PCAT Study Routine, Experimental Questions and Scoring Pattern

Experimental Questions on the PCAT

Except for the writing sections, all the others have some questions that do not count towards your PCAT score. These experimental questions are not scored but are used to determine how students perform on new questions and use them for the future tests. In each section, of 48 questions, only 40 of them count towards the score and the remaining 8 are the experimental questions. Candidates will not be capable of identifying the experimental questions from the actual questions as they will be random. So, they must answer every question like it counts for their score.

Study Routine to Follow

1. Divide your preparation schedule according to the test sections. Keep a week or two for each section and prepare accordingly. First take a diagnostic test and find out which areas you are weak in and give more time and importance to those areas.

  1. Always keep a timer and set it while you are taking sample tests. This is to make you get used to the time limits of each section and learn to manage time so you will not run out of time on the actual test. You can check if you are quick or slow and improve yourself gradually, with every test you take.
  2. The average time for preparation of the PCAT is about 3-6 months. You should look at the syllabus first, take a diagnostic test and then proceed to prepare a plan or chart regarding your preparation schedule.

Scoring Pattern Adopted in the Exam

For all the sections except the writing parts, one point is awarded for each correct answer, irrespective of the difficulty level of the question. Thus, one can complete the easy questions first and then move ahead to the difficult questions later. By spending too much time on the difficult questions is not too good, as you may end up not completing your test on time.
There is no negative marking on the PCAT. So, if a question is marked wrong, the score obtained by choosing the correct answers is not affected. So, candidates can confidently guess on the questions that they do not know or cannot answer. Who knows, one can get lucky and give the correct answer and score a point!
PCAT score ranges between 100 and 300 for the multiple-choice sections. The mean score usually lays around 200. There will also be calculation of percentiles that are used to compare the score of all the candidates who took the same test on the same day. A percentile above 80 is considered good and above 90 is considered excellent. Writing section scores range on a scale between 0 and 5. The score of the writing section will be displayed separately from that of the other sections combined.


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