entail an oral defense of your research before a panel of faculty members and/or experts in the field you are in.

V. Selecting a Graduate Program

The following are some of the more important factors and questions that students need to consider and answer when deciding on what graduate program to apply to.


This criterion will ultimately depend on your interests, but we always suggest job market consideration. Certain fields may undergo positive developments after a few years, while those that are currently experiencing rapid growth may become stagnant.


A graduate program’s ranking is critical for some prospective graduate students. They believe that a program’s ranking signifies the quality of education they will receive and the level of resources that will be available to them. However, different sources of information – school Web sites, published rankings, and independent ranking organizations – all have specific criteria for evaluating a specific program. Students should therefore be aware of the factors that are considered in determining a program’s ranking, as well as the evaluation methods (if any) that are implemented.


Location can play a large factor in your graduate school experience. You will establish many ties in graduate school and should therefore consider if the school of your choice is located in an area that you would consider living in. On the other hand, if you are looking for temporary residence in a place you have no intention of living in permanently but desire to live in for a few years, graduate school is an opportune time to gain that experience. Wherever you are, you should be comfortable with the location because you will be (usually) staying in that place for the next two to eight years of your life. Some questions you need to ask yourself are the following: Are you more partial to a small or large school? Urban or rural? Country or city?


Take into account all direct and indirect costs (tuition, miscellaneous fees, books, and especially cost of living) and the availability of financial assistance. The amount of financial assistance you receive often depends on whether you are pursuing a Master’s degree or a PhD. It is not unusual for a university or college to waive tuition requirements if you are applying for a doctoral program. Moreover, many PhD students are given some form of funding or stipend.

Admission Standards

It is better to select a graduate program with stringent admissions standards. Schools with lower admission requirements may provide a lower quality of graduate education. Majority of schools and universities make this type of information available to the public. Look for the base requirements for admission; these usually include the necessary undergraduate GPA and standardized test scores.

Teaching Personnel

Narrowing down your program choices will prove much easier if you are definite about your research interests. It is recommended that you apply to programs where the faculty members have research interests that coincide with yours.

It has often been stated that a graduate program is only as good as its faculty. It is important to learn from and train under professors who are respected and recognized in their chosen specialty. The easiest way to evaluate the quality of a program is to look at the proportion of classes taught by full-time faculty. At the same time, indicators such as the number of scholarly publications and the professional experience of the teaching staff could also provide insights into the reputation of the faculty.


Check if the program you intend to apply to has the facilities/amenities that you need. Can they provide you the tools necessary for your research? It is important to investigate whether the “state-of-the-art” facilities promoted by the school or university are truly as claimed.

Time for Completion

Ask yourself how quickly you want to complete the program. Do you want to finish in two years? Three? Four? Do you have other plans after earning your graduate degree and thus have to finish it within a specific duration of time?

Career Planning

If your reason for going to graduate school is career related, then it will be wise to find out what types of professional development activities are available in the program/university you are pursuing. Are there opportunities for networking or training with actual practitioners in the field of specialization you have chosen?

Many students love the field of study they are in, but are confused with what specific positions they can apply for after graduation. The program or department will have information regarding the average salary earned by their graduates and the proportion of students who land jobs after graduation. You can also check if the department has connections with various organizations/companies to assist its students in finding employment after graduation.

VI. Finding Top Graduate Schools

Seek Out Fellow Graduate Students

Seeking out and talking to students enrolled in your program of interest is one of the best ways to conduct research on graduate schools. Getting the “inside scoop” on what you can expect upon admission into a program will certainly help you obtain “real-life information” about the program. Aside from obtaining information on courses, tuition, and faculty members, you may also be lucky enough to hear personal experiences with regard to the quality of instruction, the rigors of the program, and other factors that will aid you in making a decision where to apply.

Graduate School Rankings

Graduate school rankings provide a practical guide for finding the school that is suitable for you. Aside from general rankings, information such as average grades and test scores are included in these records. This will help you establish whether or not your qualifications are competitive.

In fields such as medicine, business, and law, rankings can be very useful. Rankings in these disciplines are frequently determined based on meticulous scientific evaluations, and if applied properly, these can direct students toward organizing their applications by enabling them to highlight the aspects they will be competitive in. Nonetheless, these rankings are not the end-all and be-all of selecting the right graduate school. Many students focus too much on international or national rankings. Combined with careful research, however, graduate school rankings can most certainly point you in the right direction.

VII. Applying for Admission


The following materials are generally required for applying to graduate school:

a. A completed and signed application form

b. The application fee

c. Certified true copies of transcripts from colleges and universities attended

d. Statement of Purpose or a Personal Statement

e. Recommendation Letters

f. Standardized test scores

VIII. Timetables for Applying to Graduate School

The earlier you complete your application, the better your prospects for admission. In this manual, we provide two options of a timetable you can utilize as you prepare for your application to graduate school. Carefully review each, and choose the one you believe will work best for you.

TIMETABLE (Option 1)

1. Conduct research

– Obtain information online – both institutional and external sites – and visit campuses (if possible).

– At graduate school fairs, speak with representatives from the schools. Collecting materials is often less effective than spending your time in verbal communication with people who are a reflection of the school. Generally, the material in brochures and distributed paperwork contains the same information as that of the online site. Talking to people may help you make better use of your time.

2. Prepare for the required standardized tests (i.e., GMAT and TOEFL)

– This is between one and six months ahead of taking the tests, depending on your initial level.

3. Start drafting your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose

– Think about your accomplishments, relevant experiences, influences, and inspirations.

– Identify your goals and reasons for pursuing graduate study and/or the specific graduate program.

4. Obtain your Letters of Recommendation

– Decide on and speak to the people you wish to get recommendations from; make sure you give them plenty of advanced notice.

– Discuss your plans, and remind them of your academic/professional achievements and capabilities.

– Give them clear and realistic deadlines for writing the letter (six to eight weeks).

– Follow-up with a call three or four weeks after making your request to find out how the letters are progressing (and as some recommenders have busy schedules, to remind them to start writing the letter).

5. Request for your undergraduate transcripts

– Do this at least two months before you submit your application.

6. Take the standardized tests

– Request that the scores be sent to the schools.

7. Finish drafting your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose

– Provide copies to friends and colleagues and ask them for their opinions regarding your work.

– Obtain the services of a professional English language review and editing company like KGSupport to enhance your essay’s content, improve English usage, and make your statement competitive.

– Type or write neatly. If your application is unreadable, it cannot be evaluated.

8. Mail all completed applications

– Do not wait for deadlines. Submit early!

– Keep photocopies for your records.

TIMETABLE (Option 2)

9-12 months before graduate school starts

– Select the programs you wish to enroll in.

– Obtain application forms and requirements from the university/school. Inquire from the admissions office if you have any questions.

– Decide who you will ask to write your letters of recommendation.

7-9 months before graduate school starts

– Start drafting your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose.

– Collect your Letters of Recommendation.

– Complete the application in preparation for submission. Double-check that all necessary information has been provided. Read the instructions and follow them carefully.

– Keep photocopies of your application form, Personal Statement, undergraduate transcript, and Letters of Recommendation.

6-8 months before graduate school starts

– Submit your application documents. Check if there is a difference between deadlines for online submission and mailed applications.

– Begin looking for housing if required.

5-7 months before graduate school starts

– Request that your undergraduate transcripts be sent to your intended school/s.

– Acceptance letters are usually sent out around this time. If you have not heard from your school, contact them to make sure your application is complete.

3-6 months before graduate school starts

– Complete all your admission requirements: final transcripts, registration, medical checks, others

IX. Standard Tests/Exams Necessary for Application


1. GRE – Graduate Record Examination (General and Subject)

The GRE General Test measures a person’s verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills acquired over a period of time, and not related to any specific field of study. The standardized score serves as a yardstick for evaluating your qualifications as an applicant.

The GRE Subject Tests measure undergraduate proficiency in the following eight disciplines:

Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Literature in English, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, and Psychology

2. IELTS – International English Language Testing System

The IELTS is an internationally recognized English language test. It enables students to show their ability to pursue courses in English. It is accepted by universities in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. However, it is not accepted by most universities in the United States. The score that students must obtain to be eligible in a university that requires IELTS depends on the course and the university.

3. TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

The TOEFL is the most widely accepted English language test in the world. It measures the spoken and written ability of non-native, English-speaking students. It is best to check the Web site of the university/school you wish to apply to before deciding on which English test to take.

4. TOEIC – Test of English for International Communication

The TOEIC assessment measures the capability of non-native English-speaking people to use English in everyday work activities.

5. TSE – Test of Spoken English

The TSE assessment measures the verbal communication ability of nonnative English speakers in an academic or professional environment.


1. LSAT (Law)

The LSAT is intended to measure skills regarded as indispensable for success in law school: accurate reading and comprehension of complex texts, organization of information and the capacity to obtain logical inferences from it, critical reasoning, and analysis and assessment of the reasoning and opinions of others.


The GMAT is a standardized test that aids business schools in evaluating the qualifications of applicants for advanced degrees in business and management. It is often used by business schools as a predictor of academic performance. The GMAT measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that have been developed through education and employment.

GMAT requirements vary depending on the school. You should research on the average GMAT scores at the universities you wish to apply to. This information should be readily available. Remember that top business schools view a score of at least 600 as competitive.

3. MCAT (Medicine)

The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice test intended to evaluate an applicant’s problem-solving, critical-thinking, and writing skills as well as knowledge of scientific concepts and principles essential to medical study. These scores are considered by medical schools as an essential factor in their evaluation process. Majority of medical schools in the United States require applicants to submit MCAT scores.

4. DAT (Dental)

General academic competence, grasp of scientific concepts, and perceptual ability are among the factors measured by the Dental Admissions Test.

X. The Admissions Interview

Although not all graduate programs conduct admission interviews, it is better to be prepared for this possibility, especially if the university, program, or field you are applying to is particularly competitive.

What is the purpose of the admissions interview? Sometimes, graduate school applicants are not as ideal for a program as they appear on paper. Therefore, the interview helps the people involved in the selection process to identify if a candidate can be successful in their program. It often provides insights into a person’s motivation, fundamental knowledge, and interpersonal and communication skills.

The interview process is different for each university and program. It may even vary within the program itself, depending on the person or panel handling the interview. During your interview, do not expect the interviewers to remember anything about you. They may have read your application essay or have gone through your transcript or resume, but keep in mind that they have likewise reviewed hundreds if not thousands of applications. Therefore, be ready to repeat certain details that are already presented in your file.

Before the Interview

o Conduct research about the program and faculty. Identify the program’s strengths and the faculty’s research interests.

o Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. What is it about you that make you suitable for the program?

o Step into the faculty members’ shoes. Try to determine what it is they want from a graduate student. Will your qualifications enable you to positively contribute to their program and research? What skills do you possess that will prove valuable to a professor as he or she conducts his or her research?

o Think about obvious questions that will be asked, prepare potential answers, and rehearse them with a friend (or even by yourself in front of a mirror).

During the Interview

o Always keep your goals in mind during the admissions interview.

o Try to sincerely communicate your passion, enthusiasm, and proficiencies.

o Be natural. Do not attempt to second guess what the interviewers are looking for. Be yourself, and most importantly, do not invent stories or accomplishments to impress the interviewing panel. You may succeed one time, but it could cost you your opportunity to get into the program if you are found out.

o Listen carefully to what the interviewers are saying and/or asking. When answering, remember to speak slowly and clearly.

o Establish and maintain eye contact with the interviewer/s and remember to smile. Show them you are happy for this chance to talk to them.

o Some interviews involve social affairs like a small gathering. Keep in mind that although it is a party, it is still part of the interview. You might not see it or feel it, but you are being evaluated all the time.

ACT Or SAT? Five Tips to Pick the Right College Entrance Exam

The SAT and ACT are both respected, nationally-recognized tests. Historically, there’s been a geographic divide between the two; nowadays, very few colleges require or prefer one test over the other. So which one should you take? Well, since you can’t really say one test is any easier than the other, that all depends on your skills and preferences. Basically, you should go for the one you’ll score higher on!

Here are some tips to help you make your decision:

1. Who says size doesn’t matter?

The ACT is a shorter test. The SAT takes a whopping 3 hours, 45 minutes, while the ACT comes out to a hefty 2 hours, 55 minutes, making the SAT about 30% longer than the ACT. Either way, you’re stuck taking a long test. If you have a ridiculously short attention span, then the ACT might be right for you, but realistically, after nearly 3 hours, why sweat an extra 50 minutes?

2. When in doubt, just guess… right?

The SAT has a guessing penalty – minus a quarter of a point for each incorrect response. Not so with the ACT. Guess away! So you should answer every question on the ACT, but on the SAT, you should just leave the answer blank when you can’t eliminate at least one answer choice. Does this make the SAT “harder”? Not really. With the right strategies, you can even make the SAT’s guessing penalty work to your advantage.

3. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s superscore!

The SAT reports each of your three “subscores” separately-one each for critical reading, writing, and mathematics. So, many colleges will combine your best three subscores from all the times you’ve taken the SAT to make a “superscore.” In the past, schools would not do this with the ACT. Recently, however, many schools have begun to make ACT “superscores” too.

4. What is the difference anyway?

Both tests have a grammar, reading comprehension, essay and math portions. The ACT has an extra “science” section, but don’t worry. I used quotes because it’s really just another test of your reasoning skills – not much chemistry, physics or biology knowledge needed. Broadly speaking, the ACT tests skills that you (should have) learned in high school, while the SAT tries to evaluate your innate problem-solving abilities.

For example, the ACT math section tests a few topics that typically aren’t covered until pre-calculus. While the SAT leaves out these topics, its math problems generally have more complicated setups.

The ACT’s essay is optional, but some colleges require it anyway. Its essay topics are always questions of school policy, while the SAT’s essays deal with more abstract moral or philosophical issues.

In the critical reading sections, the SAT’s vocabulary is harder, but the ACT taxes your critical reading and analysis skills. The ACT English section gives you a couple of long passages with grammar and critical reading questions mixed together; the SAT tests reading and grammar separately.

5. You can’t know if you like it till you’ve tried it!

How do I know which test is better for me? Try them! Take some free practice tests online and see which one fits your fancy. Both the SAT and ACT offer practice questions or tests on their official websites.