Utility of PCAT Testing
The pharmaceutical industry is highly specialized and this line of profession demands seasoned candidates with specific qualifications and skillsets. In order to ensure that the right candidates are chosen to study pharmacy courses, an entrance test is conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) known as the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).
The PCAT is a standardized test and like any other entrance exam, this test has some pre-requirements which have to be fulfilled. Therefore, it is important for every candidate aspiring to enroll into a pharmacy course, to be aware of the procedures and guidelines mentioned for PCAT testing.
About the PCAT Test:
Unlike other entrance exams, this entrance exam is not a mere aptitude test. In fact, the PCAT testing method is designed to identify the overall competencies of the candidate relevant to pharmaceutical education. Therefore, this 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.
The test sections of Verbal Ability, Biology and Chemistry have 48 questions each and candidates have 30 minutes allotted for each of these sections. However, the Reading Comprehension section has 48 questions based on 6 passages. There are 50 minutes allotted to complete this section. Whereas, the Quantitative Ability section has 40 minutes allotted for answering 48 questions.
The Writing section has 2 sub-sections for essay writing assignments. It should be known that according to the PCAT testing structure, there would be a short break given halfway through the test. The time allotted for these sections is 30 minutes and both the sessions would be conducted in separate halves of the test.
It should be known that each section is scored individually and in order to pass the test, a candidate has to pass in every section. Alongside, it is extremely important to check the guidelines for the PCAT testing structure. It should also be known that you cannot apply to any pharmacy program without the scorecard of this test which is known as the official transcript.
Unlike other entrance exams, the pharmacy colleges accept the official transcript sent by the official PCAT testing website only. Thus, candidates are not allowed to send their results directly via their e-mails or through separate applications. However, you can visit the official website for PCAT (http://www.pcatweb.info/) to gain more insight about the rules concerning the sending of transcripts.
Benefits of the PCAT Testing Structure:
Even though the PCAT test is an elaborate exam with stringent rules, there are many ways in which you can benefit from the PCAT testing structure created by Pearson.
Official PCAT Practice Test: There is an online practice test available on the official website of PCAT for purchase, which enables the candidate to map his/her level of preparedness for the test. Moreover, through this resource, you can get familiarized with the actual PCAT testing and scoring structure. Additionally, you will receive a score report highlighting your weak and strong areas according to your performance in this test.
Official Transcripts: Unlike other entrance exams, you do not have to send your PCAT score to colleges. The official transcript of your PCAT scores will be sent to your designated pharmacy colleges directly by AACP, within 5 weeks after you complete the test.It should be known that pharmacy colleges do not entertain any application which does not come through AACP. Moreover, your scores would be available online for a year.
No Score Option: This is an extremely beneficial facility provided in the PCAT testing structure. There is a 'No Score Option' available during the administration of the test. It should be known that if you select this option, then your test would not be scored and the score report will not be generated. Thus, at any point if you feel that you have underperformed in the test and wish to re-appear for PCAT, you can utilize this option.
Even though, this test is challenging and its preparations take a lot of time, it is not impossible to get a good score in it. The PCAT testing structure is extremely flexible and there are many resources available, both online and offline, through which you can be well- prepared. However, you have to be absolutely sure and confident when you appear for this test. It should be known that by utilizing the right resources and through a rigorous study plan,you can definitely achieve your goal to join a great pharmacy program!
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