| Pre-medical Admissions Seminar and Counseling Interviews
|Pharmacy at the University of South Alabama
Changes To The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
|Health Pre-Professions Advisor
- Auburn University's Harrison School of Pharmacy will begin offering doctor of pharmacy degrees at the University of South Alabama with the first class starting in fall 2007. Graduates of the pharmacy program in Mobile will receive a degree from the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy at the University of South Alabama
For more information, go to the Pre-Health Professions Pre-pharmacy page.
- Harcourt Assessment will introduce several changes to the Pharmacy
College Admission Test (PCAT) beginning with the June 2007 exam
administration. The AACP PCAT Advisory Panel and Harcourt Assessment
agreed to revise the proportions of test items per content objective,
define the Writing section as Problem Solving, add an experimental
Writing section, and report separate Writing scores for Conventions of
Language and Problem Solving skills. These changes will extend the
registrants' overall testing time by five minutes for a total of 240
minutes (4 hours), plus rest breaks.
I. Revised Text Blueprint
Harcourt will reduce the PCAT Verbal Ability, Biology, Quantitative
Ability, and Chemistry subtests in length from 58 to 48 test items. The
Reading Comprehension subtest will remain 48 items long. Of the 48 items
included in each multiple-choice subtest, 40 will be designated as core
items that count toward examinees' scores, and 8 will be experimental
items that are field-tested for possible use as core items on future
By reducing the number of multiple-choice items, Harcourt can add a
second Writing subtest so that new Writing prompts can be continuously
field-tested. Harcourt will report scores for only one of the Writing
subtests to examinees and recipient schools. Scores for the experimental
Writing subtest will not be reported.
In addition, the Quantitative Ability subtest will no longer include
geometry items. The new PCAT exam will include basic math items
(fractions, percentages, decimals, unit conversions, and log base 10),
and increase the number of probability and statistics items. The Biology
subtest will have a greater number of items on genetics.
The PCAT Advisory Panel approved the revisions to the subtests to better
measure the appropriate skills and knowledge students need to succeed in
the pharmacy degree program.
II. Writing Prompts
Beginning with the June 2007 exam, all of the PCAT Writing prompts will
state a problem involving either a health issue; a science issue; or a
social, cultural or political issue. Below are sample PCAT Writing
prompts by category.
A) HEALTH ISSUES
* Discuss a solution to the problems resulting from insufficient
supplies of donated human organs.
* Discuss a solution to the problem of providing adequate health care
for the uninsured.
* Discuss a solution to the problem of promoting healthy dietary habits.
B) SCIENCE ISSUES
* Discuss a solution to the problem of developing affordable
alternatives to fossil fuels.
* Discuss a solution to the problem of protecting endangered species.
* Discuss a solution to the problem of dealing with global warming.
C) SOCIAL, CULTURAL, & POLITICAL ISSUES
* Discuss a solution to the problems resulting from a lack of
participation in civic life.
* Discuss a solution to the problem of establishing fair immigration
* Discuss a solution to the problem of preventing terrorism in an open,
The examinees will be asked to present a solution to the problem in
their essays. Examinees will be scored on how well they write an essay
that is sufficient length to adequately explain a solution to the
problem by observing the following:
* Suggest a solution to the problem presented.
* State a clear thesis and present relevant support that draws upon
credible references from academic or personal experience, reading, or
* Discuss and evaluate possible alternative solutions to the one being
* Use appropriate and conventional grammar, punctuation, usage, and
III. Revised Writing Scores
During the 2005-06 and 2006-07 testing cycles, Harcourt reported a
single Writing score that reflected examinees' ability to use language
conventions. The Conventions of Language score assesses examinees' use
of appropriate and conventional grammar, punctuation, usage, and style.
Harcourt will report a separate Problem Solving score that reflects
examinees' ability to communicate a solution to a problem stated in the
prompt, including the ability to develop a convincing essay in support
of a specific solution. In this way, the Writing score will assess one
aspect of critical thinking.
The Writing scores for both Conventions of Language and Problem Solving
will be reported on a scale of 0 through 5, with 5 representing the
highest possible score, 1 representing the lowest possible earned score,
and 0 representing invalid scores.
IV. PCAT Registration Trends
In the 2005-06 testing cycle, Harcourt experienced a record number of
PCAT registrations. The previous decline in the number PCAT
registrations in 2005 was offset by a high number January 2006 test
takers. There were 27,844 examinees in the 2005-06 testing cycle (June
2005, October 2005, and January 2006) as compared to 25,340 in the
previous cycle which represents a ten (10) percent increase. PCAT
registration numbers often predict the percent change in the number of
applications in the subsequent admissions cycle. Currently, 64 out of
the 97 regular and associate AACP member institutions require the PCAT
for all or selected pharmacy degree applicants.
V. Four Test Dates in 2007-08
To accommodate the additional number of individuals registering for the
PCAT and the trend toward earlier application deadline dates, Harcourt
will offer four test dates during the 2007-08 testing cycle. The four
test dates are scheduled to allow students the ability to retake the
exam during the same cycle, if desired. Last year, Harcourt also
increased the number of seats available for each examination to
accommodate the additional volume of PCAT registrants.
October 21, 2006
January 20, 2007
June 23, 2007
August 25, 2007
October 20, 2007
January 19, 2008
- Dr. Stanfield, Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Health Pre-Professions Advisor. Her contact info:
5721 USA Dr. North
Health Sciences Bldg.
University of South Alabama
Mobile, AL 36688
- After the August 2006 MCAT, the MCAT will be computerized. Go to the AAMC web site for more information.
of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 445-9280
(251) 445-9281 FAX
For questions or comments Contact Us
Date last changed:
September 16, 2011 2:10 PM