Class aids admission chances

Winter has come, and for seniors the end of the holiday season is the last chance to complete post-graduate exams and applications. What better end to holiday cheer can we imagine than crippling fear and anxiety for our imminent future?

Admissions test requirements for law, medical and graduate schools have fueled an industry of test prep tools, books and private classes. This industry, however, does not adequately facilitate success on the test in graduate programs or whichever career they head toward.

Self-teaching is not a sufficient education plan for the thousands of different kinds of students who make the decision to go to graduate school. What’s more is that the unnecessarily difficult admissions process narrows the pool of applicants to demographics that have the resources to expend on the extra books and classes.  

Some argue that it is important to make the admissions process into graduate school difficult to prevent lazy, uneducated or unqualified people from being admitted.

This argument assumes that people who do not receive the help and resources they need to learn the necessary material and skills to do well are lesser than the people who earn them or are born with access to them.

Refusing to change access to the types of resources for admissions tests limits the pool of people who will even consider graduate school. Better methods of teaching the test will open it up to a wider audience and will increase the intelligence of the whole group.

Instead of claiming it is students’ inability to absorb information and develop necessary skills that prevents them from scoring well, more studies should explore better methods of retention and preparation for the test.

The problem is likely not that a “failing” student didn’t have the ability to learn material or develop critical thinking skills.

A more appropriate model for test preparation would be having an actual class at the university dedicated to graduate school admissions, with sections dedicated to specific tests like the LSAT, GRE and MCAT.

The nice thing about the test prep industry is that it has already developed a curriculum. Practice tests, drills and lessons are already developed by companies like Kaplan and College Review.

Keeping up with a tutor outside of one’s normal school hours or being expected to teach yourself on your own time is the surest way to get the fewest people to prepare for the test.

What students may need most is the proper coaching and training that they could receive in a classroom.

Staying dedicated to a study plan is much easier when it is part of a normal class routine. It would also reduce costs for full-time students that are interested in taking a test, but cannot spend money on an outside tutor.

The model is similar to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate systems that high schools use, and it has proven successful.  It is a waste of potential for students to be shut out of admission and scholarships because of an imperfect admissions test system. 

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