Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is a standardized test administered by the PsychoCorp for admission into pharmacy colleges. This test is backed by American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. The test evaluates candidates at national level, hence serves as one of the selection criteria for admissions in pharmacy colleges.
The candidates seeking admission into graduate courses of pharmacy take this test. The applicant must have completed one year of collegiate education including subjects like biology, chemistry, physics and organic chemistry.
PCAT test is divided into seven subtests- verbal ability, biology, chemistry, reading comprehension, quantitative ability, and two writing subtests. The verbal ability test contains questions on analogies and sentence completion. The content of biology subtest is derived from general biology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology. The chemistry subtest has 60% content area from general chemistry and 40 % from organic chemistry. The reading comprehension test examines ability of comprehension, analysis and evaluation of given passages. In this section, there are six passages taken from science subject. Algebra, basic mathematics, probability & statistics, pre-calculus and calculus form the content of mathematics subtest. The writing subtests are based on conventions of language and problem solving.
There are 48 multiple choice questions in each of these subtests except the writing subtests. The writing subtests are based on essay writing and allotted time period for each is 30 minutes. The time given for verbal ability, biology and chemistry subtests is 30 minutes to each, 50 minutes for reading comprehension and 40 minutes for quantitative ability test. Out of 48 questions in each objective type subtest, 40 are scored and 8 are not scored. Similarly, one of the writing subtests is unscored. These unscored MCQs and writing assignment are experimental and used for developing future versions of this test. However, these questions are indistinguishable in exam.
All multiple choice questions have same weight. The raw scores of multiple choice type subtests are scaled in a range from 200 to 600. The multiple choice part is also given a scaled composite score. The writing subtest is awarded points in range from 0 to 5 with half point increments. The multiple choice portion is electronically checked and writing section is scored by a human examiner. There is no negative marking in test. The score card contains scaled scores and percentile rank of all attempts of this test in last five years. The results are released in six weeks and reported to the candidate and colleges mentioned at the time of registration. The test taker also has a No Score option by which his/her score is discarded and not reported to anyone. The results are never conveyed through telephone, fax or in person.
This exam is administered at Pearson Vue testing centers. The registrations can be done through internet or mail. The applicant should select test dates considering that the time when results will be required by colleges. This test can be taken at most five times, after which special permission is required for retaking it.
PCAT exam fee is $199. This includes issuance of personal score card and maximum three official transcripts to colleges mentioned while registration. There are extra charges for late registration ($49), additional official transcript ($20), paper version of personal score report ($20), verification ($40) and rescoring ($50).