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YU: CHEM 2020, CHEM 3020; UofT: CHM138H, CHM247S, CHM249S, CHM348F, CHM343S, CHM342F; McM: 2OA3, 2OB3, 2OC3, 2OD3, 3D03, 4D03; UWO: CHEM2213a, CHEM2223b.
* YU: York University;
UofT: University of Toronto;
McM: McMaster University;
UWO: University of Western Ontario
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*For students' convenience, we provide an introductory information on the professional tests (MCAT, PCAT, DAT and OAT). Each test is described briefly followed by a summary of the important information in the tables. However, the information may not updated and is for your reference only. We do not intend or assume any obligation for the contents. Please also refer to the corresponding official websites for more information.
The PCAT is a test that is administered and developed by Harcourt Assessment, Inc. This test is used to aid during the admissions process to pharmacy colleges, and it measures a student's general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for the commencement of pharmaceutical education. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) endorses the PCAT as the official preferred admission test for entrance to pharmacy college.
Pearson has introduced a new computer-based test (CBT) version of the PCAT. Beginning in July 2011, all candidates will take the test via computer.
The computer-based version of the PCAT is exactly the same as the paper-and-pencil form in terms of content, order of subtests, scoring, and reporting. The only difference is in the way the test is administered. Internet access, spell check, online calculator, and any other assisting computer functions will not be available during the CBT administration. You will be required to type your essay responses for the CBT version.
The same guidelines and rules for the paper-and-pencil version of the PCAT apply to the CBT version.
Registration of the PCAT can be completed either via mail or online at the PCAT's website. All successful registrants will be sent a confirmation via email. Approximately ten business days before the actual PCAT, a final admission ticket will be emailed to all test takers. This admission ticket should be verified for accuracy and printed for use on test day. When arriving at the PCAT, the final admission ticket as well as two forms of valid ID must be presented to be admitted to the test.
The PCAT consists of 240 multiple-choice questions and two Writing topics. Candidates are given four hours to complete the test (plus administrative time for instructions and time for a short rest break about halfway through 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, including Writing (part I), Verbal Ability, Biology, Chemistry, Writing (part II), Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Ability. For details, refer to Table 1.
Table 1. Summary of PCAT (Total Length: 4 hours)
Plan to take the PCAT after completion of coursework in Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry. Most applicants have completed at least two years of college before taking the test.
An effective strategy for PCAT preparation is to study the "easy" sections such as Biology and Quantitative Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension by yourself or attending the big preparation classes. This is because the major task to prepare for the Biology section is to find a good material
and memorize the key points. The Quantitative Reasoning section covers only basic mathematical skills students learned in high school, including calculus, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, and some word problems that use applied mathematics. For the Reading Comprehension section, where
you are given three lengthy passages, each followed by questions about them to be completed in 60 minutes. While no prior knowledge of the topics presented is required, the material is typical of the types of reading in dental and basics sciences that one would find in dental school. A preparation class would be great choice for students to organize and analyze the material for this section.
However, most students found that the sections such as General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Perceptual Ability are challenging. Self-study or attending big classes does not help them improve their test results within short time. Instead, one-on-one or small group instructing sessions provided by Dr. Ma at MPC Education Centre works very efficiently for individual student with different knowledge level. Dr. Ma is highly knowledgeable and experienced in instructing these subjects and training students in preparation the tests such as MCAT, DAT, PCAT and OAT, etc.
The most important thing that you can do preparing for the PCAT is not stress out. A score in the 90th percentile is not required to get into pharmacy school. You only have to have an average score in most cases.
Don’t make the mistake of altering hair color or facial hair prior to the exam. Your picture has to match the application picture. In addition, bring a drink and some snack food for your testing break and wear layered clothing. Students that take the PCAT in shorts and a tee shirt may find the testing center unbearable cold and be unable to concentrate.
When preparing for the PCAT test, watch out for the words: except, always and not in all PCAT questions. Get a good night’s sleep before the PCAT test. Wear layered clothing to the exam. Dress comfortable and do NOT get distracted by all the other people. Practice with a watch and bring a watch to the test. Study for each section of the PCAT test individually. If you extremely weak in one area of PCAT content, focus on that section separately. Don’t cram for your PCAT test. Read over a good practice study guide at least three weeks in advance and take a PCAT study course.
Re-read parts of your freshman biology book (about the cell, animal anatomy and physiology etc.). Take as many reading/verbal practice quizzes as you can so that when you get the real thing you will fly through them. Take anatomy & physiology before the PCAT. It will make the bio section a breeze. The test questions on anatomy for example were all very general that anybody who has taken anatomy should easily be able to master.
Practice the math, especially your timing. Speed is really important in this section. Make sure you can do calculations with decimals, fractions, exponents, logs, and radicals quickly and without a calculator.
PCAT has five sections: verbal ability, quantitative ability, biology, inorganic/organic chemistry, and reading comprehension. The five sections contribute to a composite score that ranges between 100 and 300, with the national average typically being around 200.
The student should keep in mind that this is not the average score accepted by pharmacy schools. Most programs typically require higher scores for acceptance.
Some pharmacy schools require letters of recommendation or an evaluation from the preprofessional committee.
Many pharmacy schools expect a certain amount of service or work experience in the field. As with all other requirements, this can be extremely variable between programs.
Following completion of the prerequisite course work required by the school(s) of interest, the student should begin the process by registering with the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) found at http://www.pharmcas.org/applicants/start.htm.