Pharmacy College Admission Test: Guide to Pass the PCAT Test


The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT®) is an admissions examination developed through Pearson especially for colleges of pharmacy. The PCAT measures general educational skills and scientific understanding essential for the commencement of expert pharmacy education. If you’re making plans to take the PCAT test, you need to review and take the PCAT practice test.

Since 1974, the PCAT has helped pharmacy colleges discover certified applicants for admission. A score of 4500 on the PCAT demonstrates a heightened capacity for critical thinking, problem-solving and sophisticated natural science. A score of 4600 represents roughly proficiency at the level of graduates from top colleges and universities in the country.

The PCAT exam is offered five times annually at Pearson VUE testing centers nationwide. Most pharmacy colleges require that PCAT test takers register to take the examination by a particular date.

If you’re aiming to enter the college of pharmacy, it would be suggested that you take the PCAT practice test as frequently as you can. Why? It is because you will get more familiar with the PCAT test and this will help you to achieve a much better score in the real exam. 

Subtests on PCAT

There are 5 separate subtests on the PCAT exam. You will have to take each subtest one by one in a single 90-minute testing session. You will have no idea about the questions on the exam before taking it.

  • The 1st test is called the Verbal Ability and Reading Skills (VARS). It includes three types of multiple-choice questions: phrase identification, sentence completion, and reading comprehension. 
  • The 2nd test is called Quantitative Reasoning (QUAN). This includes three types of multiple-choice questions: problem solving, quantitative comparison, and data analysis using charts, tables and graphs. 
  • The 3rd test is called Biology E/M (BIOL). This tests your ability to evaluate scientific evidence by interpreting graphical relationships and constructing logical arguments. 
  • The 4th subtest is called Chemistry (CHEM). This tests your ability to apply knowledge of chemical principles and understand biological processes. 
  • The 5th subtest is called English (ENG). It tests your ability to communicate effectively in writing and speaking.
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PCAT Passing Score

The PCAT is graded on a range of 200 to 600, with 400 being the median result. A passing score on the test indicates that the examinee can function as a pharmacy student in college or graduate school.

PCAT is offered 5 times annually at Pearson VUE testing centers throughout the country. To ensure that you receive your PCAT test results on time, you must register for each PCAT testing session by US Mail or through your Pearson VUE account before the deadline date. If you fail to register for each session before the deadline date, you will not receive your PCAT results and/or transcript by mail until after all of the sessions have been completed.

How do you get a passing grade on the PCAT exam?

A student gets a “C” on the PCAT exam if the student receives a total score of 17 or less. A “C” grade is indicative of passing. Those who receive 17 to 30 points generally get a grade of “D”, those who get 31 or more points generally get a grade of “F”. 

PCAT Test Fees and Location

Most colleges of pharmacy require you to pay all test fees. However, some colleges require students to pay only their application fees. Some will even refund students certain fees if they don’t get admitted into their colleges.

Fees vary, depending on your location and the date you register. You may be able to deduct some of the PCAT test fees if you qualify for a fee waiver.

PCAT Test Results

Test results are usually mailed to the student’s home within four weeks after each PCAT testing session has been completed. Results are sent by overnight delivery or certified mail, and your signature is required when you sign for them at your local post office. Due to this reason, it is considered highly likely that you will receive your results on time if you sign for the package at home. If no one is at home at the time of attempted delivery, the package will be returned to Pearson VUE for re-delivery.

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PCAT Study Guide

What are the best study materials for PCAT? There are several study guides for PCAT. However, the best source of information on what to study is the College Board’s Official PCAT Student Guide. It explains the content of each portion of the test, how to best prepare for them, and how to answer questions correctly. It will also give you tips on how to improve your scores in each subtest of the PCAT exam.

Other sources that you may use for preparation include World Wide Web, textbooks, and tutors. However, these other sources are not very reliable since they are often outdated and difficult to find (if you can find them at all). Remember that you would be better off preparing yourself by studying your College Board guide instead.

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