PCAT Test Preparation
Generally students taking the PCAT are anxious about the outcome of their performance in the test. The anxieties deal with a lot of things as follows.
- Taking the test with confidence
- Finishing the test in time
- Attempting most of the questions to perfection
- Getting a good score and percentile rank in PCAT
- Getting admission into their favorite pharmacy college on the basis of PCAT score
All these concerns can only be handled with strong PCAT preparation. While all students do their bit before taking the test, there is a difference in the way they prepare. This accounts for the difference in their scores. The preparation by those who have scored higher is done in a more effective manner than the preparation done by others. This probably might make the students scoring lesser wonder if they could also score well had they prepared for PCAT in another way. The answer is ‘yes’.
What is Effective PCAT Preparation?
Burying yourself in books for hours together is not the right method of preparation. There is no doubt that a serious exam like PCAT needs serious preparation. However, the stress of effective preparation lies in the quality and not quantity.
The features of effective preparation are as follows:
- It is planned and personalized
- It involves activity and interaction
- It is interesting
- It covers the required content areas
Let us see how these features are applicable to PCAT
How to plan PCAT Preparation
The most outstanding feature of effective PCAT preparation is planning. There should be a clear outline of what is to be done and what is not to be done during preparation. Moreover, each student should plan PCAT preparation according to his personal requirements. The following tips can help you.
- Firstly, one needs to plan the time required for preparation. The time differs from student to student since some students have a better foundation than others do. Nonetheless, preparation is required for all. In general, complete PCAT preparation takes about 3 months of smooth study.
- Planning is required to allot time for different content areas. It is possible that a student has particular strengths and some weaknesses. These areas should be identified and incorporated in PCAT preparation by giving more time to weak areas.
- It is advisable to prepare a timetable to sort things out during preparation. Based on the above two points, one can prepare a timetable and stick to it so that there is no loss of time. Moreover, following a smooth timetable is better than spending 10 hours of study for PCAT when the exam is nearing.
Activities Involved in PCAT Preparation
PCAT preparation involves more than just learning from books. All the following activities work towards development of skills required for PCAT.
- Interaction with peers and experts helps to gain an insight into their thoughts. Experts can help you in areas in which you have difficulties and thus guide you in the correct direction. Discussions and interactions with peers helps to broaden your perspective. Sometimes it is with such a discussion that you come to know about your own doubts and difficulties.
- It is essential to have an interaction with the study material as well. Passive learning is ineffective. Hence, if you learn something through books you should make efforts and recall the learning after closing the books. Solving sample questions is one of the best ways of applying your knowledge. Study materials like software and flashcards offer immense interaction, which provides dynamism to PCAT preparation.
- There is a great role of feedback in PCAT preparation. This activity should be involved on a regular basis. You can get feedback from your guide in the form of comments or scores. This helps in motivating students as well as checking them where they go wrong.
How to Make PCAT Preparation Interesting
PCAT preparation is most effective when it is interesting. One is wrong to believe that preparation is tiring and boring. PCAT preparation can be made interesting in a number of ways.
- It is essential to adopt the most suitable method of study. All students are different, and so are their learning habits. While some students like to study in their rooms with books and software, others like to study in a group or in a class. Similarly, depending upon your interests you can also select online preparation or group tutorial to make your study routine interesting.
- Practice tools like solving sample PCAT questions, word games, word puzzles, math problems and practice tests can be included to bring variety as well as quality in preparation. Practicing full-length practice tests in simulated conditions not only provides change, but students also learn a great deal from such practice sessions.
- In order to keep up the interest level in the learning routine, it is essential to have a healthy mix of topics to learn. Do not stick to a single subject for days together. In fact, some time should be allotted to a different subject on a daily basis so that you don’t get bored of studying the same things for a long time.
- All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Include sufficient breaks in your study routine to provide rest and change to yourself. This reenergizes you and keeps your mind fresh.
What Content to Cover in PCAT Preparation
The content is most important in preparation. PCAT preparation should include all the required content so that none of the areas is neglected. The following should be included in preparation.
- All the content areas like verbal ability, writing, biology, chemistry, reading comprehension and quantitative ability should be given due consideration. None of the skills should be neglected.
- Preparation should be done after complete understanding of the test and scoring system. One must have a clear idea about the types of questions asked in PCAT, number of questions, division of time, scoring scheme etc. before one sets off to prepare. This helps to mould preparation according to the needs of the test and makes PCAT preparation practical.
- Preparation should include collecting and mastering of tips and strategies to take the PCAT. Such tips can be collected from ex-students, books, PCAT courses and can also be developed during preparation. A list of tips can be made and tried during preparation to see if they are effective in scoring better.
- PCAT preparation should involve practice and recall methods. Effective preparation includes practice by mentally recalling the learnt material and also through practice questions.
Official Practice Test
The official website offers students two full-length Practice Tests which can be purchased online. Students can either purchase any or both of the practice tests. The features of the Practice Tests are given below.
- They cover all five multiple-choice subtests.
- Guidance is provided to compose essays along with sample essays for better understanding of the requirements.
- An answer key and detailed explanations of answers are provided.
- A timer is provided to help students take a timed test.
- An individual subtest can be scored while taking a Practice test.
- You receive a Composite Diagnostic Report for your performance that summarizes the scores received in five subtests.
PCAT preparation is required for doing well in the test, however, to beat all the anxieties attached with taking the test, one needs to prepare for PCAT in the most effective way. There is no stopping the students who leave no stone unturned during preparation. Such preparation is bound to reap results in the form of high scores and consequent admission into the best pharmacy colleges.
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