PCAT 2016-2017 Testing Dates Now Open!

If you are planning on taking the Pharmacy College Admission Test within the year…

NEWS FLASH! Registration for the 2016 – 2017 PCAT Test Dates is OPEN!


Below are the important deadlines for the July and September testing dates.

Remember that seats are first come first serve so it’s best to act quickly and avoid the late fees!

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 12.02.24 AM

Note: Registration for the January 4-5th test window is also open but the deadline for it isn’t until Nov 4th. Registration for the October/November testing window opens Sept 9th.


The PCAT Registration Two Step:

Registering for the PCAT

Keep in mind when registering you need to know the schools you want your scores to be sent to, so figure it out beforehand. Step one: go to the PCAT website and create an account here; that’s your PCAT CID. With that log in you’re in the system and can do stuff like send official score transcripts, etc. Only after you a receive registration confirmation email saying that your payment was received can you then schedule to take the test…


Scheduling a test date

Got that registration confirmation email? Now schedule ASAP! The PCAT is a computer-based test conducted at Pearson VUE Test Centers and dates and test centers can fill up fast. If this is your first time taking the PCAT you’ll need to create a log in with Pearson VUE and keep your PCAT CID (your PCAT registration log in) handy, you’ll need it. If you have a log in with Pearson VUE already, sign in and schedule away!


$ Cost of Taking the PCAT $

When you register to take the PCAT the fee is $210 and this includes sending official scores to up to three schools. If you want to send scores to any more schools it’s $20 each. If you haven’t realized it yet, deadlines are a big deal and the late registration fee is an additional $49.


What’s on the PCAT?

Below is the NEW PCAT Blueprint laying out test day:

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.21.20 PM
Last year on the blog we did a PCAT Breakdown Series and since then the test has changed. While I work on updating each section breakdown you can refer older ones as a loose guidance to the new ones…

PCAT Breakdown: Writing Section!

PCAT Breakdown: Biology Section!

PCAT Breakdown: Chemistry Section!

PCAT Breakdown: Reading Comprehension Section!

PCAT Breakdown: Quantitative Ability Section!


What Next?

Here are other helpful past blog posts on tackling the PCAT:

PCAT Study Tips

PCAT Test Day Tips


That’s all for now! Remember we’ll have new and improved PCAT Section Breakdowns rolling in soon and until then stick with PCAT Cracker to PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!


PCAT Breakdown: Verbal Ability Section!

This is part 2 of a series breaking down the Pharmacy College Admission Test.

The PCAT is a marathon of an exam with six sections and clocking in at nearly four hours so let’s take a closer look at each section, shall we?

On the menu today: the Verbal Ability section, which is the second section you will face come PCAT day! It contains 40questions and you’ll have 25minutes to answer them. Within the Verbal Ability section there are two kinds of questions: Analogies and Sentence Completion. Analogies with make 62% of the questions and Sentence Completion 38%.



These questions are concerned with relationships between words and you are asked to complete the analogy by examining and picking/making the correct relationship. Here are the parameters straight from the PCAT makers:

PCAT Verbal Analogies

You can think of these types of questions as the classic “____ is to ____ as ____ is to____”, for example: “puppies are to dogs as kittens to ____” (absolute easiest example ever). In fact you should think of them as that! Making a sentence from the first two words is a good way to set you up to find the word that goes with the third. Make up your own sentence before looking at the answer choices so is not to fall into a trap…

The PCAT makers say, “Each incorrect answer may seem plausible and will relate in some conceptual way to the third item in the stem, but not in a way that correctly completes the analogy” that means these are meant to be tricky. The answer choices may have a relation with the word but is the same as the first two words? It’s a little tricky because if you’re not paying close attention you may pick one that is related but wrong. That’s why making a sentence is super helpful in helping create the right relationship.

So based on the type of relationship of the first two words you need to pick the answer that gives that same relationship for the third word. There are 5 types of relationships that are tested:

PCAT Analogy Types

With practice you will become better at recognizing relationships and it definitely wouldn’t hurt to work on your vocabulary. Actually the most common tips I found on the Pre-Pharm forums were always along the lines of “study the top 200 GRE words” and “make flashcards” to expand your vocabulary. Here’s a sample similarity/contrast type of analogy question: PCAT Analogy Sample

Sentence Completion

Like the Analogy questions these Sentence Completions are meant to be tricky. But here you have context to work with and even though some answer choices may seem “plausible” only one is correct. Here are the official rules:

PCAT Verbal Sentnces

With practice you can learn how to efficiently and effectively select the correct responses because 25minutes will go fast and you need all the points you can get. Sentence Completion can be tricky since some answer choices are plausible and you might be tempted to quickly pick one that makes sense but you can’t make little mistakes like this! Read the sentence and fill the blanks with your own words before even considering the answer choices. This way going to the answer choices you already know exactly what words or synonyms to look for. Take a look at this sample:

PCAT Sentence Sample

The Verbal Ability section of the PCAT is not to be taken lightly. Here is where you can lose major points by falling for the tricky answer traps. Practice and learn to be stealthy and ready for their tricks. Don’t make silly little mistakes by picking plausible but not the correct answers or just not knowing a common vocab word or etc. etc. etc.

Happy Practicing.

PCAT Study Tips!

Studying for the Pharmacy College Admission Test can be extra stress inducing, we get that. So when you’re feeling especially frazzled, just picture a T-Rex trying to make a bed. After thinking about a bunch of other funny things that guy would have trouble doing and scouring the pre-pharm forums and, here is a carefully selected best of the best compilation of PCAT study tips to help with the stress!



Give Yourself 3 months of Preparation

This is a big test to say the very least with an immense mountain of material to get through. This isn’t a test you will be cramming for. Brightside is you’ve already been preparing with all the hard work you’ve sure to have done in your classes. So now is the time to prove it. Now all you have to do is prepare for an extremely long exam that tests on all your classes ever in a highly integrated and all encompassing manner. Yeah, not easy so give yourself like 3 months!


Set Aside Time Everyday To Study

The tried and true saying of “treat it like a class” is not to be taken lightly you need to be setting out time everyday to study. With your real life (school/work/etc.) it’s understandable if you can’t marathon big block time of like 8-10 hours of study time everyday but you should be doing something each day. You must make the most of your time and focus, sticking strictly to the 50/10 rule! That’s 50 minutes study time and 10 minute break time.


Take Several Online Practice Exams

Practice, practice, practice. The endurance and stamina needed just to get through test day is going to take some getting used to. Practice tests like with PCAT Cracker are not only helpful with in content tested but also in getting used to computer testing and exposing you to the time needed for your brain to last through the whole exam. Just a reminder here’s what PCAT day looks like:

PCAT Blueprint


Make Your Own Study Guide

Through your college life thus far you know how you best work and study so why not create your own study guide. You do you. Stick to what works just do it on a grander PCAT sized scale. Whether it’s outlining your notes or whatever specific thing you may do it’ll be better take the opportunity to personalize it for you versus sticking to someone rando off the internet’s guide/schedule. So sit down, layout a plan and stick to it. When creating a study schedule make sure to have a review day perhaps once a week or plan a practice test after working on a particular section (with PCAT Cracker you can take practice section tests individually).


Try Studying in the Library

Gasp, that awful place? Yes. You want to make your study and practice environment to emulate the test centers. Try finding a place that will have just enough rustling of papers and typing of laptop keys from other students so it not to be too quiet, just like on PCAT day! If this tip sounds familiar that’s because we’ve talked about it before in the blog’s PCAT Study Motivation post a couple months back, check it out here.


Tutor Subjects Covered On The PCAT

Once you’ve figured out the subjects you need extra help on tackle them! With the PCAT Cracker diagnostic tests you can pin point specific areas in each section that you’re weakest in. Remember after the scheduled break you’ll have Reading Comp and Quant Ability back to back and if these sections aren’t your strong areas… PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!


Well there they are now go forth and conquer! Be sure to stay tuned for more tips and the continuation of our breakdown series of each section. Got any other PCAT study tips to add to the list? Share with the class in the comments!


P.S. If you don’t already, go ‘Like’ PCAT Cracker on Facebook right here and now.