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About the PCAT

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What is the PCAT?
The PCAT is a computer-based exam used by colleges of pharmacy for admissions purposes.  The design and contents of the PCAT are determined by the types of abilities, aptitudes, and skills deemed essential by colleges of pharmacy and by research concerning the kinds of tests that most accurately predict success in science-oriented courses.

Read more in the PCAT Blueprint Changes 
 

Format
February 2016 was the last administration of the old PCAT. Starting in July 2016, the PCAT will have the following format:

Writing

30 min

1 essay

Discuss a solution to a given world problem

Biology

45 min

48

General Biology (50%), Microbiology (20%), Anatomy and Physiology (30%)

Chemistry

45 min

48

General Chemistry (50%), Organic Chemistry (32%), Biochemistry (18%)

BREAK

15 min

-----

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Reading

50 min

48

Passages from natural sciences, social sciences and humanities (6 passages with 8 questions each)

Quantitative

45 min

48

Basic Math (24%), Algebra (24%), Probability and Statistics (19%), Pre-Calculus (19%), Calculus (14%)

Notably, the entire Verbal Ability section has been removed, and several of the sections will have changed names but cover similar content and follow the same format. The Biological Process and Chemical Processes sections will contain approximately 50% passage-based questions in the sciences. Additionally, the Quantitative Reasoning section will contain approximately 50% question with stem text set-up (longer word type questions).

Although students will no longer need to study general vocabulary due to the removal of the Verbal Ability section, many will find the remaining sections to be more challenging with regard to content and timing and will need to prepare accordingly.

For more information on test development and structure, see pages 4–5 of the PCAT Candidate Information Booklet (to be updated when available).

The 2016 exam is 3 hours and 50 minutes long, including a 15-minute break between Chemistry and Reading. 

 

When is the PCAT?
The PCAT is offered multiple times in January, July, and September. Limited seats are also available in October and November.
Visit Important PCAT Dates for specific options.

  
Registration and Fees

To begin the PCAT registration process, visit PCAT Web > Register and Schedule.
The PCAT registration fee is $210.
 For more detail information about fees and special services, see PCAT Fees and PCAT Fee Schedule.

  
On Test Day
  • Bring two forms of current, government-issued ID (one with a photograph and signature). You will provide a digital fingerprint when you check in and any time you leave or re-enter the room.
  • Food, drinks, books, paper, calculators, cell phones, watches, headphones, etc. are all prohibited.
  • A periodic table and calculator will be provided within the exam interface on Test Day.

  • You will have one 15-minute break in between the Chemistry and Reading Comprehension sections.

See more about acceptable forms of ID, prohibited items, and what else to expect on Test Day on pages 17-21 of the PCAT Candidate Information Booklet (to be updated when available).

 

PCAT Scoring 

What is the average PCAT score?

 The test is scored on a scale of 200–600, with 400 serving as the standardized average. Pearson (the test administrator) does not publish an average or pass rate, so you should check with the specific schools to which you are applying for their score expectations.
 

What score are pharmacy schools looking for?

 See the PharmCAS School Directory. Click on any school and then scroll down to the bottom of the "Criteria" section for the minimum composite PCAT score considered at that institution.
 

How do I interpret my score?

 See pages 25 of the PCAT Candidate Information Booklet (To be updated when available).

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