Admission Tests/Entrance Exams

Standardized, nationally administered entrance exams, in addition to your cumulative GPA, help admissions committees assess your academic ability to complete a demanding health profession graduate program. Not all health profession graduate programs require an entrance exam, so be sure to review the requirements for each program to which you plan to apply.

General Information

Preparing for the exam: The first thing you should do is to become familiar with the test’s format and content areas. Knowing how to read the questions and honing your test-taking skills may be as important as knowing the material.  Study well in advance of your test date. Rather than “cram” for the exam, it is best to set aside a regularly scheduled block of time (or several) each week. 
The way you prepare for the exam will largely depend on your learning style, so your plan may include:
  • Study material by yourself by reviewing class notes and/or using study guides specific to the exam
  • Find other students and form a study group
  • Take practice tests (some are in published test materials or the Health Profession Advising at CSU may provide opportunities for practice exams)
  • Utilize CSU resources for study and test-taking strategies, including TILT Workshops and Academic Support (Tutoring, Study Skills, Learning Styles)
  • Look for publications that offer test preparation and practice exams - the CSU Library is a good resource to get started exploring your options.
  • Participate in an organized test preparation course, such as the MCAT Prep Course CSU offers every spring semester.


Specific Health Professions Admissions Tests & Entrance Exams


DAT: The Dental Admissions Test (DAT) is administered on computer and is offered on most days throughout the year. The testing program is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability. All U.S. dental schools require applicants to take the  DAT. The examination is  multiple choice and consists of four separate examinations that cover the following:
  • Survey of Natural sciences: biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry
  • Perceptual ability: two- and three-dimensional problem solving
  • Reading comprehension: dental and basic sciences
  • Quantitative reasoning

For more information check


MCAT: The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is offered multiple times throughout the year on predetermined dates. At most U.S. medical schools, your MCAT scores are given as much weight as your GPA. The lowest total score you can receive on the MCAT is a 3, and the highest is a 45.   The MCAT has undergone significant changes for the 2015 version.
The MCAT test (2015 and on) is comprised of four primary sections
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
For more information go to:


OAT:The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is a standardized examination designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information in four areas:
  • Survey of the Natural Sciences: Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Physics
  • Quantitative Reasoning
 It is offered in a computerized format, and testing is available year round.
Information about the OAT can be obtained online at


PCAT: The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is a specialized test that helps identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges by measuring general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for a pharmaceutical education. The PCAT is offered multiple times a year in January, July and September. The PCAT consists of approximately 300 multiple-choice questions and essay that test general ability and scientific knowledge. The information tested includes: 
  • Verbal Ability: nonscientific word knowledge using antonyms and analogies
  • Quantitative Ability: arithmetic processes including fractions, decimals, and percentages and your ability to reason through and understand quantitative concepts and relationships, including applications of algebra (but not of trigonometry or calculus)
  • Biology: your knowledge of the principles and concepts of basic biology, with a major emphasis on human biology
  • Chemistry: inorganic and organic
  • Reading Comprehension: your ability to comprehend, analyze, and interpret reading passages on scientific topics
  • Information can be obtained on the PCAT web site:


The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a multiple-choice, standardized test. Many professional programs in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Veterinary Medicine and Physician Assistant and advanced Nursing programs require the GRE. It is offered in many locations and often. The GRE is comprised of 3 sections:
  • Analytical Writing: (2 essays. One asks students to "present their perspective on an issue," the other asks them to "analyze an argument.")
  • Quantitative: high-school level math(arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis)
  • Verbal: (sentence completion questions, analogies, antonyms, and reading comprehension questions)

For more information go to the GRE website: