PCAT Test Preparation Overview

The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT®) is a specialized test that helps identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges. It measures general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for the commencement of pharmaceutical education. The PCAT is constructed specifically for colleges of pharmacy. Not all schools require the PCAT.  Check school websites for the most accurate test requirements. 

What content does the PCAT contain?

The PCAT is broken down into five sections:

  1. Writing
  2. Biological Processes
  3. Chemical Processes
  4. Critical Reading
  5. Quantitative Reasoning

How is the PCAT scored?

On the PCAT, scores range from 200 to 600, with the median being 400.  The 90th percentile is typically a 430.  Many schools require that you score above a particular level to be considered as a candidate for admissions.

What Classes Should I Complete Before Taking the PCAT?

BIO 180, BIO 181, CHEM 105, CHEM 106, CHEM 351, CHEM 352, CHEM 481, ENG 301, MATH 109 (or MATH 110x and MATH 111), and MATH 112 or 119 are all foundational courses to prepare you for the PCAT.  Other helpful courses are Microbiology and Physiology.   

What are the costs associated with taking the PCAT?

The PCAT costs $210. There may be other fees for extra score reports or rescheduling fees.

The costs for study materials, travel, and the exam can be between $210-$3000, depending on if you choose to self-study or purchase programs and materials.

How do I register for the PCAT?

You must have a user account to register for the PCAT. To set up a user account or access an existing account, click “Log In” in the blue box on the upper right side of the website.

Where do I take the PCAT?

It is strongly suggested that within 24 hours of receiving your Registration Confirmation email, you schedule your preferred testing date, time, and location to take the PCAT at a Pearson VUE Test Center. Please note that you cannot schedule an appointment with Pearson VUE until you have received your registration confirmation. The closest testing center to BYUI is at ISU in Pocatello.

To schedule your preferred testing date, time, and location, go to www.pearsonvue.com/pcat and click “Schedule Online.”

How do I Prepare for the PCAT?

Give yourself at least two to four months to study for the PCAT. Many sources recommend 200–250 hours. For example, you could plan on three hours per day, five days per week, for three to four months.  Additional ideas to help:

  • Take two or three real-time simulated practice tests—this is the best way to most accurately replicate the conditions you will experience on test day.
  • Focus on fundamental concepts.
  • Study efficiently by creating a study calendar and focusing extra time on subjects you find difficult.
  • Study one subject at a time. By focusing on one subject, you will be able to digest the material quickly and effectively.
  • Get into a routine and ensure you continue to sleep and eat well.

There are multiple test prep courses available. When deciding between the courses, consider the following:

  • Cost: compare what resources will be available through each test prep course for the expense
  • Location: some test preps are only available online while other test preps will have in-person classes or tutoring available
  • Teaching Style and Structure: Compare the length of the programs, the teaching style, and how the programs are structured.

Helpful Resources and Websites