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COVID-19 changes graduate admissions exams

April 13, 2020
A Michigan State University sign on Beal Street on Aug. 23, 2019.
A Michigan State University sign on Beal Street on Aug. 23, 2019. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

Prospective graduate, law or medical students will have to take their admissions tests online after the closure of many testing sites due the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) will all undergo significant changes:

  • Students planning to take the GRE — the most common graduate school admissions test — will be administered as an online, at-home version of the exam. The exam, entirely identical in content as the on-paper version, is designed to be taken on a home PC or laptop and students must have a Windows operating system to access the test. The GRE will be monitored by a human proctor online.

  • Students planning to take the GMAT — mostly taken by prospective business students — will also be administered an online, at-home version of the exam. The contents and scoring of the exam will be identical to the in-person version; however, there will be no Analytical Writing Assessment on the online exam. 

  • The makers of the LSAT recently launched an online version of the exam. Students registered to take the LSAT in April will take the online version in May. Future online exam dates will be scheduled as needed.

  • Prospective medical students will not take the MCAT in April or May, as all testing administrations have been cancelled until May 21. More information about the new testing dates will be made available by April 17.

Though the changes to the admissions exams are sudden, students are encouraged not to let the changes worry them during this unprecedented time.

“These are unprecedented times for aspiring professionals looking to enter post-grad programs like graduate school, business school, law school and medical school,” Jeff Thomas, executive director of admissions programs for Kaplan Test Prep, said in a press release. “For students who are understandably anxious about life in general at the moment, we want to put things in perspective and offer some words of advice. First, your health is more important than any timeline you have constructed. Your professional career will span decades, while this crisis, as serious as it is, will likely last months. It’s also key to note that your preparation for these exams will not change significantly. We do encourage students to visit the test makers’ websites on a regular basis for updates, as some specifics, such as dates, may change as circumstances evolve. In the meantime, and most importantly, practice self-care, both emotional and physical, and stay healthy.”

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