PCAT Syllabus

PCAT Syllabus in a Nutshell

The main purpose of the PCAT test is to appraise the theoretical knowledge and application skills of pharmacy college applicants in certain key subjects such as Math, Science, English etc and therefore, to determine if they possess the minimum recommended skills to join a pharmacy education program or not. In this article, we will go over the syllabus of PCAT and its other key aspects in detail.

How is the PCAT Test Structured?

The PCAT test is a computer-based test. It comprises of 7 sub-tests that generally appear in the following order: Writing, Verbal Ability, Biology, Chemistry (followed by a short recess), Writing, Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Ability. The syllabus covered in each of these distinct subject areas is listed as follows:

  • The Writing sub-tests cover grammatical conventions and problem solving skills in Standard American English.

  • The Verbal Ability sub-test includes analogies, comparisons and sentence completion.

  • The Chemistry sub-test includes the different disciplines of Chemistry, such as General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry.

  • The Biology sub-test covers the subjects of General Biology, Microbiology and Human Anatomy.

  • The Quantitative Ability sub-test covers specific Math areas such as Basic Mathematical operations, Algebraic equations, Calculus, Statistics and Probability.

  • The Reading Comprehension sub-test includes the evaluation of reading passages in Standard American English.

What are the Time Limits for the PCAT Test?

Now, that we have talked about the syllabus and format of PCAT, let's discuss the duration of the test. The duration of this test is around 4 hours. Each of its sub-test has a particular time limit which is listed as follows:

  • Verbal Ability - 30 minutes

  • Reading Comprehension - 30 minutes

  • Chemistry - 30 minutes

  • Biology - 30 minutes

  • Quantitative Ability - 40 minutes

  • Reading Comprehension - 50 minutes

  • Writing - 30 minutes each.

What are the Types of Questions That Will Appear in the PCAT Test?

The test questions are designed to cover all the parts of the test syllabus. The break-up of the question types in this test is listed as follows:

  • The Verbal Ability, Quantitative Ability, Chemistry and Biology sub-tests each include 48 multiple choice questions.

  • The Writing sub-tests include one writing assignment each. One of those assignments is not scored and is designed for the purpose of research.

  • The Reading Comprehension sub-test includes 6 reading passages and 48 multiple choice questions on those passages.

In all the sub-tests that have 48 questions, only 40 questions are scored and the remaining are included for experimental purposes. However, during the test, you will not be informed which test questions are scored and which are not. Therefore, it is essential that you attempt all the questions pertaining to the test syllabus in the test with equal effort.

How is PCAT Test Scored?

The PCAT writing sub-tests are manually scored by experienced and trained scorers. The other sections of the test are scored electronically, because they consist of only multiple choice questions. At the end of the test, a prelim score report is provided to all test-takers. The complete official score report is available on the official test website within five weeks of the testing window. Within the same time period, the test administration also sends the official score transcripts to the registered pharmacy institutions. The key items displayed in the official score report include a scaled score for every test section (except Writing), along with the lower-score percentiles of the students in the same testing window and the earned scores for the Writing tests, along with the average candidate scores during the same testing window. The computer-based PCAT test provides an option called the "No-Score" option, at the end of every test. Any test-taker who chooses this option will not receive any score reports and his/her test will not be scored altogether.

How is the PCAT Test Score Interpreted?

The PCAT test does not have any standard pass or fail score. Therefore, it is up-to the pharmacy college administrations to set-up their own minimum recommended scores to screen all the applicants for their degree programs.

We hope the above-listed frequently-asked questions on the syllabus and other aspects of the PCAT test have provided you with a clear understanding of what to expect during and after the test.