|04-03-2012, 07:54 PM||#1|
I'm a bit nervous - any advice?
Guys, I just registered for the PCAT for July 19th.
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I'm a bit nervous. I'm a senior at Purdue University - Calumet (I'm a senior because my degree is in a B.S. of Chemistry Pre-medicine so I have extra credits), and I'll be done with the required Pharmacy classes in FALL 2012.
So, I have classes now obviously and I have to STUDY for the PCAT NOW, until July, to do well.
I have 3 STUDY books. I have a good GPA, do research, I have won awards for grants and stipends for my research, and volunteer, and am in clubs like biology and pre-professional club and I'm trying to hold a position as President of the Chem club before Fall 2012 to put that on my resume. I also work at a Phamarcy and should be able to get a letter of Rec. from the Pharmacist and a letter from my mentor/PhD in Organic chem whom I do research with.
I know it can be done, I only have 3 months. What about the Kaplan prep course I hear about?
How can I combine studying for the PCAT with my current classes and not neglect them? Finals will be coming up soon
I just want to make sure, that if I study from my 3 books, I don't get surprised on the PCAT because stuff I have never seen will be on it. I paid 200$
Also, what about Purdue University? they don't require the PCAT, but I clicked them to "submit" my scores on the PCAT registration. Will it help? should I take that off?, I don't want to pay more.
Could someone throw some advice, maybe a fellow who just got accepted or PharmD. student?
This has been my dream for a while now, and no one in my family holds a Doctorate degree. I busted my balls studying and gettings A's, though I'm not perfect. I studied till 2-5am some days, and really genuinely enjoy science. I don't have nor have I ever had a lot of guidance because my father nor mother are Pharmacist nor Doctors for that matter.
Could someone spare some advice?
"We are infinitely removed from comprehending the extremes, since the end of things and their beginning are hopelessly hidden from us in an encapsulated secret; we are equally incapable of seeing the Nothing from which we were made, and the Infinite in which we are swallowed up"
- Blaine Pascal
|04-04-2012, 11:21 PM||#2|
Assistant SDN Moderator
With such a strong science background, as long as you typically do fine on standardized tests, you'll probably surprise yourself in how well you do on the PCAT.
I am also the first person in my family to pursue a post-grad degree. My dad went to technical school to be a machinist & my mom finished a couple years at undergrad (I've actually inspired her to try to finish her bachelor degree! ). I particularly empathized with your studying - I took the prereqs while working 40 hours a week, so there would be times I'd work all day, come home & cram for my 8 am Saturday A&P test until 4 or 5 am. It's difficult to overcome the lack of knowledge on how to navigate the system as the first college grad in the family, among other things. You've got a great start here at SDN - this is a wonderful knowledge base.
What I'd suggest is beginning to brush up on some of the classes you know you're rusty on. I took Gen Chem in... uh... more than 5 years ago? Same with Calc, so I knew I'd need to start there. If it works for you, start perusing your old textbook - pause to answer some of the questions at the end of the chapter. If it looks like Greek, it's probably a good place to spend a little time refreshing. Do this in down time, maybe a handful of hours a week, but don't let it get in the way of studying for your current classes. You can buckle down &
Next thing I'd suggest doing is buying the Pearson practice tests when they open for the 2012-2013 cycle (if they haven't). They have three, I believe. Take one under timed conditions when you begin studying in earnest for the PCAT, just to identify areas you are strong & weak in. In particular, the math section generally surprises people in how quickly you have to work the problems. The chem section is the only other section I found myself struggling for time in, but your mileage might vary. Take another test about a month before the PCAT. Then take the third a week or two prior, just to see what you still need to cram for. Remember that the tests aren't nearly as useful unless you take them under the same conditions as the test - in a quiet area, in the time limits required. (I found my Verbal / Reading scores fluctuated wildly on a particular test, then realized the background music my s/o was playing was distracting me! )
Most people seem to study a couple months for the PCAT, although it sounds like you're ready to throw yourself at it - well, as soon as finals are over. I think your discipline will keep you to an honest study schedule. Just to warn you going in, some of the study books out there are flawed in their answers to practice tests. Try not to get frustrated & understand that what you're really trying to learn is the skill of test-taking in this fashion.
A tip about the PharmCAS application itself - start sending your transcripts as soon as possible when the cycle opens & you can get the form you have to have sent with the transcript. Sometimes it can take a couple weeks for transcripts to arrive & get attached to your application, so this can save you some excess waiting time. It can also be easier to identify who you want to write your LoRs & approach them before summer break (hey, profs take vacations too). You can start thinking about how you want to approach your personal statement soon, although I wouldn't worry about writing it until at least after finals. (PS, there is a sticky in the Pre-Pharm forum under which there are volunteer proofreaders for personal statements.)
Above all else, be kind to yourself. Try to take one thing at a time so you don't burn yourself out. Although it's fantastic to be early in the cycle, you might have more time than you think.
|04-09-2012, 03:56 PM||#3|
Join Date: Apr 2010
I doubt you can combine your pcat studies with your current courses ( I dont know what courses you are taking now). PCAT test is mostly basic science level. Since you are a senior, I believe your courses are way pass the pcat subjects.
Take Kaplan's course, if you need someone to guide you through the studying. It can be nice and helpful if you are busy with research or school. or you can get Dr. Colins. I have heard very nice review on the materials. Although it is expensive, but it does save you the time of going through lecture notes and thick books.
I would place my priority on classes instead of PCAT.
You should call Purdue and ask if having a pcat score will help your application even if it's not required. Some pharmacy schools will not look at the scores even if you send it to them.
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