The October testing window of Pharmacy College Admission Test day is just around the corner so now is a great time to talk about test day! After scouring the Pre-Pharm forums and pulling from first-hand experience, here is a carefully selected best of the best compilation of PCAT day tips!
Set Yourself Up The Night Before
Have all you’re the stuff you need ready to go. This could be a thing like laying out your clothes, breakfast, ID cards, etc. Do as much for yourself the night before just in case something happens and you’re running late or something. Just follow the Boy Scout’s rule: be prepared.
Every single testing room I’ve ever heard of was cold. Dress accordingly. Who knows you could end up in the rare hot room so close-toed shoes and light layers seem the best way to go. Also someone suggested using your long sleeve as a better eraser for the dry-erase board because the one they got had seen better days.
Everyone says get a good night’s sleep, that’s a given. But if your test time is early in the morning you should really get into habit for waking up at the same time as test day. Prepare by setting your alarm for test day and using it at least 4 days prior to the real day. This can ease some of your concerns you may have about not waking up that morning or missing your alarm(s). Speaking of which, you should probably set two alarms and make them different devices if you can just to be extra safe.
It’s too stressful. The morning of is no time for last minute learning/cram session but rather light reviewing to wake your brain up. Look over some equations you may have trouble remembering and doing a few problems just to get you in the mood. Some students suggested even taking the day before off from studying too and just lightly review to clear your head.
The Tricky Tutorial Trick
FYI there’s a tutorial trick out there on the interweb that’s a bit controversial. As you know Pearson VUE testing centers will provide you a small dry-erase board and marker to be used as scratch paper during the test. Some students have reported being able to use the tutorial time before the start of test for jotting down notes and/or equations for later use so you don’t have to worry about remembering them. Apparently it depends on the specific place you test, some might be very lenient or very strict on what you can and can’t do during the tutorial. Don’t just risk it. ASK a test proctor before you sit down and be sure it’s allowed. Realize you run the risk of being reported and not allowed to test before you even get past the tutorial!
Use Your Break
This is marathon exam and even if you think you’re feeling pretty good after the Chemistry section use the rest time. Even if it’s just to walk out of the room to ‘shake it out’, you should break up the monotonous screen time your eyes are getting and the seating position your body is in. FYI: popular snack choices for break time seem to be a banana or a candy bar. Plus a quick bite to eat could give your brain a great jolt for the next half of the exam!
While in front of the mirror washing up on the big day, give yourself a boost of brilliant self-confidence. A smile and an affirmation or two that it’s time for all your hard work to shine. For inspiration see below:
Don’t be so nervous and please don’t stress too much. Trust in your training and relax. You got this. Whether your PCAT day is just in a week or a little ways off, keep these things in mind and check out the official PCAT checklist for explicit items you need (proper identification, etc.) here. GOOD LUCK, may the force be with you and practice practice practice! Nailing time management will definitely help come test day so practice! Stayed tuned because next we’ll be back to the breakdown series!