The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is a computer-based test conducted throughout the year. This exam is endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) as the official preferred admission test for entrance to pharmacy school. PCAT forms the basic selection criterion for students wishing to pursue higher studies in pharmacy. Pearson is responsible for the development, administration, and monitoring of the PCAT.
In order to be considered eligible to take the test, the applicant must at least be a graduate. High grades are desirable, since admission to pharmacy colleges will depend on both the PCAT score and past academic performance. Each pharmacy college has its own specific set of educational criteria, and preferred courses in the graduation level vary from college to college. However, a sound background in the sciences is desirable, although students from any stream are eligible to sit for the examination. Candidates should also have good communication skills, both verbal and written.
A candidate can sit for the PCAT a maximum of five times. However, exceptions are made in special cases; for a sixth try, the candidate has to file a special application stating a valid reason for the request.
PCAT is a standardized test and runs for approximately four hours. The entire paper comprises seven sections, namely: Verbal Ability, Biology, Chemistry, Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Ability, a Writing section. The examination is mainly designed to evaluate the candidate’s academic ability and scientific knowledge required for the initiation of pharmaceutical studies.