What is the PCAT?
The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is a standardized exam that is developed to measure the skills, abilities, and aptitudes that pharmacy programs deem vital for success in their schools. In an effort to guarantee the ongoing relevance and worth of the PCAT for measuring the prerequisite knowledge and skills of applicants for admission to pharmacy schools, the exam content is occasionally reviewed and revised to guarantee that it truthfully reflects current pharmacy program prerequisite requirements in the sciences, math, and language arts.
Prior to July 2016, the PCAT contained a Writing subtest and five multiple-choice subtests: Verbal Ability, Biology, Chemistry, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Ability. However, starting with the July 2016 PCAT test, the exam no longer holds the Verbal Ability subtest, and the four remaining multiple-choice subtests have been renamed as Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Critical Reading, and Quantitative Reasoning so as to more exactly reflect the content assessed.
Many students find that using test preparations books help to improve their scores.
|Writing||1 Prompt||30 Minutes||Presents a prompt, or topic, stating a problem that you will be asked to address|
by proposing a solution in an original essay
|Biological Processes||48 Questions||40 Minutes||General Biology, Microbiology, Human Anatomy and Physiology|
|Chemical Processes||48 Questions||40 Minutes||General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Basic Biochemistry Processes|
|Critical Reading||48 Questions||50 Minutes||Comprehension, Analysis, Evaluation|
|Quantitative Reasoning||48 Questions||45 Minutes||Basic Math, Algebra, Probability & Statistics, Precalculus, Calculus|
PCAT Scoring Structure
Your score statement will encompass 5 separate scores (one for each section of the test) and a composite score. The 4 multiple choice sections— Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Critical Reading, and Quantitative Reasoning —are scored based on the quantity of correct responses. Your initial “raw score” is then converted to a scaled score ranging from 200-600. Your compound score is calculated by taking the average of your scaled score on each multiple-choice unit. Pharmacy programs will see both your individual unit scores and your compound score.
Your Writing Sample will also be scored, but discretely. Your essay is studied by two graders, whose scores are averaged. You will then obtain a score on a scale from 1-6.
In addition to your scaled scores, you will obtain your percentile rank for each unit and for your compound score. For example, if your percentile score is 60, this indicates that you scored higher than 60 percent of the other people that have taken the test. The compound percentile rank is commonly the number pupils use when discussing their PCAT scores.
The PCAT is a computer-based exam that is administered several times each year. Test dates are offered in January, July, and September in all sites with select sites offering test dates in October and November. The exam is administered by Pearson at testing sites throughout the United States and Canada.
Applicants are encouraged to enroll early, as seating is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and there are no openings to take the PCAT standby. Registering costs $210 and can be done either online or via mail (additional fees may apply).