As you ready yourself to sit for the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), we’ve assembled a variety of resources here to help you prepare. You’ll find details about how to register for your test, plus tips to remember during the day of your exam, the types of questions you can expect to see during the test and more.
Exam Purpose and Background
The PCAT exam assesses a baseline level of preparedness to be admitted into pharmacy college programs. In general, the PCAT is used as a broad predictor of general aptitude and potential levels of success in science-based coursework.
You can register for the PCAT exam online at www.pcatweb.info/.
The fee to take the PCAT exam is $210. You can pay the fee using a credit card issued by a U.S. bank.
Once you register for the exam, you’ll be able to review options for available testing locations and times, and reserve your seat at www.pearsonvue.com/pcat.
When to Arrive
Plan to arrive for your assigned test time at least 30 minutes early. This is very important. If you arrive more than 15 minutes late at your testing center, you may not be allowed to take the test. In this case, your exam fee will not be refunded, and you will also be required to register and pay a new exam fee to set up your next opportunity to test.
What to Bring:
- You’ll need to bring two forms of original identification with you on test day. One form will be your primary ID, which is a government-issued document showing your name, photo and signature. Your second form of ID only requires your name be shown.
What Not to Bring:
- Electronic devices, including cell phones, recording devices, cameras, watches and calculator
- Personal items, including coats, bags, wallets and purses
- Writing instruments of any kind, including highlighters
- Paper, notes or books
- Any kind of food or drink
- Earplugs or headphones
What to Expect During Your Exam
You’ll have a total of three hours and 40 minutes to take the test, though each segment of the exam will have its own time stipulations.
Format/Number of Questions
This is a computer-based test made up of 192 multiple-choice questions, along with one written essay item that you will also complete using the testing computer.
PCAT Subtest Areas
These are the areas of content that will be included in the PCAT exam, including the allotted time available to take each section and the number of questions you can expect to be included in each section.
- Subtest 1: Writing (30 Minutes with 1 Question) — This is the essay portion of the PCAT exam. In this section, you’ll look at an issue or topic that’s presented to you, and you’ll be asked to present your solution with supporting arguments.
- Subtest 2: Biological Processes (45 Minutes and 48 Questions) — This portion of the exam covers three primary areas, including general biology (50%), microbiology (20%) and human anatomy and physiology (30%).
- Subtest 3: Chemical Processes (45 Minutes and 48 Questions) — This section of the PCAT test covers three main sections, including general chemistry (50%), organic chemistry (30%) and basic biochemistry processes (20%).
- Subtest 4: Critical Reading (50 Minutes and 48 Questions) — In this portion of the test, you’ll encounter three main sections of content, including comprehension (30%), analysis (40%) and evaluation (30%).
- Subtest 5: Quantitative Reasoning (50 Minutes and 48 Questions) — During this portion of the PCAT exam, you’ll see questions representing five main areas of content, including basic math (25%), algebra (25%), probability & statistics (18%), precalculus (18%) and calculus (14%).
Required Score Needed to Pass
There are variations in the passing scores required by each school. The pharmacy college programs you’re applying to join can give you complete details on the score it requires for passage.
How Can I Prepare for the PCAT?
We believe that different learning styles require different tools for success. We have compiled a list of the best study guides, flashcards, and practice tests that we’ve found on the market. Some of these guides have review videos, for you visual learners out there. Others have practice tests, which have been proven to increase student scores by a whole letter grade (in some cases more than that)!