PCAT Preparation

5 Essentials of PCAT Preparation

PCAT preparation refers to the studies that a person planning to take the PCAT (Pharmacy College Aptitude Test) takes up, in order to perform well in it. PCAT is a vital test for all Pharmacy aspirants, who want to take admission in colleges offering ACPE (Accreditation Council of Pharmacology Education) accredited Pharmacy courses in the United States of America. Hence, one should always aim to perform well in this test, for which, sound preparation is an inevitable ingredient.

How to Prepare for PCAT?

Preparation for PCAT requires the prospective examinee to brush up his or her concepts in the content areas in which he or she will be tested. The content areas of this Pharmacy college aptitude test are aimed at testing a Pharmacy aspirant's general academic and pharmacy-oriented skills. One's PCAT preparation should be focussed on the following content areas: Biology, Chemistry, Writing, Reading and Comprehension, and Quantitative Ability. Each of these sections has its own subsections.

The questions asked in this pharmacy aptitude test are of two kinds, the multiple-choice ones, and the essay-type ones. The multiple-choice question sections have a total of 48 questions each, out of which only 40 are marked while the rest are asked only for experimental purposes. It is generally opined that about three months are required on an average for preparing well for PCAT, but the PCAT preparation time can vary as per individual study paces. The Writing section includes one essay type question, which tests the examinee's problem solving and grammar skills.

5 Essentials of PCAT Preparation

Preparation for PCAT, essentially, requires you to follow 5 points, which are listed as below:

  1. Thorough understanding of the PCAT syllabus and clarification of the required concepts- There is no shortcut to success, and merely practicing questions from past test papers is not going to fetch you good results in this test. The first step that you should take in your PCAT preparation is to visit the official PCAT website (http://www.pcatweb.info/), and thoroughly understand the academic subjects and skills in which an examinee of the examination under discussion is tested on; along with the format of the test, the specific skills that a particular content area intends to test, and the time duration of the test. Your next step should be to clarify your concepts of the content areas you will be tested on, for which you will have to refer to good reference books.

  2. Exhaustive practice of PCAT questions- Practicing for PCAT in an environment that simulates the real testing environment is of utmost importance; equally important is practicing questions which are of a higher standard than the actual PCAT questions. It is recommended that a PCAT preparer undertakes timed preparation, with the practice time set to a lesser duration than the actual test. All these measures, though they may appear slightly tough to follow, will actually prove to be beneficial for the test takers, who will find their experience of the actual test easier than that of the practice tests, after undergoing the rigorous training. At the same time, while preparing, you should specifically identify your areas of weaknesses and work up to strengthen them.

  3. Fixing PCAT date after completing preparation, not vice versa- Although some students are confident about performing well in competitive exams in a short preparation period, this is not recommended. Keeping aside adequate time for preparing well for an important examination, such as the PCAT, where you not only have to achieve good scores but face fierce competition as well is always safe. Hence, you should start preparing for PCAT early in high school or set aside 3+ months for its preparation.

  4. Finding the best study resources for your preparation- Your PCAT preparation can be done effectively in a short time only when you find the study resources that enable you to do this. Many study resources are available online; however, one should be able to select the best amongst them for best results. For achieving this, one has to consult subject matter experts who have passed PCAT with very good scores, and read reviews on the study resources commonly offered online and in book stores.

  5. Satisfying PCAT examination hall rules and norms- Often, students tend to ignore the rules and norms laid down by the examining bodies and testing centers for taking the test. Consequently, they are surprised by unexpected situations. The Test Day webpage (http://www.pcatweb.info/Test-Day.php) of the official PCAT website has details about the items that you should and should not carry to the PCAT examination hall. You can browse this page and satisfy the requirements stated on this page, which are important for you to follow to be permitted to appear for the test.


The essential criteria of PCAT preparation, as stated in the section above, are important to follow to attain success in the PCAT. In addition to that, choosing a test location which you can reach conveniently within a short period of time is also important.

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