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All About the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

Want to attend pharmacy school? You’ll likely need to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).

The PCAT is constructed specifically for use by colleges of pharmacy for admission purposes. Informed by research, the test is designed to accurately predict success in science-oriented courses. This is determined by the types of abilities, aptitudes, and skills deemed essential by colleges of pharmacy. Periodic reviews of the test content are conducted with deans, faculty, and administrators from schools of pharmacy to ensure that questions reflect current pharmacy prerequisite and curriculum requirements. The PCAT consists of approximately 192 multiple-choice items and one writing section. Candidates are given 3 hours and 25 minutes to complete the test (plus administrative time for instructions and time for a short rest break about halfway through the test).

What types of knowledge or skills does the PCAT measure?

The content areas measured by the PCAT include: Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Critical Reading, and Quantitative Reasoning multiple-choice subtests are a few experimental items that are not counted toward your score.

Do all pharmacy schools require the PCAT for admission?

No. More than 85 percent of all pharmacy programs require applicants to submit scores from a standardized test known as the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). To determine which colleges and schools require the PCAT, review the PharmCAS School Directory. Minimum PCAT scores may be required for admission consideration. (High school applicants applying to a “0-6” program or early assistance program are not required to take the PCAT for admission. Other tests may be required).

What are the minimum PCAT scores considered?

The minimum PCAT scores considered for admission vary by institution. Review the directory pages for each institution on the PharmCAS School Directory for more information.

How do I register for the PCAT?

To register online for the PCAT or to request your scores to be sent, visit the PCAT website.  

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Remember, don’t procrastinate! Just because you can take the PCAT more than once doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take each test seriously. It’s especially important to get ahead of the curve and take the PCAT early in the testing cycle—this gives you the opportunity to retake the test if you didn’t perform as well as anticipated. It’s also risky to let the last test of a PCAT test cycle be your first attempt at the exam. Not only will you not have another chance to retake the exam if needed, but you’re likely to have high stress levels which could cause poor performance. Be proactive, plan ahead, and study hard!

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