PCAT Breakdown: Writing Section!

This is part 5 of a series breaking down the Pharmacy College Admission Test.

            So be sure to stay tuned in to the blog to get a full breakdown of the PCAT!


Today’s topic is the Writing section, which is the very first stop come PCAT day.

You will have 30 minutes to respond to one writing prompt on a

contemporary issue; your score is based on your

conventions of language and problem solving capacities.


Below are the three different types of issues you may face. Keep in mind you will not require additional research or too much previous knowledge on the specific subject of the prompts; rather they are testing you on your writing and problem solving abilities.

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You will be using a basic word processing interphase with tools like Copy, Cut, and Paste but no things such as Spell Check or Grammar Check. Proper use of grammar is essential; don’t let silly writing errors be your downfall here.


The Writing section can seem like a difficult section to prepare for but with the right tools you can really hone your skills. With PCAT Cracker you get access to challenging prompts with a 30-minute timer right on the screen just like the real PCAT. Then at the end you will have the rubric used in grading the writing sections to self-evaluate and better your writing scores!
With this specialized training setting you not only are practicing with something that looks and feels like the real thing but with the rubric you’ll also be able to identify any holes in your argument and strategize your improvements.


Come PCAT day you will be presented with an issue and are asked how to solve the problem so you’ll need to try and give clear and concise solution ideas. Practice is key. Remember to keep your response organized and free grammatical errors that can tank your score!


Check out this sample prompt to give you an idea of the kind of health issues that can be presented:

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Good Luck & Happy Practicing!

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!