PCAT Frequently Asked Questions
Writing Discuss a solution to a given word problem 30 minutes Biological Processes 48 questions:
General Biology, Microbiology, Anatomy, and Physiology
45 minutes Chemical Processes 48 questions:
General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Biochemistry
45 minutes Break Rest and recharge! 15 minutes Critical Reading 48 questions:
6 passages, 8 questions per passage
50 minutes Quantitative Reasoning 48 questions:
Basic Math, Algebra, Probability and Statistics, Precalculus, Calculus
Your score report will include scores for each section of the test including: Verbal Ability, Biology, Chemistry, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Ability. Your initial "raw score" is converted to a scaled score ranging from 200-600. Your composite score is calculated by taking the average of your scaled score on each multiple choice section.
Your writing sample is scored separately by two graders, whose scores are averaged on a scale from 1-6. In addition, you will receive your percentile rank for each section and for your composite score. The composite percentile rank is the number students use when discussing their PCAT scores.
The PCAT is scored on a scale from 200-600 with the median being a 400. The 90th percentile is typically a 430. Many pharmacy schools require that you score above a particular level on your exam in order to be considered as a candidate for admissions.
The answer to "Is the PCAT hard?" is "it doesn't have to be." The PCAT does cover a lot of content, and asks you to recall several years of undergraduate work, including calculus, in addition to testing your stamina with a long exam. As you get to know the PCAT's content and structure in your prep course, you'll also learn strategies for conquering the test.
How you study for the PCAT depends on your goals, preferred study style, schedule, and more. The best way to study for the PCAT is to find a method that works for you, make a plan, and stick with it. You may want to study in a live classroom online, on your own, or even with a tutor. Your PCAT study plan should include reviewing content, learning strategy, as well as realistic, full-length practice.
How long you'll spend studying for the PCAT depends on where you start, what your target score is, and what your schedule is. The average student will spend 1-3 months on their PCAT prep. You'll want to study until you are consistently scoring in your target range on full-length practice tests, and feel comfortable with every aspect of the PCAT.
When considering your PCAT score goal, you should look at average scores at the schools to which you're applying. Pharmacy schools will consider your composite score of 200-600, and they may look at your percentile ranking. To give yourself the best chance at attending your top-choice school, you'll want to score well above the average for that school and perform well across all sections of the exam.