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Benefits of Taking Grad School Exams Early

By fall of junior year in high school, many are already cramming for the SAT and the ACT. Why isn’t there the same urgency for college students applying to graduate school?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that while the majority of college students have considered applying to graduate school, many don’t follow through with their applications till 2 or 3 years after graduation. The reality is many students are concerned about their undergraduate debt and the cost of graduate school, and are tempted to experience the working life after being in classrooms for 20 years.

And those are valid concerns. But if you have any inclination to apply to graduate school, consider taking the appropriate standardized tests now. Whether it’s the GMAT, MCAT, LSAT, or GRE, you’ll be glad you got it out of the way.

1. You have unlimited resources.

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Studying while you’re still in college gives you access to nearly unlimited resources. You can reach out to your dean and career center for help in deciding which study plan is best for you. Talk to seniors or recent graduates who have already taken the exam for insider tips. It’s always best to learn from someone who has the experience of sitting the test. Last but not least, you have the entire campus available to you! Don’t take all those quiet study spaces for granted.

2. You still remember how to study.

As a college student, you’re accustomed to being in class, absorbing new information, studying, and taking exams. It’s not difficult to pick up again while you’re working, but working and studying are very different. It takes time to get back into the rhythm you’re in right now, so why not take advantage of it?

3. You have a backup plan.

Just because you took the GMAT or the LSAT doesn’t mean you have to go to graduate school. All these exams last for 5 years, so you have plenty of time to make a decision. If you decide later that your career trajectory doesn’t require going to graduate school, that’s okay! But if you want to make a career change, then all you have to do is get your applications in order.

4. You have a flexible schedule.

With a 9-to-5 job, finding time to study can become difficult. You’ll have to either wake up early to get some studying time in before work or get it done after a long day. As a junior or senior, you decide your own class schedule. If you know you’re going to need to study for the LSAT or the MCAT, take on a lighter load. You’re likely to be done with all your general requirements and have only your major requirements left, so it shouldn’t be too hard!

5. You have an excuse.

If you do take the test and don’t score as well as you hoped, you have an excuse to take it again. Admission officers tend to be understanding when you take any standardized test more than once if the first one was taken during your junior year of college. You’ll still have time to retake it as a senior with experience under your belt!

Remember: Not all graduate schools require a standardized test, so do your research before you start studying!

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