Applying to Pharmacy School: PharmCAS 2017 is Now OPEN!

As of mid July the 2016 – 2017 cycle of the PharmCAS is officially open!

In case you’ve somehow missed it: The Pharmacy College Application Service

aka the PharmCAS ready to be conquered!

 The Pharmacy Centralized Application Service (PharmCAS) is the general web-based application used to submit applications to one or multiple pharmacy programs is the U.S.

Keep in mind decision on admission comes completely from the schools and programs you are applying to and not from PharmCAS; they are only a service you submit your applications and transcripts through.




Completing your PharmCAS application is a big deal and not a task to be taken lightly!

So let’s go over a few keys things to get you started on the road to being accepted to pharmacy school!


Before You Apply

Read the instructions! FULLY & CAREFULLY.  The PharmCAS website stressing this a lot and it’s important to know exactly what your getting into anyway so read it all!

Then you’ll create an account to get started on your application here.

Note: The PharmCAS suggests not to use a Hotmail email address. (Who still uses Hotmail? Just don’t.)


$ Cost $

Completing the PharmCAS costs $150 and includes sending it to one school. Each school beyond that is an additional $55. So to look at the math it’ll look like this…

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Remember, specific schools may include secondary applications resulting in secondary application fees.

Plus considering possible expenses for traveling to different schools for visits and interviews, the whole application process can really add up so you’ll want to really do your research to narrow down the programs you want to apply to!



Here are some important dates to keep in mind and below are the schools’ with deadlines in 2016 to prioritize on you list of possible pharm programs…

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FYI Early Decision Deadline = September 6, 2016!!! 


PSA: the PharmCAS has provided a handy Application Checklist to help keep you on track!

With all the expense and stress of applying to pharmacy school, save yourself some trouble and check out PCAT Cracker for you PCAT prep and stay tuned to the blog for more topics on the application process like Getting Letters and Recommendation! That’s all for now!


Happy Applying

Benefits of Joining a Pre-Pharmacy Organization

Imagine that crowded and bustling organization fair at the beginning of each semester. There is likely a wide range of different pre-health professional organizations or even specifically a pre-pharmacy club table vying for your time and membership. There’s really a lot out there so how do you choose?

Or perhaps…

You may have strolled through that fair and thought something along the lines of…

“Hey I know all about applying for pharmacy school and I got a pretty good handle on the PCAT so I don’t need those meetings and membership fees, right?!”

…but let’s take a closer look, shall we?




Gaining Relevant Experience

Simply putting down on your resume that you were a part of some pre-pharmacy society isn’t much help but there are plenty of ways to get involved in events and programs put on by the organization. Pre-pharm clubs offer a wide range of opportunities to be proactive in bettering yourself through things such as mentoring programs or gaining experience volunteering in the pharmacy world.

Make the most of your time and membership fees frankly and get involved!


Leadership Opportunities

Within the ranks of the organization you can lead peers and drive the organization to success.

Taking on a leadership role can be challenging but you gain the very valuable skills for a future in pharmacy like communication, negotiating, and problem solving just name a few. Besides leadership positions always look great on a resume. Taking the lead and the subsequent skills gained are extremely beneficial for a future pharm professional.


Access to Resources

These organizations have resources you may not even be aware exist and in order to take advantage of them you have to be in the know!

One of the perks of a pre-pharmacy organization is that school representatives from the different pharmacy programs will schedule more visits should they anticipate an audience of pre-pharm students. That means clubs will host these representatives to come and talk to the group and answer any specific questions or even host a whole panel of representatives to speak!


Figure Out Exactly What You’re Doing

Clinical Pharmacy, Pharmacoepidemiology, and Pharmacoeconomics, OH MY!

So what exactly are all the specializations and what is it exactly you want to do? Student orgs may bring in a wide range of people in the pharmacy profession to talk on what they do and offer advice and help you discover exactly what you’d like to do someday!


Misery Loves Company

You’ll meet other pre-pharm hopefuls to share the woes of preparing for pharmacy school. With everything from the PharmCAS, the PCAT, letters of recommendation, etc. making connections with fellow students that know exactly what you’re going through can be both comforting and helpful! You can even share your wisdom about how great PCAT Cracker is! 🙂


In review, pre-pharmacy clubs can offer many benefits helping members stay on the track with things like career panels and mentoring programs just to name a few!

So why would you want to join? The better question is why not?


PCAT Breakdown: Quantitative Ability!

This is finally the final part aka part 7 of our series breaking down the Pharmacy Admission Test. Check out the complete series for our lowdown on the PCAT!


For our last trick we’re breaking down the Quantitative Ability section,

which coincidentally is also the last section you will face come test day!

You will have 45 minutes to answer 45 questions.


Here’s an overview of the content objectives tested below:

Basic Math, 15%

Functions, Percentages, & Decimals

Unit Conversions

Log Base 10


Algebra, 20%

Expressions, Equations, & Inequalities (e.g. solving problems using linear equations &                                                         equalities, solving quadratic equations, solving equations with radicals, etc.)

Functions (e.g. determining the inverses of functions, using max & min points, etc.)


Statistics and Probability, 20%

Measures of Central Tendency




Statistical Concepts


Pre-Calculus, 22%

Functions (e.g. graphing and identifying domains, ranges, and intercepts, logarithms, graphing                                          inverses of circular functions, etc.)

Complex Numbers

Vectors (e.g. adding vectors graphically and algebraically, perform scalar multiplications, etc.)


Calculus, 22%

Limits (e.g. finding limits of functions, infinite limits, etc.)

Continuity (e.g. interpret graphs of continuous and discontinuous functions)

Derivatives (e.g. finding derivatives by means of the sum & product, power rule, applying the                                   Mean Value Theorem, using implicit differentiation, etc.)

Integrals (e.g. finding antiderivatives and interpreting C, approximating areas bounded by                                                   curves, etc.)


Here’s a sample derivative question to give you an idea of what to expect…

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So there you have it Pre-Pharmers, our finally complete breakdown series on all things PCAT! Check out the blog for the rest of PCAT Cracker‘s section breakdowns and stay tuned for more things Pre-Pharm!



PCAT Study Motivation!

Hey! How’s studying for the PCAT going? Great? Just all right? Let’s take a minute to talk about motivation. The Pharmacy College Admissions Test is no easy feat and the many (necessary) hours preparing for it can be grueling. The feeling of burning out is a common occurrence for many Pre-Pharmers and can really throw you off track of your path to PCAT domination. When test day arrives, it basically comes down to which Stark you want to be: Tony Stark aka Iron Man aka the badass that walks away from the explosion without looking OR Jon Snow aka the Stark bastard from Game of Thrones aka the guy that knows nothing.

Stark Option One: Tony Stark

Stark Option One: Tony Stark

Stark Option Two: Jon Snow

Stark Option Two: Jon Snow

Let’s get down to business…to defeat the Huns? No. The PCAT! So when motivation wanes, what can you do? (Besides listen to awesome motivation songs like that one!)


Here are a few strategies for motivation and keeping yourself on track:

Stop & Take a Practice Test: If you’re in the middle of a studying block and suddenly hit a brick wall: Take full timed practice test. Your score just might give you the kick in the rear to knock you back into focus. With PCAT Cracker you’ll even pin point exact weak spots in your preparation thus far.

Change it up: A swift change in the subject you’re studying or change in normal study location can revive your spirits and give you boost in motivation! But don’t change too often be sure you’re sticking to the 50/10 rule…

Be strict with yourself: The 50/10 rule of studying really does work! That’s 50minutes of straight focus studying then a 10minute break to refresh your brain! Do it. Discipline. “There are no short cuts to any place worth going.”

Turn off everything: Echoing the last tip, be hard on yourself and put all things you don’t need to study away, really. It may seem harmless to leave open Facebook open in a tab or have your phone lying there beside you but come test time these things won’t be there. You want to your studying environment to emulate that of the test day. So put away all distractions and save them for your breaks!

So study study study and practice practice practice (3x for emphasis) because when test day comes, you’re definitely going to need the confidence of Tony Stark not Jon Snow.

Lesson Learned: Be Iron Man.

Lesson Learned: Be Iron Man.

Applying to Pharmacy School: PharmCAS Personal Statement Writing

In case you missed the memo, the PharmCAS aka the big dental school application for next fall is officially opened! The Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) is a centralized application service to apply to multiple degree programs offered by schools and colleges of pharmacy and there is a PERSONAL STATEMENT required **cue the music** Although the essay is about YOU, you still have an agenda: it still needs to be written in a professional manner and highlight your professional skills, experiences, and interests. That doesn’t have to be so scary! Think of it kind of like answering that classic job interview inquiry: “Tell me about yourself.” Oh no. Did I just make it worse? **cue the music again**

tell me about yourself

Your PharmCAS Personal Statement is a place for you to “address why you selected pharmacy as a career and how the Doctor of Pharmacy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals” in under 4,500 characters (including letters, spaces, punctuation (like on twitter)), which is about a page long. More so you got to “describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you achieve your goals”, you need to articulate that you motivated, academically prepared, plus knowledgeable and passionate about the profession. This can be a little tricky; the key is balance. You want to sell yourself professional while remaining personable. By no means is this a creative writing piece; you want to be clear, concise, and professional. Keep in mind: pharmacy schools are making first judgments on you based on this PharmCAS application, and the PharmCAS Personal Statement is the ONLY place to make a case for yourself IN YOUR OWN WORDS! You can read the whole PharmCAS Personal Statement offical guidelines here.


Remember that you’re selling yourself as a great addition to the field of pharmacy. This is where you talk about your strengths, passion for the field, and all your extra-curricular hard work you’ve done in preparing for pharmacy school (and let’s face it also for this particular essay here).

Three key points to hit:

o   Why Pharmacy? – The lifelong childhood dream is all good and fine really but if that’s not the case be candid and honest and talk about your road to discovery, that’s interesting! Your journey to writing this PharmCAS Personal Statement may be long and winding. How did you land on pharmacy?

o   Shadowing or Assisting Experience – Talk up your observation hours in a pharmacy setting or a hospital and how these times increased your knowledge and understanding of the field. These experiences show you really know what’s like in the real world application of the pharmacy school.

o   Volunteerism – show your interest in working with/for the community and commitment to helping other. It’s important to include both volunteer activities that are relevant to the field and even some that isn’t. For example, working at an animal shelters shows your well rounded not just in a pre-pharm mode all the time. Also include the volunteer work related to the profession that you may have done with a Pre-Pharm society (that’s how you work that you were active in the club in the essay too)!


The ole phrase “writing is rewriting” rings true here this case. Have a trusty professor or pharmacy professional read and give you feedback. They know what admissions committees are looking for and have insight on how to relate your experiences to the field. Final piece of advice: you can upgrade your PCAT Cracker account and unlock the all the practice tests for $39 instead of the regular $99 sooooo go do that and you’ll have gleaming PCAT scores to match this beautiful essay!