I know you must have heard this multiple times, but I can’t insist enough that your PCAT score significantly determines the future of your pharmacy career.
And it’s because of the weight that this exam holds, that various test prep companies have come up with different preparation guides.
From study books to online courses, you simply have to pick the ones that suit your needs.
That’s why I have come up with this best PCAT prep books review article, to help you choose the right prep books for your study.
Best PCAT Prep Books
|Kaplan||Crack the PCAT||Peterson’s Master||Barron’s PCAT||PCAT Secrets||Test Prep Books|
|Number of Practice Questions||Numerous, but not indicated||2400+||Numerous, but not indicated||Multiple, but not indicated||Multiple, but not indicated||Numerous, but not indicated|
|Number of Full Exams||2||10||2||2||Not indicated||None|
|Number of Pages||888||none||753||400||344||391|
|Format||Paperback, online access||eCourse( downloadable software)||eBook||Paperback||Paperback||Paperback|
Best PCAT Flashcards
Overview of the PCAT Exam
The PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test) is an assessment test that examines the skills and abilities of students interested in joining pharmacy school.
Most Pharmacy schools require you to achieve a specific score in this test to gain admission. So, let’s take a look at the critical areas of this test;
Sections and Duration
The main objective of the PCAT test is to test your basic knowledge of various standard scientific terms and concepts.
And this cuts across the following subjects;
- Reading Comprehension
- Writing Skills, Math, and Critical thinking skills.
On the day of the test, expect to take 192 questions, which are mainly multiple-choice. There’s also a single writing topic, bringing to a total of 5 separate sections that you will be tackling.
The total test duration is usually around four hours, and you will get only one break.
Expect to take the test exclusively on your computer as it’s presented in a computer-based format.
Here’s a breakdown of how your schedule will look like on test-taking day.
|Total||195, 1 writing||220 ( 3 hrs 40 mins)|
Your final PCAT score will comprise of all your performances in the sections mentioned above.
Afterward, the “raw score” undergoes conversion to fit into the official scaling score of 200-600.
You will then be allocated a composite score, which is an average on your score in each section.
This, however, doesn’t include the writing prompt as it has to be scored separately by two graders. After which their scores are averaged to give you a rating on a scale of 1-6.
The score you receive in each section will automatically give you a percentile rank, and this also applies to the composite score.
In this case, the percentile rank will help you know how you performed against other PCAT test takers. For example, if your percentile rank is 80, then it means you performed better than 80% of exam-takers.
The first score you receive immediately after the PCAT test is the preliminary report and is subject to change after standardization.
You, therefore, can’t use it to apply for admission to a Pharmacy school of your choice.
You will, therefore, have to wait for around 5 weeks (from the day of the exam) to receive the official online.
You can then use the official transcripts for your applications.
Exam Day Expectations
You will have to undergo a signing process before you start taking the exam. Therefore, purpose of arriving at least 3o minutes earlier than the scheduled time of the test commencement.
The last thing you would want is to arrive late and rush through everything, which can frustrate you and cause anxiety.
Remember, if for any reason you find yourself late by 15 minutes or more, you won’t access the test, and no refund will be offered.
Also, remember to carry your two original IDs, DON’T photocopy. One should be government-issued and an Ex university ID for name verification.
There’s also a list of prohibited items, such as;
- All electronic devices
- All recording devices
- Notebooks/rulers/papers and anything on this category
- Snacks/ water/beverages
- Watch, earplugs, and anything on this category.
The PCAT exam windows are usually in January, February, March, July, September, and October.
So, if you want to take your exams during any of the above mentioned months, all you’ve to do is register at the tpc-etesting website, and you’ll receive further instructions in your email within 24 hours.
Note; you should always bookmark the registration and Schedule deadlines to book your preferred test-taking time, date, and location, in good time.
How To Choose The Right PCAT Study Material For You
Now that you know which materials you need to study for your PCAT test, it’s also essential to understand how to choose the ones that suit your current needs correctly.
And that’s what I’m going to help you discover in this section.
a) Do They Give Room for Self-Testing?
Yes, I agree theory is functional. But honestly speaking, you can’t be pumping a lot of content into your mind without testing if you’re mastering anything or not.
Doing that is like taking a ride to nowhere. And it won’t help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
A good PCAT prep material should include practice questions at the end of each small section, to help you question your retention abilities, before moving to the next section.
This allows you to repeat the procedure as much as necessary, learn from your mistakes, and do better analysis in the following areas.
Plus you get to familiarize yourself with sample exam format questions, which will come in handy on test-taking day
b) Are the Explanations Detailed?
When you choose PCAT study materials, always go for those with comprehensive explanations, answers to questions.
It will help you understand why the seemingly correct answers turned out wrong.
Also, the detailed explanations will ensure you understand various subtle languages that will play a significant role in your real exam score.
It would be impossible to access this without some sort of test stimulation, complete with well-explained answers.
c) Do They Include Cues of Your Overall Performance as Far as Your Study Schedule Is Concerned?
If you check out our previous article on “how to prepare for PCAT in one month,” you will realize that you need a study schedule/plan to study efficiently.
You, therefore, must know the importance of keeping track of your studies and knowing what you need to cover before exam day.
It will not only boost your confidence but also help you identify the various sections you’re yet to cover and how to allocate sufficient time to each of them before the exam window comes knocking on your door.
Therefore, a study material that comes with a study schedule will ease some weight off your shoulders.
Also, having these content coverage markers will help you in achieving your small sub-section goals, which will push into fulfillment your primary objective.
d) Are They Up-To-Date?
Most test prep materials come in the form of editions. And they keep changing to suit the most current exam format.
This is especially critical when it comes to standardized exams such as the PCAT. Most of the time, the exam board undertakes audits to uphold quality.
When this happens, they add new questions and outdate some. So, be on the look-out for this when shopping for resources. The latest editions make a perfect pick.
How Accurate are the Data and Information?
If you peruse through a PCAT review material and identify numerous wrong details, incomplete sentences, and even outdated info, then you better move on to the next pick.
Yes, sometimes errors do occur, but they should be minor enough to overlook.
To be sure, check out the credibility of the company and find out if they’re working with expert instructors.
Experts who understand how the PCAT works will want only the best for you and their content should be impeccable.
e). Is the Content Well Organized?
Nothing can throw you off balance as disorganized studying material. It will even cut-short your learning curiosity, which is dangerous.
Always go for test prep resources that exhibit excellent organization skills. You will love the simple structure as you peruse through. You need all the reasons to keep studying.
f). Any Highlights on The Most Essential Areas?
While it’s true that you can never know for sure which areas the PCAT exam will cover, there’re testing patterns that experts analyze to rank various sections.
Some areas appear more frequently in the exams than others and therefore require more focus as they’re likely to impact your score as opposed to the less tested areas.
A good test-prep material should highlight sections for you so that you know which ones matter most and vice versa.
FAQs About Best PCAT Prep Books
How Long Is the PCAT Exam?
The PCAT exam usually takes around 3 hours, 40 minutes. For more details, check out the above section breakdown.
How Is the PCAT Scored?
The test is scored based on what you get in each section. Afterward, a composite score is calculated on a range of 200-600.
However, the writing prompt is scored differently, and the results averaged after assessment by two experts.
Students are allocated percentiles, which gives them an indication of how they performed against other test-takers.
For more information, check out the PCAT scoring section in the main article.
How Long Does It Take to Prepare for the PCAT?
There’s no absolute preparation time for the PCAT exam. If anything, it depends on individual capability. And the time you have left before the actual exam.
Some individuals can quickly master concepts and have generally been good in sciences. Therefore, for them, 3-4 weeks of marathon study will be enough to prepare adequately.
Other students need to repeat concepts to master, and their performance in sciences has always been average. So, they might need 2-3 months to be ready for the test.
There are still many more examples I can give. But the point here is that you should never compare yourself with others. Instead, work with what suits you best.
If you need 6 months to get ready or can comfortably tackle the test within a month of thorough preparation, go for it. The end result is what matters.
And remember it’s your future which is on the line, so never compromise to impress.
How Much Does PCAT Prep Cost?
PCAT prep can cost a few bucks to hundreds depending on how much you want to spend and the prep materials you need.
What is essential, however, is for you to understand that whatever material you choose should be in line with your budget and studying time-frame.
Some materials are more expensive than others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they contain more details than the cheaper ones.
There has always been an aspect of demographics in society, so some students would still prefer class over the content.
Choose smartly, using the prep materials selecting tips I gave above, and you won’t go wrong.
Sometimes, the price isn’t everything, and it doesn’t automatically translate to quality.
Is Dr. Collins PCAT Worth It?
From the numerous positive reviews I am getting from the internet, I would say that Dr. Collins PCAT is definitely worth it.
Here are a few screenshots for your sampling;
Are Kaplan PCAT Tests Harder?
The Kaplan PCAT exams are a bit difficult to depict the real exam. But sometimes some students feel that they’re harder than the actual test.
I think that isn’t bad, because if you can correctly handle them, then you can as well approach the exam with confidence.
Is Kaplan Or Princeton Review Books Better For PCAT?
For PCAT, Kaplan is definitely better. Otherwise, we couldn’t have ranked highly in this review.
Leave Princeton for MCAT.
Passing the PCAT requires adequate preparation. And that means purchasing the right review materials to help boost your final score.
But since the current marketplace is filled with numerous test prep resources, it might be difficult for you to choose the best, especially if this’s your first PCAT attempt.
That’s why I came up with this review; to help you effortlessly make a perfect choice.
I hope you find this article helpful. If you do, feel free to recommend it to your friends.
Otherwise, it’s a wrap from us.
Best of luck in your PCAT prep!