Graduate Entry Tests for Masters Degrees & Postgraduate Study Programmes |

Graduate Entry Tests for Masters Degrees & Postgraduate Study Programmes

Written by Ben Taylor

Depending on the country and Masters you’re applying for, you may have to complete a graduate admissions test at some point in the application process. In many cases this will just be a language proficiency test, but certain Masters programmes will also require a specific graduate entry test.

There are a huge range of admissions exams, but not all universities ask for them. Some tests are accepted widely while others are aimed at a very specific discipline. In general, graduate entry tests are more common in the United States and Canada, although they’re becoming increasingly popular in parts of Asia. They are often an important part of the admission requirements for MBA programmes across the world.

We’ve written dedicated guides to two of the main graduate entry tests – the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Here you can also find an introduction to some of the subject-specific admissions exams you might encounter.

GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) – A Guide

The GMAT is a standardised test that determines candidates' ability to undertake graduate study in business schools, usually before entry to MBAs and Masters in Management.

Read more
GRE (Graduate Record Examination) – A Guide

The GRE test is one of the most widely accepted graduate admission exams, particularly in the United States and English-speaking countries such as Canada and Australia.

Read more

Subject-specific graduate entry tests

The GMAT and the GRE are among the most widely accepted graduate admissions tests, generally geared towards Masters in Business but also a part of the entry requirements for other postgraduate programmes around the world.

Subject-specific graduate entry tests exist for some of the more competitive disciplines, such as Law and Medicine. It’s also possible to take a subject-specific GRE (as opposed to the GRE General Test).

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The Law School Admission Council administers the LSAT, which is a standardised test used in the entry requirements for law schools across North America, Australia, the Caribbean and elsewhere.

The LSAT follows a set structure with five 35-minute, multiple-choice sections (one of which is unscored) and a writing task, taking three and a half hours to complete:

  • Reading comprehension (one section)
  • Analytical reasoning (one section)
  • Logical reasoning (two sections)

You won’t know which of these sections is unscored, but it’ll be used to test out new question formats. The writing sample, meanwhile, is an opportunity for you to defend a certain position and demonstrate your ability to make a well-reasoned, compelling argument. This sample will be sent to the law schools you’ve applied to.

There’s a USD $200 basic fee to take the LSAT, which is online-only until June 2022.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges. It’s a requirement of the application process for almost all American medical schools (and many Canadian ones too) to submit an MCAT score.

Taking seven and a half hours to complete, the MCAT is a multiple-choice test that aims to evaluate your abilities across a range of concepts and skills relevant to the study of medicine. You’ll be scored in four different sections:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems focuses on biological processes such as growth and reproduction
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems focuses on human tissues, organs and organ systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour looks at how certain factors influence human behaviour
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills tests your reading comprehension and critical analysis skills

Applicants can take the MCAT exam at test centres across the world, and there’s a registration fee of USD $315.

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)

Primarily used in India, the GATE exam tests your knowledge of Science, Engineering and Technology subjects. Administered by India’s prestigious Institutes of Technology (as well as the Institute of Science in Bangalore), the GATE is compulsory for anyone applying to a postgraduate programme such as a PhD or M.Tech (an Indian qualification in Technology or Engineering which allows the holder to teach in these subject areas) at one of these institutes.

The score itself is important but your ranking in annual cohorts holds more weight and the top candidates have their profiles featured on the GATE website. GATE is also used in Singapore, Malaysia and some technical universities in Germany when selecting Indian students for postgraduate admission. GATE is a computer-based test that can be taken in cities across India as well as six locations worldwide. For more information, visit the GATE application portal.

Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT)

The GPAT is another Indian standardised test, similar to GATE but designed for Pharmacy graduates applying to the M.Pharm programme. It’s administered by the All India Council Technical Education (AICTE) and is conducted in a number of cities across India.

Subject-specific GRE

Subject-specific GRE tests differ from the GRE General Test in that they focus on particular disciplines and assume that you’ve already got an undergraduate-level knowledge of the subject. You can take these exams in:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English Literature
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Psychology

Some university departments and graduate schools will ask for a subject-specific GRE score rather than a general one, so always make sure you check the entry requirements carefully.

Find out more about the Graduate Record Examination.

Last Updated: 15 October 2021