Pre-Professional and Pre-Graduate Advising Program
Read. A lot.
All exams will test your verbal abilities, and consistent reading outside of your textbooks is the best way to prepare for these examinations. Read a variety of materials, fiction, and non-fiction, material in the field of health care, the newspaper, high quality magazines and any kind of literature. The more sophisticated the prose and the vocabulary, the better off you will be. During the summer months, you should read at least one book a week in addition to a daily newspaper. You should continue reading during the semester but somewhat less because of your course load.
You should prepare diligently and intensely for the exam. For medical, dental and optometry students, review begins during the second semester of your freshmen year. Not only do you begin preparation for the admission exam but you also build a learning community through your participation. Students who need to take the GRE will also participate in review as well as an intense course but the timing differs from the first group.
Take all the necessary courses first.
It is crucial to have completed all of the required courses before you sit for the exam. If you feel that you will be better prepared if you wait a year, this will not significantly affect your application to professional school though it may delay your entry by a year.
Watch the calendar.
Be sure you know when your test is being offered. Pre-medical, pre-dental and pre-optometry students take the appropriate admission examination during the junior year.
- The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is only offered as a computer-based test. You can register online and, for a small fee, obtain computer-based or paper tutorial materials.
- The Medical College Admission Test is offered on specific dates, and the nearest testing center is at Truman State University. You can find student FAQs about the MCAT online. Online and paper practice materials are also available.
- The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is only available in a computer-based format. You can take the test as often as you like, but you must wait 90 days between each test. Online application information, preparation materials, test site and fee information is available.
- Pre-pharmacy students should plan on taking the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) during the early part of the spring semester of their sophomore year. You can go online to find out specific dates and locations for the PCAT, register for the exam, and take a practice test.
- The Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT) is offered twice each fall. Dates, locations, fees, applications and a brief description of the test questions are available online.
- If you need to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), the best time is the summer between your junior and senior years or in the fall semester of the senior year. GRE computer-based exams are available on a continuous basis, and do not have specified dates. If the graduate program to which you are applying requires the biology subject test, remember that it is offered much less often. GRE paper-based exams are administered on specific dates in the fall and spring. The closest testing locations are Truman State University and the University of Missouri Columbia. You can check out the test schedules and apply for the test online. Sample questions and links to test preparation materials also are available online.
- Educational Testing Network Service (www.ets.org) - GRE, GMAT information, and more.
- GRE Test Prep (www.greprepinfo.com) - Free resource provided by the Graduate Educational Information Service (GEIS), which develops and maintains educational websites to enhance student outcomes and promote academic excellence; no affiliation with ETS which offers the official GRE exams.
- Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaplan.com) - Includes Law, Business, Graduate, Medical, Dental, Nursing, Pharmacy, Education, Optometry.
- LSAT Practice Tests (www.lsatexampracticetests.com) - Website is a free resource provided by the Graduate Educational Information Services (GEIS).
- The Princeton Review (www.princetonreview.com) - Business / GMAT, Law / LSAT, Medical / MCAT, Graduate / GRE.
- www.testprepreview.com - Overview info about standardized tests, how they are timed, why they are given, etc. - How to prep for standardized tests; review-style questions.
- www.testmasters.net - Fee-based services. Specializes in LSAT prep. Also provides GMAT and GRE prep courses.