The Pharmacy College Admissions Test, or PCAT, is a test that prospective students take to get into pharmacy college. The test measures general academic abilities and scientific knowledge necessary to begin pharmacy school. It asks you to recall several years of undergraduate work, including calculus. The test is 220 minutes long, with 192 multiple choice questions and one writing prompt. The multiple-choice questions consist of:
- Biological Processes
- Chemical Processes
- Critical Reading
- Quantitative Reasoning
Standard scores range from 200-600, with the median being 400, and the 90th percentile usually being 430. A lot of pharmacy schools require that you get a certain score before being admitted. So it is important that you spend an ample amount of time studying. It is recommended that you spend anywhere between 1-3 months studying, depending on the score you want and your history of standardized tests.
While there are multiple books, and materials available for your PCAT prep, we only found three actual courses that you can take, which are noted below.
The Best PCAT Prep Courses Worth Considering
|Kaplan PCAT||$899 - $1299||Go To Kaplan PCAT|
|Crack The PCAT||$299||Go To Crack The PCAT|
|PCAT Prep Class||$275 plus shipping||Go To PCAT Prep Class|
Full Reviews of the best PCAT Prep Courses
1. Kaplan PCAT
What to Expect
For every test prep review that we have done, Kaplan PCAT has some kind of course offering available. Because of this, they are the reigning test prep kings. This is also why it’s no surprise that Kaplan offers a PCAT prep course, in either a Live Online or On-Demand setting. The difference is that in the Live Online version (which is the more expensive option) you are able to ask your questions to an entire team of teachers as the lectures are taking place. The teachers are, of course, PCAT experts and have decades of experience among them. If you can’t afford the Live Online option, the On-Demand version is nothing to scoff at. Both courses include:
- A full PCAT prep course, live or on demand
- 120+ hours of online instruction and practice
- Personalized study plan
- 3+ full-length computer-based practice tests
- Topic-specific quizzes and section tests
- 34 interactive video workshops covering frequently tested topics
- The most up-to-date PCAT Lesson Book and Review Notes
Because the PCAT covers a lot of ground, Kaplan will work with you to cover areas that you specifically need to improve on, and skip over areas where you excel. They do this by analyzing your practice tests which are designed to mimic an actual PCAT.
For those looking for less (or more), Kaplan offers two full length practice tests for $149 or a one-on-one tutor which costs $1,799. You get access to the practice tests for 90 days and they come with detailed answer explanations, so you know where you need to make improvements. You can get a private tutor starting at 10 hours, and all the way up to 40 hours, for $4,799.
As with most Kaplan test prep courses, there is a guarantee involved, which allows you to either retake the course or get your money back if you don’t score higher than your baseline score.
Kaplan PCAT Prep Details
|Practice Test Pack||$149|
2. Crack The PCAT
What to Expect
Crack The PCAT offers a multitude of options to help you study for the PCAT and you can do so via their website or app. The company boasts that you get membership for “twice as long for half the price.” So what’s included? First, there are over 100 hours of video lectures that uncover PCAT tips, tricks, and strategies. There are 10 full-length practice tests which contain over 2,400 PCAT sample questions, and even podcasts. In addition to the practice tests, there are also diagnostic tests so you can see where you need improvement as you begin to prepare.
There’s also a guarantee which is a little different from Kaplan’s in that if you score below the 20th percentile on the actual test, you will get your money back. As referenced above, you get six months access to the course and, at $299, it is definitely a bargain compared with Kaplan, especially since Kaplan charges $149 for three practice tests, and here you get 10.
The support is supposed to be stellar, with prompt email back and forth, and even digital meeting times if the problem can’t be fixed via email.
A common gripe about the software is that when you’re taking a practice test, you can’t minimize the screen, or get out of it. So you can’t just practice with a few questions here and there on the practice test – especially if you want to see the analysis of your right and wrong answers. To do this, you need to take the actual practice tests in their entirety.
Crack The PCAT Prep Details
|Crack The PCAT||$299|
3. PCAT Prep Class
What to Expect
The PCAT Prep Class offers you high-quality study materials, condensing the relevant items into manageable study guides and timed practice exams. PCAT Prep staff are keenly aware that the deciding factor in whether or not you are accepted into pharmacy school could be your score on the PCAT. They’ve been helping students prepare for this vital exam for 26 years and know exactly what you need in order to be completely and confidently ready. Every subject that’s tested on the PCAT is thoroughly reviewed in the course. Better yet, the material for every subject is updated and refined with a fine-tooth comb prior to each course to ensure the best possible test results.
At over 700 pages, PCAT Prep’s most updated version of the self-study course includes additional passage-based test questions for the Chemistry and Biology practice tests and an additional exam for Quantitative. Subjects are grouped into the following areas of emphasis: General Chemistry; Organic Chemistry; Biochemistry; Quantitative Reasoning; Biological Processes; and Critical Reading Essay.
Students generally rave about this prep course, although some note it’s best for those who aren’t looking to learn or re-learn the material. The reason they give is that the study guides are not super in-depth. For example, if you haven’t taken calculus, the information in the study guide probably won’t prepare you to quickly and correctly answer the calc-based questions on the test, as you likely would if you had taken a semester-long calculus class. But studying in advance and using supplemental online information can help.
You’ll be glad to know that there are tons of practice exams for each section containing questions that are very similar to – and sometimes exactly the same as – the actual PCAT. The recommended study method is to take the practice exams over and over until your real test day arrives.
PCAT Prep Class Details
|PCAT Prep Class||$275 plus shipping|
The Most Important PCAT Feature: Support Options
First of all, there are many other options available in the form of textbooks if that is the route you want to take. But if you’re here, it means you’re probably seeking something a little more robust in the form of a video course, for which we have narrowed it down to the three solid options. Kaplan is a bit pricier than the other two, but with the higher price comes enhanced support and more prep material. The fact that we actually reviewed these courses tells you that they have mostly positive reviews around the internet, so any one of the three should help you to be at your sharpest come test day.
Choosing the Right Type of PCAT Prep Course for You
PCAT prep courses are available in four main formats. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the right one for you depends on your budget, schedule and preferred learning style. We list them below in order from least expensive to most expensive.
- Self-Paced: You’re given the course materials and you study at your own pace.
- Live Online: You attend a virtual classroom and learn from a remote instructor alongside other students.
- Live In-Person: You travel to a physical location and learn from a trained instructor in a classroom setting.
- Private Tutoring: An instructor works with you one on one to create a custom study plan that addresses your needs.
- Cheapest courses
- Study when you want
- Possible to cram
- Requires self-discipline
- No personalized instruction
- Little to no instructor support
Who It’s Best For
The self-paced option works best if you’re a self-disciplined, independent learner or you can’t fit a live course into your busy schedule.
- Attend anywhere
- More interactivity than self-paced
- Some course structure
- Less interactive than live classroom
- Opens up potential for technical difficulties
Who It’s Best For
A live online course is the next-best thing to an in-person course if you enjoy some interactivity in your lessons and prefer being taught by an instructor. It’s a good fit for students who don’t live near a company’s offices or who can’t commit to showing up in person each week.
- No distractions
- Familiar learning environment
- Interact with instructor and other students
- Travel required
- Limited flexibility
- More expensive than online courses
Who It’s Best For
Live in-person courses enable you to focus solely on PCAT prep and get the personalized instruction you need from your teacher. It’s best if you prefer the familiarity of a classroom environment and live near one of the company’s locations.
- Tailored instruction
- Personalized study plans
- Can be done online or in person
- Can be more time-consuming
Who It’s Best For
Private tutoring is the best choice if you need to significantly improve your score or you feel you learn best from personalized instruction. Unfortunately, the high price tag may put tutoring out of reach for some students.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the PCAT.
How much does it cost to take the PCAT?
Registration for the PCAT costs $149.
How many times can I take the PCAT?
You can take the PCAT up to five times.
Are you allowed to use a calculator on the PCAT?
What is considered a good score on the PCAT?
Anything above a 430 is considered a good score.
How long is my PCAT score good for?
PCAT scores are good for five years after the test is taken.
When can I take the PCAT?
The test is given six times a year, and you are urged to take the test before the September you would like to be admitted. For example, if you are seeking Pharm.D. admissions for fall, you must take the PCAT exam no later than September of that year.
Bryce Welker is an active speaker, blogger, and regular contributor to Forbes, Inc.com, and Business.com where he shares his knowledge to help others boost their careers. Bryce is the founder of more than 20 test prep websites that help students and professionals pass their certification exams.