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PCAT...What is it?...and more answers

The PCAT Examination (Pharmacy College Admissions Test) is required. This is similar to an MCAT, SAT, ACT or other entrance examinations. This exam consists of several basic areas: Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Quantitative Reasoning, Critical Reading and a Writing prompt.

You may find out more information and register for the exam by contacting Pearson at 1-800-622-3231 or the Official Pharmacy College Admissions Test web site.

When in my coursework should I take the PCAT?

For most students, the PCAT should be taken after the first year in college. Before taking the exam, the student should complete Intro. to Biological Science I and II (with Labs), Fundamentals of Chemistry I and II (with Labs), and Calculus I. The student does not need to complete Organic before taking the exam, but should at least be enrolled in Organic I.

Bear in mind that PCAT scores more than three years old (older than 1/07/2016) will not be considered when making admissions decisions.

How does the UH College of Pharmacy interpret the PCAT scores?
Is my PCAT score competitive? Should I retake the exam?

Students may take the exam several times; each score will be looked at separately. If students do retake the exam, it is advised that students increase their score for each retake. The college does not drop the lowest score or average PCAT scores. PCAT scores more than three years old (older than 1/07/2016) will not be considered when making admissions decisions.

The college recommends competitive applicants have PCAT scores greater than a 75th percentile composite score. Each of the six components of the PCAT are also reviewed.

It is recommended that students score in the 75th percentile or above range in each of these four areas of the PCAT: Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Quantitative Reasoning, and Critical Reading. The Writing section is also reviewed. The average composite PCAT score for the 2017 entering Pharm.D. class was 81%.

For the 2019 application cycle, The February 2019 PCAT will be the most recent PCAT scores that will be accepted by the UH College of Pharmacy.

Although the PCAT is a standardized exam, scores are viewed as an indicator of retention and are not used solely as a final parameter for acceptance or non-acceptance.

How do I get my PCAT Scores to UHCOP?

Since UHCOP uses PharmCAS, PCAT scores sent to PharmCAS will be matched to your PharmCAS record for us to review once your PharmCAS record is verified. When registering for the PCAT, Select PharmCAS Code 104 to report PCAT scores directly to PharmCAS.

I hear that it can take several weeks for my Official PCAT scores to reach PharmCAS after I take it. Is there any way my PCAT scores can be sent to UHCOP sooner?

We will accept the Preliminary PCAT Score Report for PCAT test days so long as it is uploaded to your PharmCAS application within 48 hours of the test date. PharmCAS ID should be written on the Student Score report.

Instructions for emailing Preliminary PCAT Score Report:
  • Write your PharmCAS ID in the top right-corner of the Student Score Report
  • Scan the Student Score Report. It must be easily readable and cannot be any larger than 5MB in size
  • Access your PharmCAS account and upload the Student Score Report in the Program Materials section for the University of Houston College of Pharmacy, in the Documents tab
  • Review the PharmCAS application instructions for more information on how to properly upload documents to your PharmCAS application

Offers of acceptance to applicants taking the PCAT will be made with the understanding that offers are dependent upon submission of official results of the PCAT. Select PharmCAS Code 104 to report PCAT scores directly to PharmCAS.

Should I wait to submit my PharmCAS application until I receive my most-recent PCAT scores?

Since PharmCAS applications can take several weeks to process, applicants are encouraged to submit their PharmCAS application and mail required items directly in to PharmCAS early in the application-cycle. By doing so, much (if not all) of the processing for their PharmCAS application may be completed and distributed to the UH College of Pharmacy by the time his/her official PCAT scores are available in PharmCAS.

PharmCAS will process applications without official PCAT scores. In addition, if an applicant chooses to take a later (February) PCAT, the applicant can update their PharmCAS application to indicate new impending PCAT test-date(s).

Applicants who wait to submit their PharmCAS application until after their PCAT scores are available will experience longer processing-times than those who proactively sent their PharmCAS application and required items in ahead of time.

Will you accept the February PCAT?

For the 2019 admission cycle, the UH College of Pharmacy will accept the February 2019 PCAT. Applicants are encouraged to keep their PharmCAS application up-to-date by indicating their intention to take the February PCAT.

How should I study for the PCAT?

While we are prohibited from recommending any of the preparatory review programs, one student who did very well on the PCAT commented “...the Peterson's PCAT study guide had the best material that aided in better preparation for the PCAT exam questions. For the Pre-Pharmacy review sessions, we used Kaplan, but I also studied from Barron's and took the online practice test located on the PCAT web site.  I recommend using a variety of study aids instead of just one.

How many times can I take the PCAT?

A candidate may sit for the PCAT no more than five times. After the fifth attempt, a candidate must submit a written request, along with supporting documentation, for Pearson to consider permitting a candidate additional attempts. Go to the Official Pharmacy College Admission Test Website for more information.