PCAT Verbal

PCAT Verbal Section Explained

The Verbal refers to the Verbal Ability section of the Pharmacy College Aptitude Test (PCAT). This test aims to test the vocabulary and language usage skills of the examinees. This test, along with the Writing and Reading Comprehension sections, forms the language testing area of PCAT; the other areas test the numerical ability and scientific knowledge skills of the test taker.

Format of PCAT Verbal Ability Test

The Verbal Ability Test consists of forty-eight questions that have to be answered in thirty minutes. This content area of the test consists of two sections: Analogies and Sentence Completion. Both the sections are of the objective-type pattern and have multiple-choice answers, from which the most appropriate answers have to be chosen.

Parts of the Analogies Section

The Analogies Section of the Verbal test focuses on certain areas. An examinee’s skills to draw different types of analogies from the information given in the questions are tested in this sub-section of the Verbal test.

The different sub-sections of the Analogies section of the Verbal test are as follows:

  • Similarity/Contrast- This section tests an examinee’s ability to draw similar and contrasting analogies.
  • Association- This section tests the ability of a PCAT examinee to draw associations between different given terms.
  • Classification- This section tests an examinee’s ability to relate concepts on a hierarchical basis.
  • Whole/Part- Questions based on the Whole/Part concept test an examinee’s ability to establish a “belonging-to” or “forms-a-part-of” relationship.
  • Characteristic- This section contains questions based on one’s ability to establish relationships based on characteristics.

More Information about the PCAT Analogies Section

The Analogies section of the Verbal Ability section, basically, consists of terms which need to be analogically related to each other. The given terms may consist of one word or a collection of words. The questions of this section typically follow a certain pattern. Each question will consist of an example, which will show the kind of analogical relationship that one needs to think in terms of. This example is followed by the term for which an analogy has to be found, from the alternatives given in the answer section of that question. The alternative that best satisfies the exemplified analogical relationship is to be chosen as the match to the term under question. Each question will have only one correct answer.

One has to carefully understand that the alternatives suggested as answers may all appear to satisfy the analogy, but only one answer amongst them will be the most appropriate for the question. The skill of an examinee to be able to distinguish between the different alternatives for appropriateness and choose the most appropriate amongst them, is tested in this section.

The Sentence Completion Section

The sentence completion section of Verbal ability consists of questions that test the examinee’s knowledge of English grammar, specifically the parts of speech. This section consists of incomplete sentences, which need to be filled with Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, or a combination of these, as appropriate. A set of answers will be provided and one has to choose an answer that completes the sentence in a grammatically and conceptually correct manner.

The PCAT Verbal Ability Section Scoring

The Verbal Ability section of PCAT scores range from 200-600. Scaled scores and percentiles are awarded to the test takers for their performance in this test section. Performing well in the Verbal Section depends on one’s command over the English language. A person who has a good command over the English Language will be able to perform well in this section. Some Pharmacy colleges consider the English Language skills of applicants for granting them admission in courses offered by them. A few Pharmacy colleges consider the performance of an applicant in the scientific content areas of the test and do not pay much attention to their performance in the Verbal Ability section, while others consider the performance of the applicants in all the content areas of the test.


The Verbal section tests a PCAT examinee’s English Language skills. The person’s vocabulary and ability to find the most appropriate analogies are tested through it. In order to perform well in this section, one has to first improve his English grammar and vocabulary skills.