PCAT Format

The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is composed of 240 multiple choice questions and 2 writing assignments. Candidates will receive about four hours to complete the test. Multiple choice items will be given in direct question or fill-in-the-blank format; each item will be accompanied by four possible answers.

The PCAT is divided into seven subtests, issued in the following order: Writing (part I), Verbal Ability, Biology, Chemistry, Writing (part II), Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Ability.

The Writing responses will be judged in terms of problem-solving skills and the effective use of the conventions of language, and must be completed within 30 minutes. The Verbal Ability subtest assesses nonscientific vocabulary and usage; it is composed of analogies (60%) and sentence completion exercises (40%). This subtest has 48 items and must be completed within 30 minutes.

The Biology subtest assesses mastery of the basic concepts of biology, including general biology, microbiology, human anatomy, and human physiology. It must be completed within 30 minutes and is comprised of 48 items; general biology makes up 60% of the exam, microbiology makes up 20%, and anatomy and physiology make up the remaining 20%.

The Chemistry subtest assesses knowledge of the basic principles of elementary organic and inorganic chemistry. It is composed of 48 items, which must be completed within 30 minutes; general chemistry makes up 60% of the subtest, while the remaining 40% is devoted to organic chemistry.

The Reading Comprehension subtest assesses the candidate’s ability to understand and evaluate science-related reading passages. It is composed of 48 multiple-choice questions concerning six separate reading passages, and must be completed within 50 minutes. 30% of the questions will test comprehension; 40% will test analytical skills; and the remaining 30% will assess the ability to evaluate the passages.

The Quantitative Ability subtest assesses mathematical skills and quantitative reasoning in the areas of basic math, algebra, probability, statistics, precalculus, and calculus. This subtest consists of 48 items which must be completed within 40 minutes; basic math skills make up 15% of the exam content, algebra makes up 20%, probability and statistics make up another 20%, precalculus makes up 22%, and the final 22% focuses on calculus. It should be noted that some of the items in each multiple-choice section are experimental, meaning that they are used to develop future versions of the exam and do not contribute to the exam score. It will be impossible to determine which questions are experimental.

Last Updated: 06/14/2014

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