PCAT Assessment

Importance of PCAT Assessment

The PCAT is an important step in the process of getting into a pharmacy college. It stands for Pharmacy College Admission Test and is administered by Pearson VUE at their designated test centers. It goes on for four and half hours and tests the following key areas: English writing, Reading, Science and Mathematics.

For the 2013-2014 testing cycle, the test will be administered on one or more dates in the months of July, September and November. Every year, there are four testing windows. However, Pearson may offer alternative dates occasionally.

The assessment of PCAT is considered the most authentic mode for the evaluation of a candidate's eligibility for pharmacy colleges. The reason for this is that it is endorsed by the AACP (American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy). For further information, you visit the official website of PCAT (www.pcatweb.info).

What is the PCAT Test Structure?

There are a total of 7 sections in the full test. Two of these are based on evaluating the writing ability of the candidates. Remaining five sections are multiple-choice based and contain 48 questions each. The total time for the test is four and a half hours. The detailed description for each of the test sections is given as follows:

PCAT Sub-tests Description

There are two writing topics provided, out of which one is scored and the other one is experimental. The section evaluates the candidate's ability to use the conventions of language.

Verbal Ability

This section goes on for 30 minutes. There are 48 questions in it, out of which 8 are experimental. 60% of the questions are based on analogies while the remaining questions are based on sentence completions.


This section goes on for 30 minutes and consists of 48 questions. 40 questions out of the total 48 are scored and the remaining are unscored and experimental. Half of the questions come from General Biology; 20 percent of the questions come from Microbiology and the remaining questions are from Human Anatomy and Physiology.


This section contains 48 items which have to be answered in 30 minutes. There are 40 scored questions in this section and 8 questions are experimental or unscored. Half of the questions are from Organic Chemistry. The other half are from Organic Chemistry and Basic Biochemistry processes.


This section comes after a break. There is one topic in this section.

Reading Comprehension

Unlike other sections, this section goes on for 50 minutes. There are 6 passages and 48 items in this section. 30 percent of the questions are based on reading comprehension and 40 percent of those are based on analysis. The remaining questions are on the basis of evaluation.

Quantitative Ability

This section contains 48 items and goes on for 40 minutes. The topics covered here are calculus, algebra, geometry, probability and basic Mathematics.

Registering for the PCAT Test

In order to take the test, you need to register at the official website. All correspondence regarding the test will be done through the online account that you will create. Since the seating is on a first-come first-serve basis, you need to book well in advance. For information on the latest deadlines, you need to visit the official website. The test fee is 199$. It includes your test booking and confirmation.

Online Practice and Study Guides

If you want to prepare for the assessment of PCAT, you can purchase any of the three official practice tests. These are available online at the official website. You may purchase one test for 45$, two for 65$ and all the three for 85$. The tests can be taken only once. However, you can review your scores and get a print out of the diagnostic test report for each test more than once.

Importance of PCAT Assessment

The PCAT is a very crucial tool in the admissions procedure. It helps the pharmacy colleges throughout the country to place students appropriately. It shows whether the candidates are able or eligible for a career in pharmacy or not. Since it is a standardized test, there is no scope for error due to different standards of schools or geographical areas.

The scores of the assessment  are used to set further standards. It helps to analyze the strong and weak areas of a student's preparation. After getting results of all candidates who have applied, a pharmacy college may be able to get an idea of which students need extra academic support and in which content areas and subjects. They also get to know about the students who are excellent in their basic knowledge of the test subjects.

In the end, you still may have the question, "Why is the PCAT and PCAT assessment so important?" The answer is that the test is very important because it is endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. This is the only body in the country that takes care of the needs of the pharmacy education sector and is thus responsible for ensuring that only those who deserve to be a part of this profession step into it.