I am thinking about going to graduate school soon after getting my B.A but I don't know if my background will let me in/what I can do to get in.

I have an A.S and almost a B.A in marketing. Since High School I have worked in a corporate office in the marketing department. I have had to pay for college myself because my family and I don't have a lot of spare money so the entire time I'm in college I'm working a full and part time job, otherwise I wouldn't be able to stay. My grades aren't the best B-C average because of everything I have to take on just to go to school.

I also never took the official ACT or SAT. I have severe ADHD so the longer a test is the worst my grade gets. I took the practice SAT exams in High School and did beyond horrible but once I got it back and it showed all my wrong answers I was surprised by how simple the questions were and that I got it wrong when I knew the answer.

Anyway, my main questions is that I've seen people get in to grad programs without a GRE before but they were 4.0 students with 2 B.A's. I know I can take the GRE but I'm sure the test results won't show my true academic knowledge. Does anyone else suffer from ADHD in this way that can give advice or even the likeliness of getting into a grad program without the GRE?

EDIT: I was confused by the SAT and GRE. SAT was changed to GRE

  • The GRE offers various accomodations for people with diagnosed disabilities, including ADHD. You might consider whether some of them could be applicable and/or helpful to you. Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 16:25
  • 1
    You can consider going to Europe, where we don't have exams like that.
    – Davidmh
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 20:12
  • I'd also like to reassure the OP that the GRE is much shorter than the SAT. From memory, it's 4 sections of 20 questions each, and a writing section. It's nowhere near the length of the monstrous college entrance exam monstrosities.
    – Compass
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 17:44
  • There is always the option to study abroad. Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 22:14

2 Answers 2


You seem a bit confused. The SAT/ACT is a test that most American students take to get into an undergraduate program. Once you are in an undergraduate program these scores become irrelevant (except possibly if you want to transfer to a different one), and they definitively become irrelevant once you have an undergraduate degree.

The exam that most students take for American graduate programs is the GRE. Having said that it is indeed quite similar to the SAT: in fact, the last time I looked the quantitative section was almost identical. If you do not do well on timed tests in general then realistically I don't think the GRE will be much different. (But it is probably worth a try...)

Whether you can get into a graduate program without taking the GREs depends mostly on whether the GREs are a required part of the application. For many types of graduate programs (still in the US, of course; the GRE doesn't exist elsewhere) the GRE will be widely required, e.g. if you are in the arts or sciences. For other types of graduate programs, maybe less so, but they may also have their own exams. Anyway, you should just browse the webpages of programs of interest to you: they'll tell you whether the GRE (or some other test) is required.


The short answer is that with very few exceptions, some kind of standardized test is required for most reputable graduate programs in the U.S. The flip side of that is most programs that don't require a standardized test are programs you probably don't want to attend, because they won't get you where you want to go and may not be worth the time and investment of money. (I'm speaking very generally, here.)

The good news is that most standardized testing companies do allow for the arrangement of accommodations for students with disabilities, including ADHD. You can apply for extra time to complete the exam, for example. The GRE's information about accommodations is here.

  • "because they won't get you where you want to go and may not be worth the time and investment of money." What is your take on the current "GRExit" several years later? Is this statement still true and is the GRE still worth it?
    – NelsonGon
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 14:41

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