The Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) assists in identifying potential students to pharmacy colleges in the nation. The test is a measurement of a student’s general academic ability and scientific knowledge, both of which are important in progressing through the pharmaceutical education process.

The PCAT is offered in January, July, September, and October/November of each year. The cost for taking the exam is currently $210. There is also a Practice Test offered for $50 and a Study Guide for $25.

The test is given as a computerized exam, with the option of paper exams for those students who require accommodations. It contains a total of 192 multiple choice questions and one writing piece. Students are allotted a total of 205 minutes for the completion of the exam. The PCAT is comprised of the following components:

Writing: 30 minutes

Biological Processes: General Biology, Microbiology, Anatomy & Physiology (40 minutes)

Chemical Processes: General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry (40 minutes)

Critical Reading: Comprehension, Analysis, Evaluation (50 minutes)

Quantitative Reasoning: Basic Math, Algebra, Probability, Statistics, Precalculus, Calculus (45 minutes)

The Critical Reading section assesses student’s knowledge and comprehension of words in a passage, main ideas, supporting details, and drawing conclusions. Students are also assessed on various relationships between ideas, the author’s purpose for writing the passage, tone of the passage, various facts and/or opinions about the passage, evaluation of the content, and any biases that may be inferred from the passage.

The Quantitative Reasoning section is designed to asses a student’s knowledge of basic math, fractions, percentages, decimals, unit conversions, algebra, equations, expressions and inequalities. They should also have the ability to solve problems using linear equations, solve quadratic equations, and solve systems of equations and inequalities. Graphing, probability, statistical concepts, logarithms, domains, ranges, intercepts, composite functions, and complex numbers are also assessed by this exam.

The PCAT Writing component is designed to assess a student’s writing ability when presented with a specific prompt. This could be related to health issues, science issues, social, cultural, or political issues.

More specific information on the biological processes and chemical processes can be obtained from the official website.

The information above is not a complete explanation of the content assessed by this exam. The PCAT website contains information about each section of the exam and offers study questions for each section. There is also an official practice test.

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