Everything You Need to Know about PCAT Exam

If you have chosen to study pharmacy, you would have definitely heard about the PCAT exam. Since all aspiring candidates seeking admission in pharmacy colleges may not possess the required competencies required by the program, it is important for colleges to shortlist the right candidates for their pharmacy programs. In order to identify potential candidates, an entrance test is conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) which is known as the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).

The PCAT is a standardized test and like any other entrance exam, this test is a prerequisite for admission in a pharmacy program. Therefore, it is important for you to about the procedures and guidelines mentioned for the PCAT exam. You can visit the official website for PCAT to gain more insight about this test (http://www.pcatweb.info/).

About the PCAT Exam:

The PCAT exam is not just an aptitude test; rather it is psychometric competency mapping test. It is an extensive test involving around 240 multiple-choice questions and 2 writing assignments. The test lasts for around 4 hours and has 6 time-bound test sections with questions based on Verbal Ability, Quantitative, Biology, Chemistry, Reading and Writing.

Every test section has 48 questions which are in the multiple-choice format. However, the time duration to answer questions for each section varies.The Verbal Ability, Biology and Chemistry sections have 30 minutes allotted whereas the Reading Comprehension has time-limit of 50 minutes and the Quantitative Ability section has 40 minutes allotted for answering questions.

It should be known that the PCAT Writing section has 2 sub-sections (Writing Section I and Writing Section II) for essay writing assignments. The PCAT exam has some time allotted for a short break given halfway through the test. The time allotted for each writing assignment is 30 minutes.

The PCAT Scoring Method:

It should be known that the scores for this test would decide the future your career in pharmacy. The PCAT scorecard is extremely detailed and each test section is assessed individually. Since your application for admission in any pharmacy program would be considered based on your PCAT exam score, it is important for you to perform well in this test.

Therefore, it is also suggested that you familiarize yourself with the guidelines for the PCAT exam beforehand. The test score is given immediately on the completion of the test. However, you cannot send your PCAT result to colleges via email or fax. The printed copy of your scorecard or the PCAT official transcript will be sent to pharmacy colleges directly, through AACP by post within 5 weeks.The official performance report will be available online for 1 year.

You should also know that there is a No Score Option available during the administration of the test. This is a unique feature of the PCAT exam. If you select this option, your test would not be scored and the score report will not be generated. This can be used by candidates who feel that they under-performed in the test and wish to re-appear. However, you should know that your registration fee will not be refunded in this case.

PCAT Preparation Resources:

Thanks to the online market, there is no lack of study resources for PCAT test preparations. In fact, the platform of internet has opened up many options for test preparation like online tutorials, webinars available with Kaplan (http://www.kaptest.com) and Dr. Collins (http://pcatprepclass.com) etc. Moreover, you can gain access to online forums for discussions related to the PCAT exam.

However, it is equally important to verify the PCAT preparation resources before you decide to purchase them. It is suggested that you look into the user ratings and reviews to gain more insight about these study resources. There are some good study guides who have helped many candidates to prepare well and clear the PCAT exam, for example:

  • Kaplan PCAT (2012-2013)
  • Cracking the PCAT by Princeton Review
  • Dr. Collin's PCAT Self Study Guide

The PCAT exam is challenging and its preparations demand your time and discipline. It is important to be absolutely prepared when you appear for this test. After all, your pharmaceutical career can only start once you have cleared this test and secured a position in a good pharmacy program. Nevertheless, through a strong study plan and continuous practice, you can definitely ace this test!

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