Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Exams Exams Everywhere & All I Want To Do is Nap!

Even though there's still a month left until Final Exams, I'd like to take a bit of time to cover a few other exams you should consider taking. I've divided the exams up by what kind of employment track you would be looking into.

Technical Track

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (Link to GRE Site)

GRE® General Test Overview (from ETS Site)

What Is It?
The GRE® General Test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills that are not related to any specific field of study.

Verbal Reasoning — The skills measured include the test taker's ability to:

  • analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it
  • analyze relationships among component parts of sentences
  • recognize relationships between words and concepts

Quantitative Reasoning — The skills measured include the test taker's ability to:

  • understand basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis
  • reason quantitatively
  • solve problems in a quantitative setting

Analytical Writing — The skills measured include the test taker's ability to:

  • articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively
  • examine claims and accompanying evidence
  • support ideas with relevant reasons and examples
  • sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion
  • control the elements of standard written English

Who Takes It and Why?

Prospective graduate applicants take the General Test. GRE test scores are used by admissions or fellowship panels to supplement undergraduate records and other qualifications for graduate study. The scores provide common measures for comparing the qualifications of applicants and aid in evaluating grades and recommendations.

Where Do People Take It?

The General Test is offered year-round at computer-based test centers in the United States, Canada and many other countries. It is offered at paper-based test centers in areas of the world where computer-based testing is not available. See which format is available in your area.

Who Accepts It?

Any graduate or professional school, any department or division within a school, or any fellowship granting organization may require or recommend that its applicants take the General Test, a Subject Test, or both.

Fundamentals of Engineering/Professional Engineer (FE/EIT/PE): (Link to NCEES Site)
(Description from NCEES Site)

Why take a Fundamentals (FE/FS) exam?
To pursue a professional license, you must pass one of the Fundamentals (FE/FS) examinations:
  • Engineering licensure candidates: take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
  • Surveying licensure candidates: take the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam.

Exam waiver: The Fundamentals exam may be waived for an engineer or surveyor who has earned an advanced academic degree and/or acquired many years of work experience. Guidelines vary greatly for each jurisdiction.

Who is eligible to take a Fundamentals exam?
Rules vary greatly for each jurisdiction, go to for details.

What material is covered in the exams?
  • The FE exam covers subject matter taught in a typical EAC/ABET-accredited baccalaureate engineering program. It appropriately covers a comprehensive range of subjects in engineering.
  • The FS exam covers subject matter taught in a typical ASAC/ABET-accredited baccalaureate surveying program. It appropriately covers a comprehensive range of subjects in surveying.Go to Study Materials for reference books and sample exam questions.

What is the format of the Fundamentals exams?

  • Each exam is 8 hours long, with one 4-hour session in the morning and another in the afternoon. Examinees must participate in both sessions on the same day. Both exams are closed book, and reference material is supplied. All questions are multiple choice.
  • The FE exam consists of 180 multiple-choice questions. During the morning session, all examinees take a general exam common to all disciplines. During the afternoon session, examinees can opt to take a general exam or a discipline-specific (chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, industrial, or mechanical) exam.
  • The FS exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions. Examinees take a general exam in both the morning and afternoon sessions.
  • FE examinees will be furnished a copy of the FE Supplied-Reference Handbook at the exam site. This is the only reference material you will use during the exam.
  • FS examinees will be furnished a copy of the FS reference formulas at the exam site. This is the only reference material you will use during the exam.

After I pass a Fundamentals exam, what's next?

Passing a Fundamentals exam is the first step toward licensure. To continue the licensure process, complete the following:

How do the Fundamentals exams differ from the Principles and Practice exams?

  • The Fundamentals (FE/FS) exams cover subject matter in a typical EAC/ABET-accredited baccalaureate engineering curriculum or ASAC/ABET-accredited baccalaureate surveying curriculum.
  • The Principles and Practice (PE/PS) exams go beyond testing academic knowledge and require knowledge gained in engineering or surveying practice.
  • Both exams are required for professional licensure.

Business Track

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT):
(Description from More Info at and

The GMAT exam is a standardized assessment, delivered in English, that helps business schools assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management. By taking the GMAT exam, you have a better chance of being targeted by business schools that are a good match for you—and learning more about their programs and admissions processes. You can help them find you by creating an profile and opting in to being contacted by schools. Schools use the test as one predictor of academic performance in an MBA program or in other graduate management programs.

How much does it cost to take the GMAT® exam?
The cost to take the GMAT exam is US$250 globally.

Where can I take the GMAT® exam?
The GMAT exam is delivered in testing centers around the world.

What schools use GMAT® scores?
Over 1900 graduate business schools around the world use GMAT scores as a part of their admissions process.

How can I prepare to take the GMAT® exam?
The Graduate Management Admission Council® provides
free test preparation software and preparation materials to purchase as well as suggestions about how to prepare for the exam.

What does the GMAT® exam measure?
The GMAT exam measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that you have developed in your education and work.

How long are GMAT® scores valid?
Your GMAT score is valid for five years, so you have the flexibility of “banking it”—choosing to start your graduate studies right after university or later on. Remember, if at first you don’t succeed, you can take the GMAT exam again. Remember, though, that all of your GMAT scores from the past 5 years will appear on your Official Score Report.

Professional Track

Law School Admission Test (LSAT):
(Description and More Info at

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a half-day, standardized test administered four times each year at designated testing centers throughout the world. All American Bar Association-approved law schools, most Canadian law schools, and many other law schools require applicants to take the LSAT as part of their admission process.

In the US, Canada, the Caribbean, and some other countries, the LSAT is administered on a Saturday, except in June, when it is generally administered on a Monday. For Saturday Sabbath observers, the test is also administered on a weekday following Saturday administrations.

Many law schools require that the LSAT be taken by December for admission the following fall. However, taking the test earlier—in June or September—is often advised. Some schools place greater weight than others on the LSAT; most law schools do evaluate your full range of credentials.

Test Format
The test consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions. Four of the five sections contribute to the test taker’s score. The unscored section, commonly referred to as the variable section, typically is used to pretest new test questions or to preequate new test forms. The placement of this section will vary. A 35-minute writing sample is administered at the end of the test. LSAC does not score the writing sample, but copies of the writing sample are sent to all law schools to which you apply.

What the Test Measures
The LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others.

The three multiple-choice question types in the LSAT are:

Reading Comprehension Questions
These questions measure your ability to read, with understanding and insight, examples of lengthy and complex materials similar to those commonly encountered in law school work. The reading comprehension section contains four sets of reading questions, each consisting of a selection of reading material, followed by five to eight questions that test reading and reasoning abilities.

Analytical Reasoning Questions
These questions are designed to measure your ability to understand a structure of relationships and to draw logical conclusions about that structure. You are asked to make deductions from a set of statements, rules, or conditions that describe relationships among entities such as persons, places, things, or events. They simulate the kinds of detailed analyses of relationships that a law student must perform in solving legal problems.

Logical Reasoning Questions
These questions are designed to evaluate your ability to understand, analyze, criticize, and complete a variety of arguments. Each logical reasoning question requires you to read and comprehend a short passage, then answer a question about it. The questions test a variety of abilities involved in reasoning logically and thinking critically.

The registration fee for the LSAT is $123. If you meet certain criteria, you may qualify for an LSAC fee waiver. Late registrants must pay an additional $62.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT):
(Description and More Info at

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess the examinee's problem solving, critical thinking, writing skills, and knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. Scores are reported in Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences, Writing Sample, and Biological Sciences. Medical colleges consider MCAT exam scores as part of their admission process.
Almost all U.S. medical schools require applicants to submit MCAT exam scores. Many schools do not accept MCAT exam scores that are more than three years old.

Preparing for the Exam
Order practice tests, review content descriptions for each section of the exam, see a sample study plan.

Reserving a Seat

Locate an available test center, reserve a seat, apply for accommodations, and check the registration deadlines.

Taking the Exam

Understand admission requirements and other test day policies and procedures, and submit a test center concern.

Releasing Your Scores
Check the score release schedule, view your scores, and send your scores to schools.

Okay, so hopefully that gives you a good idea of what exams may need to be in your future depending on what kind of track you are looking at. Since a lot of this information is directly cited from exam websites if you'd like additional information the best thing to do is check out some of the sites provided.

If you have any questions about other career-related topics, please feel free to e-mail me at

Like always,

Good Luck Job Seekers!

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