PCAT Writing

Two of the subtests that make up the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) are Writing subtests. Each Writing subtest requires the candidate to discuss one topic, and lasts 30 minutes. Each response will be assessed on a scale of 0 to 5.0 in terms of problem-solving skills and effective use of the conventions of language. The assessment of problem-solving skills will be issued by a single reader, while the score for conventions of language will be the average of scores issued by two readers. If the scores given by the two readers are separated by more than one point, a more experienced supervisor will give a final ruling.

The criteria for judging the Writing subtests are created prior to the administration of the exam. In the area of problem solving, the writer will receive a 5.0 for work that avoids fallacious reasoning and develops a powerful and subtle argument; he or she will receive a 4.0 for work that is effectively composed and persuasive, though it may contain some questionable reasoning; he or she will receive a 3.0 for adequate composition and a clear though over-general argument; he or she will receive a 2.0 for work that largely ignores the problem at hand; he or she will receive a 1.0 for response that is poorly composed and has an unclear solution; and he or she will receive a zero if no response is given or the response is unintelligible. As for the judging of the conventions of language, the writer will receive a 5.0 is he or she is in full command of the conventions of language, and makes almost no mistakes in mechanics, usage, and sentence formation; the writer will receive a 4.0 if he or she is mostly correct in the application of the conventions of language; he or she will receive a 3.0 if the work is fairly successful in applying the conventions of language; he or she will receive a 2.0 if the work is marginally successful in applying the conventions of language; he or she will receive a 1.0 if the work only occasionally applies the conventions of language in the correct fashion; and he or she will receive a zero if the response is left blank or is unintelligible.

The Writing subtests are placed at the beginning of the first and second testing periods; in other words, the first Writing prompt begins the PCAT, and the second Writing prompt is given immediately following the rest break.

Last Updated: 06/14/2014

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