Tips for Scoring 90 Percentile on the PCAT

The PCAT measures a student’s general as well as scientific knowledge as these are essential for admission into pharmacy school. A percentile of 90 is supposed to be a good one, and it can be achieved by following a proper preparation strategy and some tips.
1. Know the test layout and format, well before you start your preparation. The exam will have 240 questions that have multiple choice answers. They will be spread over seven sections, of which two will be writing sections that require the candidate to type in an essay. The other five sections are, biology, chemistry, verbal ability, reading comprehension and quantitative ability. The time limit for each section is 30 minutes except for the reading section that takes 50 minutes. Thus, including a 10 minute break, the entire PCAT test lasts for four hours. Since July 2011, the exam will be computer based.

2. Take the prerequisites for your graduate course well in advance. As these vary from program to program, it is better to complete those which are common to all courses like biology, chemistry, statistics, calculus and English. It is not mandatory, but sociology, anatomy and psychology could help. These courses should be completed by the second year itself so you have enough time for preparing for the PCAT.
3. Study thoroughly. If you think you cannot study efficiently by yourself, then sign up for a classroom preparation course. Find a good course in your neighbourhood and sign up for the classes. You can purchase books and other preparation material from local book stores or download them online. There will be many sample papers and preparation material online and one can make good use of it all.
4. Purchase a practice PCAT test from the official PCAT home page before taking the test. This can be used either as a diagnostic test or as a sample test you write before taking the PCAT. This test includes 240 questions, two essays and multiple choice format, all similar to the actual exam. The syllabus and concepts tested will be the same. By purchasing these sample tests, you can also attempt a practice test, which has all five sections that can completed and a diagnostic test report will be given based on your performance of this test. You can then identify your strengths and weaknesses and plan your further preparation accordingly. To buy this test, you must register at the official PCAT homepage.
5. After exhaustive preparation for so many months, it’d be a shame to see it all go waste if one doesn’t do well on the day of the test due to silly and avoidable reasons. Candidates are advised to have a good night’s sleep the night before the exam and stay calm and composed all through the test. Eat proper but not a heavy breakfast and avoid alcohol. Give yourself ample preparation time as last minute cramming is not enough to score a 90th percentile.

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