The PCAT Quantitative Section Review

The quantitative ability is one of the seven sections of the PCAT. This sub test measures candidates’ ability to analyze, calculate and test their knowledge of various quantitative concepts and mathematical relationships. The test covers concepts like algebra, arithmetic, statistics, pre-calculus and calculus. There will be 48 multiple choice questions, the questions split up concept wise are:
1. Basic arithmetic – 15%
2. Probability, statistics – 20%
3. Algebra-related – 20%
4. Pre-calculus – 22%
5. Calculus – 22%

This split up shows that the most importance should be given to pre-calculus and calculus. The candidates will have 40 minutes to complete this section.
While attempting the quantitative section, the candidates need to remember that some questions will not have one exact answer and in that case, the best answer has to chosen. Answers to some questions need to be guessed. The sub test is not very difficult, but not too easy either. High school mathematics knowledge with college level calculus knowledge is desired in the students. Candidates are advised not to get too weary by the end of the PCAT, as this section is the last one and boredom may cost greatly.
Practice Tips to Score Well on the Quantitative Section
1. One needs to have a lot of practice doing basic arithmetic that involves addition, subtraction etc. quickly and mentally. Almost a third of the quantitative section involve questions require simplification of numbers and expressions. These can be tackled easily if one can calculate quickly in one’s head than detailing them on paper. The more practice one has in calculation, the better will be the quants section score.
2. Another important concept that is a favorite among the PCAT examiners is the pre-calculus. Functions, exponents, rational functions etc are frequently asked questions in the exam. Graphs of these functions too are seen on the test from time to time.
3. One must also have adequate practice in basic calculus involving single variables. The concepts that are also included in this section are polynomials, exponent functions and rational functions.
4. Geometry is not usually tested on the PCAT. So, one needn’t prepare on this topic. However, there might appear a question or two that involve sine, cosine and tangent functions.
5. While practicing, try to identify wrong answers. This could help on the test if you cannot solve a question. If you can get rid of two answer choices, then it might make the question easier.
Question Types
The mathematics questions that appear in this test do not vary much each year. They will be similar from time to time. Hence, one need not panic during the preparation as the quantitative section is comparatively easier than the other sections. The topics that are usually covered in the math section of the PCAT involve candidates’ knowledge in:
  1. Arithmetic
  2. Divisibility
  3. Multiplication
  4. Addition
  5. Subtraction
  6. Evens and Odd numbers
  7. Prime Numbers
  8. Percentages and averages.
  9. Square of a Number
  10. Exponential and rational functions.
  11. Pre-calculus
  12. Calculus
  13. Probability and Statistics.


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