PCAT Composite Score
How is the PCAT Composite Score Calculated?
If you are planning to pursue a career in pharmacy, then you must have heard about the PCAT. It is a very important link between a candidate and the pharmacy college he or she is looking for. It gives a fair idea about a candidate's eligibility for a pharmacy college. This is done by evaluating the candidate on the basis of the parameters that are deemed essential for any pharmacist: knowledge and skill in subject areas of Science, Mathematics, Reading and Writing. There are seven sections in the test. Five of these sections make up the composite score for this test. The important part of the entire testing process is, obviously, the composite score.
How is the PCAT Scored?
As you might know, there are seven sections in the PCAT. Two of them are writing sections; the remaining five contain multiple-choice based items. There are 48 items in each section. Out of these 48 items, only 40 are scored. The remaining 8 items are experimental. For each of these five sections, electronic scanning is done to determine the score for each question, and consequently, for each section.
For the Writing sub-sections, trainers score the essays manually after going through them. There is no loophole in this procedure as the quality of the scoring procedure is maintained strictly. The end result of the entire scoring procedure is your composite score which determines the probability of your getting into a particular pharmacy college.
What is Available for You after Giving the PCAT?
At the end of the exam, you get a score report at the Pearson VUE Testing Center. However, that is not the official score report as your Writing section is still not scored. The only official score report that you get will be after 5 weeks of giving the test. There is no extra information provided on the items that you attempted incorrectly or about the review of the essays.
What is the PCAT Composite Score and How is it Calculated?
The official score report shows two types of scores: scaled scores and percentile ranks. There is also a combined score for the five multiple-choice sub-sections. This is the composite score of PCAT. This information is also available on the official website: http://www.pcatweb.info/Scoring-and-Reporting.php.
In other words, it is the unweighted average of the scaled scores of the five multiple-choice subtests. The scores of all five sections are added and then divided by five to give the composite test score.
For instance, if a candidate gets 407 scaled score in Verbal Ability, 392 scaled score in Biology, 407 scaled score in Reading Comprehension, 424 scaled score in Quantitative Ability and 446 scaled score in Chemistry, the composite scaled score will be the average of these scores and the value will be 415.
Similarly, the candidate may get 60 percentile rank in Verbal Ability, 27 percentile rank in Biology, 64 percentile rank in Reading Comprehension, 86 percentile rank in Quantitative Ability and 96 percentile rank in Chemistry. The composite percentile rank thus derived will be 78, which is actually the unweighted average of all the values.
How is the PCAT Composite Score Important?
Generally, pharmacy colleges use the composite score of a candidate to determine whether he is she is well-prepared to attend their pharmacy college or not. Most often, the pharmacy colleges will compare this score of the candidate with the mean composite score of all candidates who appeared for the particular test. The scaled score ranges from 200 to 600 and the composite percentile rank ranges from 1 to 99.
Although, there is no passing score, the pharmacy colleges do have a certain benchmark in mind. It depends on the mean composite score of all candidates. Sometimes, it may reach up to 85 percentile rank too. That would mean that the college would prefer the candidates getting more than 85 percentile rank to the ones who are getting below it.