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PCAT...What is it?...and more answers

The PCAT Examination (Pharmacy College Admissions Test) is required. This is similar to an MCAT, SAT, ACT or other entrance examinations. This exam consists of several basic areas: Chemistry, Biology, Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension and a Writing section.

You may find out more information and register for the exam by contacting Pearson at 1-800-622-3231 or the Official Pharmacy College Admissions Test web site.

When in my coursework should I take the PCAT?

For most students, the PCAT should be taken after the first year in college. Before taking the exam, the student should complete Intro. to Biological Science I and II (with Labs), Fundamentals of Chemistry I and II (with Labs), and Calculus I. The student does not need to complete Organic before taking the exam, but should at least be enrolled in Organic I.

Bear in mind that PCAT scores more than two years old (taken prior to January 2015) will not be considered when making admissions decisions.

How does the UH College of Pharmacy interpret the PCAT scores?
Is my PCAT score competitive? Should I retake the exam?

Students may take the exam several times; each score will be looked at separately. If students do retake the exam, it is advised that students increase their score for each retake. The college does not drop the lowest score or average PCAT scores. PCAT scores more than two years old (taken prior to January 2015) will not be considered when making admissions decisions.

The college recommends competitive applicants have PCAT scores greater than a 75th percentile composite score. Each of the six components of the PCAT are also reviewed.

It is recommended that students score in the 75th percentile or above range in each of these five areas of the PCAT: Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Ability, Biology and Chemistry. The Writing section is also reviewed. The average composite PCAT score for the 2016 entering Pharm.D. class was 83%.

For the 2017 application cycle: The November 2016 PCAT will be the most recent PCAT scores that will be accepted by the UH College of Pharmacy.

Although the PCAT is a standardized exam, scores are viewed as an indicator of retention and are not used solely as a final parameter for acceptance or non-acceptance.

Should I wait to submit my PharmCAS application until I receive my most-recent PCAT scores?

Since PharmCAS applications can take several weeks to process, applicants are encouraged to submit their PharmCAS application and mail required items directly in to PharmCAS early in the application-cycle. By doing so, much (if not all) of the processing for their PharmCAS application may be completed and distributed to the UH College of Pharmacy by the time his/her official PCAT scores are available in PharmCAS.

PharmCAS will process applications without official PCAT scores. In addition, if an applicant chooses to take a later (October/November) PCAT, the applicant can update their PharmCAS application to indicate new impending PCAT test-date(s).

Applicants who wait to submit their PharmCAS application until after their PCAT scores are available will experience longer processing-times than those who proactively sent their PharmCAS application and required items in ahead of time.

Will you accept the January PCAT?

The UH College of Pharmacy does not accept the January PCAT. The January 2017 PCAT scores will not be considered if no previous PCAT attempt is available. We accept PCAT scores taken no later than November of the year prior to admission into our program. Applying early and submitting PCAT scores from July or September before the application deadline are encouraged.

How should I study for the PCAT?

While we are prohibited from recommending any of the preparatory review programs, one student who did very well on the PCAT commented “...the Peterson's PCAT study guide had the best material that aided in better preparation for the PCAT exam questions. For the Pre-Pharmacy review sessions, we used Kaplan, but I also studied from Barron's and took the online practice test located on the PCAT web site.  I recommend using a variety of study aids instead of just one.”

How many times can I take the PCAT?

A candidate may sit for the PCAT no more than five times. After the fifth attempt, a candidate must submit a written request, along with supporting documentation, for Pearson to consider permitting a candidate additional attempts. Go to the Official Pharmacy College Admission Test Website for more information.