Most colleges of pharmacy require applicants to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test, or PCAT, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. The PCAT tests six subject areas. After taking the test, you receive a formal score report that gives 14 results: five subject-area scaled scores, five subject-area percentile ranks, a scaled score that is a composite of the five subjects, that composite's percentile rank, a writing score and the mean writing score.
What’s the Score?
Scaled scores are based on how many questions you got correct; Pearson Assessments, the test's developer, does not set a passing mark for the PCAT, although individual colleges may require certain minimum scores. Percentiles show what percentage of test-takers scored lower than you, explains Kaplan, the PCAT official test-preparation resource. For instance, if you scored 446 in chemistry, your percentile rank is 90, which means 90 percent of test-takers scored lower than you. When someone says she earned a 78 on the PCAT, she most likely is talking about her composite percentile, according to Kaplan, meaning that she did better overall than 78 percent of test-takers. The writing test is graded differently: Two reviewers give each test a score between 1 and 6, and your final score is the average of these two grades. Instead of a percentile, you receive the mean writing score, an average of all the test-takers who took the PCAT at the same time.
Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.