You will start applying to professional schools one year prior to matriculation. This process begins in the spring of your junior year with the standardized national entrance exams. Each of the four year health professions (with the exception of Chiropractic) requires submission of a standardized admission test score as part of the admission process. The following is a list of the tests required by the corresponding professional program:
|Dentistry||DAT||Dental Admission Test|
|Allopathic Medicine||MCAT||Medical College Admission Test|
|Osteopathic Medicine||MCAT||Medical College Admission Test|
|Optometry||OAT||Optometry Admission Test|
|Pharmacy||PCAT||Pharmacy College Admission Test|
|Podiatry||MCAT||Medical College Admission Test|
|Veterinary Medicine||VAT||Veterinary Aptitude Test OR|
|Graduate Programs (M.S., Ph.D.)||GRE||Graduate Record Exam|
Most tests are offered twice a year and are designed to measure skills and knowledge considered important for successful completion of the professional school curriculum. (Each particular institution has its own experience with the success of students who have received particular standardized scores. Therefore, minimal acceptable scores will vary depending on the program.) You are encouraged to take the spring (earliest) exam whenever possible. The scores will then be available as part of your complete applicant file early in the decision making process; however, taking the exam at the optimal time for the evaluation process makes little sense if you have not completed the appropriate course work to perform at your best. Please consider reducing your course load during the spring semester of your junior year if you plan to take a standardized national exam at that time.
Typically, the exams include sub-tests covering areas such as chemistry, biology, physics, science problems, verbal reasoning, and/or a writing sample. The DAT includes a perceptual motor ability sub-test and the OAT evaluates vocabulary through a verbal ability sub-test. It is recommended that you take the appropriate test in the calendar year PRIOR to the year that you plan to enter professional school.
Do NOT take a standardized national exam "to see what it's like." Ideally, you should take this exam ONCE, although many students do take it twice. It is a difficult, ambitious test which requires adequate preparation. We strongly recommend attending a formal review course.