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What is the PCAT?

By Kris Roudebush
Updated Feb 13, 2024
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The PCAT, or Pharmacy College Admission Test, helps identify students who are best suited for Pharmacy College. It was created by PsychCorp. The PCAT is divided into 2 sections. One is a 240 question multiple choice section and the other consists of two writing topics. Be prepared to spend at least four hours taking the PCAT, since the exam is four hours long and there will be time added for instructions, breaks, and other administration activities.

The purpose of the PCAT is to determine the candidate's scientific knowledge and general ability. Most pharmacy colleges require candidates to have already taken some basic classes. Math, physics, English composition, a few electives, and of course, general chemistry with lab, an organic chemistry class with lab, and biology with a lab are usually required courses before starting nearly any pharmacy college. Some of these classes are the basis for the coursework that is done in Pharmacy College and will give prospective colleges an idea of a candidate’s adaptability in each of those classes.

When you take the PCAT varies depending on the year that you want to take the test. January, June, August, and October are usually the months the PCAT is offered. Be sure to check the PCAT website for updated information.

While you're at the website, you can register. Registering at the website will save you $35.00 US Dollars (USD) over a paper application. The online registration fee is $125.00 USD and includes basics like a scorecard for you and three official transcripts sent to the schools of your choice. If you change your mind and need to change or add a school, be sure to pay the additional transcript fee of $20.00 USD, or it won't get sent.

If you're outside the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico, be prepared for some additional testing fees. Currently, the price of special location testing is $189.00 USD and $271.00 USD for administrative services. The $189.00 USD is not refundable. Prices are subject to change, so be sure you check with the site.

You'll also find a practice test, some useful preparation tips for applying, and a list of pharmacy colleges where you may wish to attend on the website. In the U.S. and around the world pharmacists are in demand and are projected to continue to be in demand. The PCAT is first step to a solid, in demand career.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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