PCAT Test Blueprint - Updates - Pharmacy College Admission Test
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PCAT Updates

PCAT Score Reporting Changes for 2016–17

  • New norms: Beginning with the July 2016 PCAT administrations, all percentile ranks reported on Official Score Reports and Official Transcripts are based on a new norm group: all candidates taking the PCAT for the first time from July 2011 through January 2015.
  • Scores reported on Official Score Reports: Beginning with the July 2016 administrations, all multiple-choice scores are reported using the new subtest titles (Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Critical Reading, and Quantitative Reasoning), and Composite scaled scores are now calculated without a Verbal Ability score, because there is no longer a Verbal Ability subtest on the PCAT.
  • Scores reported on replacement Official Score Reports:
    • For test results earned prior to July 2016, scores for the multiple-choice subtests are listed for the current subtest titles rather than their titles prior to July 2016.
    • All subtest percentile ranks have been converted to the current percentile ranks, and Composite scaled scores and percentile ranks have been recalculated so that they do not include the Verbal Ability subtest.
    • The reason for these changes is so that all reported PCAT scores are comparable to those earned for the current PCAT test blueprint and the current norms.
  • Scores reported on Official Transcripts:
    • For test results earned prior to July 2016, scores for the multiple-choice subtests are listed for the current subtest titles, rather than their titles prior to July 2016.
    • All subtest percentile ranks have been converted to the current percentile ranks, and Composite scaled scores and percentile ranks have been recalculated so that they do not include the Verbal Ability subtest.
    • Previous Verbal Ability scaled scores will continue to be reported, but no percentile ranks are reported. The reason for this is that the new PCAT test blueprint does not include a Verbal Ability subtest, and the new norms were created for the new PCAT without any Verbal Ability scores.
    • These changes enable all scores listed on the Official Transcript to be comparable, regardless of when they were earned.

Blueprint changes for 2016-17

  • Biological Processes and Chemical Processes: 40% of the items in each of these two subtests (formerly called Biology and Chemistry) are associated with passages that focus on a specific research study or experiment requiring content knowledge and analytic skills to interpret and evaluate.
  • Critical Reading: 40% of items in this subtest (formerly called Reading Comprehension) include items that require the interpretation, analysis, and evaluation of passages with humanities or social science content.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: This subtest (formerly called Quantitative Ability) includes a greater proportion of items on basic math and algebra content, with fewer items covering precalculus and calculus. Also, 50% of the items in this subtest involve a practical scenario or situation and pose a quantitative problem that must be solved.
  • Use of a calculator and a periodic table: An online standard calculator will be provided for use with the Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, and Quantitative Reasoning subtests, and a periodic table will be provided for use with the Chemical Processes subtest.
  • Verbal Ability: To allow additional time for the Biological Processes and Chemical Processes subtests without lengthening the overall testing time, the Verbal Ability subtest is no longer part of the PCAT.

Blueprint changes from 2014-15

Beginning with the July administration of the 2014-15 PCAT testing cycle, the Verbal Ability subtest was reduced in length, and there was no experimental Writing subtest. These reductions allowed for additional time for the Biology, Chemistry, and Quantitative Ability subtests without lengthening the overall testing time and did not affect the calculation of candidates' scores.

The additional time for the Biology and Chemistry subtests accommodated the addition of a few items associated with short passages, and the time added to the Quantitative Ability subtest allowed for the addition of more items involving word-problem or problem-solving scenarios.

The Pearson online practice tests available to PCAT candidates reflect these revisions and continue to mirror the actual PCAT in length and in the proportion of items addressing each content objective and each item format.

PCAT Writing Practice Test and Study Guide

These components are available to provide you with a unique opportunity to prepare for the actual exam.

  • PCAT Writing Practice Tests — Four different writing prompts allow you to compose essays on topics like you will find on the PCAT, have your essays scored electronically, and immediately receive a score report with your results.
  • PCAT Study Guide — This guide contains over 200 pages of detailed information about the structure and content of the PCAT, scoring information, and sample items for the four multiple-choice subtests and the Writing subtest.

To access these test preparation components, you must first register for the Official PCAT Practice Test. Click the link below to register. Once you have registered on the Official PCAT Practice Test site, you may purchase the Multiple-Choice Practice Tests, the Writing Practice Tests, and the Study Guide from the "My Profile" page. You only need to register once and can reuse the site as often as you like. If you have registered previously, click the "Login" link to get to the "My Profile" page.

All purchases are nonrefundable and provide you with access to all test preparation components purchased from the date of purchase until January 31 of the following year, when the current annual test cycle ends.

Register for the Official PCAT Practice Test

Updates to PCAT Refund Policy

In order to cancel your registration online you will need the same credit card you used at registration.

To receive a partial refund of your Registration Fee, you will need to complete the following two steps prior to the cancellation deadline for the appropriate testing window:

  1. Cancel your appointment at Pearson VUE
  2. Cancel your registration on the PCAT site

If you cancel your registration by the cancellation deadline, you will receive a refund equivalent to half of the original Registration Fee. The remainder of your Registration Fee, and any additional fees paid at the time of registration, will be retained to cover necessary expenses for processing your registration and holding space at the Test Center. Refunds will be in U.S. dollars. Cash refunds are not available. Refunds will not be given if you do not follow the cancellation procedures.

NOTE: If you lose your credit card or it is replaced after you register, you must email PCAT Customer Relations to request a manual cancellation and refund. The email must include your PCAT Candidate ID number, your name (as it appears on your PCAT account), and the testing window you wish to cancel. Please allow 6-8 weeks for processing.

PCAT Test Blueprint and Writing Score Changes

Based on recommendations made by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy PCAT Advisory Committee, changes were made to the Biology and Chemistry subtests beginning July 2012. The Biology subtest now includes a greater proportion of items on genetics, health, and human anatomy and physiology; and the test no longer includes items on non-human biology, including plants and animals. The Chemistry subtest now includes items on basic biochemistry processes and fewer items requiring the identification of nomenclature.

In addition to these changes to the Biology and Chemistry subtests, the PCAT Writing score has also changed. Beginning with the July 2012 administration, a single earned Writing score is reported along with the mean Writing score earned by all candidates during the same test administration. The single Writing score is reported on a scale of 1.0-6.0. It is based on a candidate's ability to apply conventions of language and problem-solving skills in the composition of an original essay suggesting a solution to a problem.

Beginning with the July 2012 PCAT administration, Conventions of Language and Problem Solving Writing scores earned on the 1.0-5.0 scale prior to July 2012 are not reported. Scores earned on the previous 1.0-5.0 scale are not directly comparable to Writing scores earned on the new 1.0-6.0 scale.