The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is an exam developed by PsychCorp, a brand of Harcourt Assessment, Inc.
The Pharmacy College Admission Test is an admissions test that is required by many colleges of pharmacy as part of the application process. It is designed to measure the abilities and aptitudes that are needed to succeed in pharmacy school, with a focus on the science-oriented courses.
The PCAT is a computer-based standardized test administered by Pearson Education, Inc. What does the PCAT measure? This standardized test evaluates a test taker’s general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for a pharmaceutical education.
The Pharmacy College Admissions Test is given by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy designed to identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges, and is used by many pharmacy schools across the US, as well as by colleges in in Canada, the Philippines, Qatar, and the West Indies. Pharmacy college is an important step in becoming a qualified pharmacy technician or pharmacist.
The test is a Computer Based Test with 5 48-question multiple choice sections. 8 questions in each of the sections is unscored. There are also 2 writing sections, one of which is unscored. The exam is four hours long.
The multiple choice topics on the exam are:
- Verbal ability (Analogies, sentence completion)
- Biology (General, microbiology, human anatomy and physiology)
- Chemistry (General, Organic, Basic Biochemistry Processes)
- Reading Comprehension (Comprehension, Analysis, Evaluation)
- Quantitative Ability (Basic Math, Algebra, Probability & Statistics, Pre-calculus, and Calculus
What Is the Structure of the PCAT?
More specifically, how many sections does the PCAT exam have? How many questions are on the PCAT?
The PCAT has 192 multiple-choice questions and one writing prompt. It is divided into five subtests, given in the following order:
Writing: 30 minutes, one essay question. This section contains a single prompt or problem that requires a written solution or explanation. International students should be aware that there is no spell-check or other writing tools available for this section.
Biology: 45 minutes, 48 questions. This section includes 50% general biology, 30% human anatomy, and 20% microbiology questions presented as short passages or stand-alone items. An on-screen calculator is built into the exam.
Chemical processes: 45 minutes, 48 questions. This section includes 50% general chemistry, 30% organic chemistry, and 20% basic biochemistry process questions presented as short passages or stand-alone items. Students have access to a periodic table. Just like in the biology section, an on-screen calculator is built into the exam.
Critical reading: 50 minutes, 48 questions. This section includes 40% analysis, 30% comprehension, and 30% evaluation questions given in sets that accompany reading passages.
Quantitative reasoning: 50 minutes, 48 questions. This section includes 25% general math, 25% algebra, 18% probability and statistics, 18% precalculus, and 14% calculus stand-alone items, many of which are presented as word problems or problem-solving exercises. Test takers can also use a built-in on-screen calculator in this section.
How Many Times Can PCAT Be Taken?
The PCAT can be taken up to five times. Additional attempts require prior permission. Scores will automatically be sent to the three universities or colleges chosen during the registration process. You have the option to cancel this by selecting “No Score Option” at the end of the exam, but you also will not receive your scores and will not receive a refund of fees.