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Entrance Exams

Depending on your school/program, you may be required to complete an entrance exam to apply to graduate school. Read below for general information regarding the various exams and visit websites for additional information regarding specific exams – including test dates, procedures, and fees. 

Graduate school applications generally require students to complete a standardized test in order to apply. The exam a student takes depends on the school and type of degree a student plans to pursue. Please check with the schools to which you can plan to apply to for information about required exams.

Below is information regarding entrance exams for graduate school as well as California teacher credential programs.

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

Many students applying to graduate school must complete the General and/or Subject GRE tests.

The GRE General Test measures a student’s verbal, quantitative (mathematical), and analytical writing skills. It is offered throughout the year at specialized testing centers. The exam takes approximately three hours to complete.

GRE Subject Tests measure your knowledge in specific subject areas. Students typically take a Subject Test related to their undergraduate major. Not all programs that require the GRE General Test also require the Subject Test. It is advised that you contact your school/program for application requirements.

Subject Tests are given three times a year: in October, November, and April. The tests typically take 3 ½ hours to complete.

To learn more about the GRE exams, including how to prepare and how to register, please visit the GRE website. Students interested in GRE preparation workshops may contact the Graduate Studies Resource Center (gsrc@csulb.edu) to learn more about our low-cost prep course.

Fee reduction opportunities for the GRE exist for individuals with financial need and for national programs in the United States that work with underrepresented groups. Please visit the GRE Fee Reduction Program for more information. 

California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET)

Students interested in applying to a teaching credential program in California will likely be required to take the CSET. The exam is designed to help candidates meet certification requirements: 

  • Basic skills
  • Subject matter competence
  • No child left behind subject matter
  • Educational technology
  • Competence for a bilingual authorization

The examinations of the CSET are criterion referenced. A criterion-referenced test is designed to measure an examinee's knowledge and skills in relation to an established standard rather than in relation to the performance of other examinees.

Each test in the program is designed to measure a specific set of knowledge, skills, and/or abilities reflecting the subject area taught. 

For more information, please visit the CSET website.

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

Students interested in applying to graduate management programs such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program will likely be required to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The exam is made up of four sections:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Quantitative
  • Verbal

Testing takes approximately four hours. The test is offered at centers across Southern California – each testing center has its own schedule. To register and prepare for the test, visit the GMAT website.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a requirement of nearly every law school recognized by the American Bar Association. The LSAT is intended to measure aptitude as opposed to knowledge, and is designed to gauge a student’s readiness for success in law school. The LSAT consists of the following sections:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Analytical reasoning
  • Logical reasoning
  • Variable – this section is used to pilot new questions or new test forms (the section is unscored)

Students are also given a 35-minute writing sample section at the end of the exam. The writing sample is not scored; however, copies of the writing sample are submitted to all law schools to which you apply. The LSAT runs approximately four hours.

The LSAT offered four times throughout the year at several locations across Southern California.  To learn more about and register for the LSAT, visit the Law School Admission Council website.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a primarily multiple-choice exam designed to test student’s knowledge of science as well as skills relevant to the medical field such as problem solving and critical thinking. The exam is comprised of four sections: verbal reasoning, physical sciences, biological sciences, and writing. Students are also expected to provide essay responses to questions for the writing sample section.

The MCAT is offered various times throughout the year. To learn more about and register for the MCAT, visit the Association of American Medical Colleges website.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

International students who received their previous degree from a non-English speaking university and are applying to a University in the US, usually have to demonstrate graduate level English proficiency. Graduate schools usually require students to complete the TOEFL in order to apply. Some schools may have alternatives for demonstrating English proficiency. The scores required for acceptance usually vary by university and program. Please check with the schools and programs to which you are looking to apply for information about required scores and meeting the requirement for English proficiency. The test evaluates students by combining their listening, reading, speaking and writing skills to perform academic tasks in English.

The TOEFL Test is offered at many national and international locations. For a complete list of dates, times, and fees, and to find a testing center near you, please visit the TOEFL website.