PCAT Subjects

Subjects to Study for PCAT

PCAT subjects are the academic content areas of PCAT, which examinees have to qualify in, to prove their competency for joining Pharmacy courses in colleges. Colleges use PCAT scores of Pharmacy aspirants to grant them admission in Pharmacy courses of their colleges. The PCAT has six subject areas divided into seven sections (the test has a couple of sections on Writing, which test the same skills, i.e. problem solving and English language usage skills). The different content areas of PCAT are:

  • English Language Writing
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Verbal Ability
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Quantitative Ability

All the PCAT subjects contain questions of the objective-type pattern, except the Writing Section, which contains questions that need long answers. Each of the objective-type subject tests is of 30 minutes duration and contains 48 questions, except the Reading Comprehension section, which contains 48 questions that need to be answered in 50 minutes. The Writing tests are also of 30 minutes duration each. However, one has to answer only a single question in those 30 minutes.

The Different Subjects of PCAT

The different PCAT subjects are discussed as follows:

  1. English Writing- There are two sections of English Writing, each of which is of 30 minutes duration. A passage, presenting a problem, will be given in the test, and the PCAT examinee has to write a solution-oriented essay, as an answer to the problem. The Problem-Solving and English Language Usage skills of the PCAT examinees are tested in this section. In this test, case studies are formed from topics of General Awareness. Hence, a PCAT examinee has to be proficient in General Awareness and English Grammar and English Vocabulary to perform well in this section.

  2. PCAT Verbal Ability- Amongst the different PCAT subjects, this subject tests the ability of a PCAT examinee to understand relational concepts, and establish analogies between different terms that he or she comes across, in the Analogies section of this test. Apart from the Analogies section, one will also have to appear for the Sentence Completion section of this test, in which one has to complete sentences with words belonging to different Parts of Speech (Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives, or a combination of these). These sections are quite difficult to answer, as the answer choices that are given are very similar to each other. However, only one answer choice turns out to be the most appropriate.

  3. PCAT Biology- This test consists of 48 questions that need to be answered in a matter of 30 minutes. One's knowledge in General Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Microbiology, are tested in this section.

  4. PCAT Chemistry- This section tests a person's knowledge in General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. This section presents 48 questions, which need to be answered in 30 minutes.

  5. PCAT Reading Comprehension- This section, consisting of six passages, which need to be 50 in minutes, is the longest amongst the PCAT subjects. The passages are all based on scientific topics, and they are aimed at testing a PCAT examinee’s ability to understand scientific text.

  6. Quantitative Ability- This section tests the numerical ability of PCAT examinees. The objective-type question paper consists of questions from Arithmetic, Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Calculus and Probability.


Performing well in PCAT subjects requires good conceptual knowledge of each and every content area. Hence, one must practice the content areas well to perform well in the test. You should refer to good PCAT study guides, and practice papers for gaining knowledge in the PCAT subjects. You should also consult PCAT subject matter experts. Those who have taken the PCAT and have performed well in it, will be in a position to guide you well in matters related to preparation for PCAT. Make a study schedule and follow it in a disciplined manner. Take mock and diagnostic tests in the PCAT subjects so that you understand your strong and weak areas. You should practice more in the subjects that you are strong in and strengthen your concepts in the subjects in which you are weak. Finally, you must make sure that you appear for the PCAT subjects only when you are thoroughly prepared for taking a test in them to ensure attaining the desired score.

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