The quantitative reasoning section of the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) will measure your command of the formulas and concepts ranging from basic arithmetic all the way through calculus. It’s one of the most rigorous sections of the PCAT so you will definitely want to brush up on your math skills and make sure you learn any concepts that might be unfamiliar to you.
How Do I Register for the PCAT?
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You will first go to the PCAT website to apply for your desired testing window. Once your payment and application have been processed, you will be able to schedule your specific exam date and location on the Pearson VUE website.
During registration, you will be allowed to identify a maximum of three recipients for your official score report. Do not skip this step because if you don’t list them at this stage, you’ll have to pay an additional fee for each official score report. If you want to send your scores to more than three recipients, you’ll have to pay the additional fee for each recipient beyond those first three.
How Should I Prepare for the Day of the Test?
The quantitative reasoning section is the last section of the test. This means your mind will already be pretty exhausted after about three and a half hours of testing. The quantitative reasoning section itself will also be challenging with 48 questions and just 50 minutes to get through all of them.
Getting through this last section without succumbing to mental fatigue will require a high level of endurance and prior training. You will need to take this into account in addition as you study for the exam.
What Kind of Math Will Be on the Quantitative Reasoning Section?
The quantitative reasoning section includes 48 questions spanning everything from really basic math all the way through to calculus. Here is a quick overview of what kind of math you will need to master for this part of the exam:
- Basic Math
- Fractions, decimals, and percentages
- Unit conversions
- Log base 10
- Expressions, equations, and inequalities
- Probability and statistics
- Measures of central tendency
- Statistical concepts
- Complex numbers
What Score Do I Need to Get on the PCAT Quantitative Reasoning Section?
You will get a scaled score somewhere between 200 and 600 for this section. While there is no minimum required, you do want to aim high because the better you do, the stronger your overall application to pharmacy school will be. With that in mind, a good minimum target to set for yourself is at least 430. Though, if you are applying to an extremely competitive program, you will want to set your target higher than this.
Do some research or call the admissions advisor for the program to find out what the average PCAT scores are for students who have been admitted into the program. Keep in mind that this does change year to year so it’s not an exact target but it will give you a good idea of where you want to be aiming.
How Much Time Should I Spend Studying for the PCAT Quantitative Reasoning Section?
A good way to figure out about how much time you need to spend studying and preparing for this exam is to take a full practice test before you crack open a single study guide. This will be your “diagnostic” exam that tells you where your skill level is at right now.
Then, as a rough guide, plan to spend at least 5 hours for every point you need to reach your target score. For example, if your target is 450 and you got a 415 on your diagnostic test, you would want to spend at least 175 hours studying for the exam. That’s about 4 to 8 weeks (depending on how many hours you commit per week).
Once you know how much time you should spend studying, you need to make sure you have the right tools to maximize your results during those study hours. The Mometrix Study Guide and Mometrix Flashcards are two of the best tools you can use as you prepare for the PCAT. Together, these resources will provide a complete review of all the math you will need to know for the Quantitative Reasoning section. Then, the flashcards will help you memorize formulas and increase your speed of recall so that you can instantly recognize what you need to do to solve a problem. Finally, you’ll get plenty of practice questions to help you sharpen your math skills on the same kind of questions that you’ll see on test day.