Peer Mentors Blog

Peer Mentors for First-Year Students

PCAT Advice from Mentor Risa Robinson

by Brianna Luft | Apr 16, 2014

Now that your second semester is winding down, you are probably starting to think about the PCAT. The PCAT, pharmacy college admissions test, is a requirement for entry into the professional program. The dates for this year’s PCAT are July 17/18, September 3-5, October 6, 16, or 27-31, and November3-7. You can find these dates and the registration deadlines online at .

When is the best time to take the PCAT? This is up to you: many people choose to take the July test to get it out of the way. Students would rather take the test when they are not burdened with school work. It’s important to remember that the PCAT test is designed to test you on subjects from your pre-pharmacy years. So taking the test in July puts you in a place to take it before your second year of pre-pharmacy. However, most students find that this is not a problem and the emphasis of the material is on first year pre-pharmacy. The benefit to taking the test early is that you have time to retake the test if you are unsatisfied with your score.

How do you prepare? The nice thing about the PCAT is that it’s all material that you have already learned. Utilize PCAT prep books to help refresh your memory. Even looking through your general chemistry or biology notes will be helpful! The best way to prepare is practicing. At 4 hours long, the PCAT is lengthy and requires your attention for longer than most of you are used to. There are multiple choice sections involving mathematics, biology, general & organic chemistry, and verbal ability. There are also two essays. Don’t be alarmed if you cannot finish the sections in time on your first practice test. This is a skill that takes practice so I advise starting your preparations early.

The PCAT may seem intimidating, but remember, you have seen all this material before! Get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and pace yourself on the day of the test. If you are stuck on a question, guess and move on. Many of the questions are experimental questions meaning that they are not graded. No points are taken off for wrong answers so it’s better to guess than to leave questions blank. You will get your scores for the multiple choice sections immediately after the test. Your score for the writing section will come a few weeks later. If you’re not happy with your score, don’t be upset! You can always retake the test and each time you take it, you will be more experienced. 

Risa Robinson
Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate Class 2018 
Peer Mentor Coordinator 

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