Ask me any question about the PCAT Today

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BluePill_

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Hey guys! I took the PCAT today and am willing to answer any questions you all that are taking it tomorrow have about it.

I probably won't say what the exact questions were, because I've heard that you can get in legal trouble for that, but anything else I'm open to help.

:)

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Is the calculator available for all problems? Also, what functions does the calculator have? I feel that time wise that could make a difference


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Hey guys! I took the PCAT today and am willing to answer any questions you all that are taking it tomorrow have about it.

I probably won't say what the exact questions were, because I've heard that you can get in legal trouble for that, but anything else I'm open to help.

:)

Difficulty in your opinion versus the Kaplan tests/pearson tests/collins tests please
 
Is the bio section hard compared to Pearson/Kaplan?

I only used Kaplan to study. The Kaplan practice tests were MUCH harder than the actual PCAT in my opinion, other than the reading section. On the Kaplan practice test the reading passages are usually only 3-4 paragraphs long, but on the PCAT they were 5-7 paragraphs, which made it a little more difficult. The biology was easier than the Kaplan bio IMO
 
Is the calculator available for all problems? Also, what functions does the calculator have? I feel that time wise that could make a difference


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The calculator was available throughout the all of the bio, chem, and math sections. It only has basic functions, there isn't any log buttons or anything like that.
 
Difficulty in your opinion versus the Kaplan tests/pearson tests/collins tests please

I was using Kaplan practice tests to study, and I did significantly better on the actual PCAT than I did on the Kaplan test. I never used pearson or collins, but I read that they are much more similar to the actual PCAT. But at least Kaplan give you practice with much harder material, at least when it came to Bio and Chem
 
What did you use to study CR? Did it help?

I honestly did not study the critical reading portion too much. I think the best way to get a good score on it is to practice passages and practice tests. I used Kaplan to practice, but it wasn't very similar to the actual PCAT reading section.
 
What are some major areas in math/chem/quant that seemed to appear several times throughout the test?

At least 6-7 questions on my chemistry portion were about specific reaction types, such as hydrolysis, dehydration, redox, etc. The rest was all over the place.

On the math there was a few conversion questions, which I wasn't expecting on the math portion (I'm used to doing conversions only in chemistry), and there was quite a few percentage questions.

Bio was too scattered to even say, there was not any reoccurring themes.
 
I honestly did not study the critical reading portion too much. I think the best way to get a good score on it is to practice passages and practice tests. I used Kaplan to practice, but it wasn't very similar to the actual PCAT reading section.
would you say the level of difficulty of kaplan's CR was the same as the PCAT? I already took my PCAT but I did poorly in CR and math, I never touched my free kaplan test and not sure if I should waste my time and use those to study
 
would you say the level of difficulty of kaplan's CR was the same as the PCAT? I already took my PCAT but I did poorly in CR and math, I never touched my free kaplan test and not sure if I should waste my time and use those to study


Not at all. Like I said above, the Kaplan CR section passages are much shorter than the ones on the actual PCAT. Also, I found that the Kaplan passages were all about science related topics, but on the PCAT it has some science based passages and some that aren't.
 
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Hi! how is the chemistry portion on the pcat? I've spent the last 3 weeks reviewing bio so far, and now I'm attempting to approach chemistry using collins and pearsons =/
 
Not at all. Like I said above, the Kaplan CR section passages are much shorter than the ones on the actual PCAT. Also, I found that the Kaplan passages were all about science related topics, but on the PCAT it has some science based passages and some that aren't.

Ah okay, i've only done 3 kaplan SECTIONS (2 bio, 1 chem), and i half assed the bio half asleep (got a 15 lol). But I got a 93 on the bio i tried on and a 76 on the chem I tried on. If it truly is easier, hopefully I get better on chem. My problem with kaplan is the passage questions were heavily based on having background knowledge on the matter and then applying it, which is difficult bc the passages are so random
 
if you could put an approximate ratio to the amount of gen chem to ochem, what would you say it was?
 
Hi! how is the chemistry portion on the pcat? I've spent the last 3 weeks reviewing bio so far, and now I'm attempting to approach chemistry using collins and pearsons =/


I got a 93 on the Chemistry portion, and I actually thought I was doing really poorly on it when I was taking it, lol. Study your reactions, that's what it covers most, which are pretty easy to cram. Know the general trends of the periodic table too. It wasn't too bad though, you might surprise yourself like I did.
 
if you could put an approximate ratio to the amount of gen chem to ochem, what would you say it was?

eh, it considers on what section you put reaction types into. I tend to think of that more as organic, so by my standards it was probably 60% organic, 30% general, and 10% biochemistry.
 
Ah okay, i've only done 3 kaplan SECTIONS (2 bio, 1 chem), and i half assed the bio half asleep (got a 15 lol). But I got a 93 on the bio i tried on and a 76 on the chem I tried on. If it truly is easier, hopefully I get better on chem. My problem with kaplan is the passage questions were heavily based on having background knowledge on the matter and then applying it, which is difficult bc the passages are so random

The PCAT passages are the same way. But your scores are really good, you should be fine.
 
I got a 93 on the Chemistry portion, and I actually thought I was doing really poorly on it when I was taking it, lol. Study your reactions, that's what it covers most, which are pretty easy to cram. Know the general trends of the periodic table too. It wasn't too bad though, you might surprise yourself like I did.

oh ok! guess i'll need to freshen up on those acid/bases and sn1/sn2 reactions etc! also, was there calculation type questions like finding the number of moles or molarity or volumes and such?
 
I got a 93 on the Chemistry portion, and I actually thought I was doing really poorly on it when I was taking it, lol. Study your reactions, that's what it covers most, which are pretty easy to cram. Know the general trends of the periodic table too. It wasn't too bad though, you might surprise yourself like I did.

oh also, how much trig stuff did your feel was on the math section. Like derivatives, integrals, graphs, etc.

This is prob fine to answer legallyt, but If you feel this is too specific, feel free to not answer.
 
You mentioned that the calculator didn't have the log button. I thought the calculator provided will be similar to a simple scientific calculator that includes the log button
 
oh ok! guess i'll need to freshen up on those acid/bases and sn1/sn2 reactions etc! also, was there calculation type questions like finding the number of moles or molarity or volumes and such?
hopefully haha, hope there are tons of those, balancing, limiting reactants, etc.

Although unfortunately it looks like the passage questions mainly replaced the math questions instead of concept stand alones
 
You mentioned that the calculator didn't have the log button. I thought the calculator provided will be similar to a simple scientific calculator that includes the log button

No, it's more similar to the calculator you can pull up on your computer. The only "fancy" button it had was square root, rest was all very basic.
 
oh ok! guess i'll need to freshen up on those acid/bases and sn1/sn2 reactions etc! also, was there calculation type questions like finding the number of moles or molarity or volumes and such?

Freshen up on hydrolysis and redox reactions too! The calculation type questions were exactly what you said. The molar masses were given as well, which helped a lot :)
 
hopefully haha, hope there are tons of those, balancing, limiting reactants, etc.

Although unfortunately it looks like the passage questions mainly replaced the math questions instead of concept stand alones

There was probably about 6-8 questions that involved true math. There was one that was balancing, a couple limiting reactant ones, and then some basic conversion ones. It wasn't bad at all.
 
oh also, how much trig stuff did your feel was on the math section. Like derivatives, integrals, graphs, etc.

This is prob fine to answer legallyt, but If you feel this is too specific, feel free to not answer.

There was actually A LOT of derivative and integral questions. Only one or two trig questions.
 
my mind is going blank here but what sub topic of math is derivatives and integral under? lol
 
There was probably about 6-8 questions that involved true math. There was one that was balancing, a couple limiting reactant ones, and then some basic conversion ones. It wasn't bad at all.


what do you mean by conversion?
 
darn I thought the whole focus of the new test was to be more based on mental math and less calc/analyzing

It was kind of a lot of analyzing. I feel like 50% were word problems, but that's probably just because I spent the most time on those.
 
Just took the PCAT this afternoon too! IMO it seems about the same level as the practice tests Pearson offers.
I do want to say that reading seemed a lot harder on the real thing. I wasn't able to focus on the passages but still managed to do better compared to how I did on the practice tests, which is a miracle. I didn't even believe the score when I see the score report. My advice for the reading is to not overthink too much and just go with what you think (I was too tired to second guess myself like I did on the practice test). Passages are also not all science-based, some are social science/non-science.
Bio was harder than the practice tests, very specific stuff. Chem was okay, I struggled the most with Biochem stuff. The passages in these sections are not always needed to answer the questions, especially on Chem. I was able to cruise thru the whole Chem section without actually reading the whole passage, just glancing and pick out what's needed to answer the question.
Math seems very long to me. In the end I had to totally guessed on 4 questions without even reading them cuz I ran out of time. So I would stress timing on the Math section and practice a lot of quick math. Even though there is a calculator, quick math definitely helps as a non-scientific calculator isn't always super easy to use under a time crunch. Don't stress too much about calc. I haven't taken calculus since high school and had no trouble. Stuff that gave me trouble were arithmetic/algebra maths and some stats.
 
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Just took the PCAT this afternoon too! IMO it seems about the same level as the practice tests Pearson offers.
I do want to say that reading seemed a lot harder on the real thing. I wasn't able to focus on the passages but still managed to do better compared to how I did on the practice tests, which is a miracle. I didn't even believe the score when I see the score report. My advice for the reading is to not overthink too much and just go with what you think (I was too tired to second guess myself like I did on the practice test). Passages are also not all science-based, some are social science/non-science.
Bio was harder than the practice tests, very specific stuff. Chem was okay, I struggled the most with Biochem stuff. The passages in these sections are not always needed to answer the questions, especially on Chem. I was able to cruise thru the whole Chem section without actually reading the whole passage, just glancing and pick out what's needed to answer the question.
Math seems very long to me. In the end I had to totally guessed on 4 questions without even reading them cuz I ran out of time. So I would stress timing on the Math section and practice a lot of quick math. Even though there is a calculator, quick math definitely helps as a non-scientific calculator isn't always super easy to use under a time crunch. Don't stress too much about calc. I haven't taken calculus since high school and had no trouble. Stuff that gave me trouble were arithmetic/algebra maths and some stats.


I totally agree on the reading and math parts. I almost ran out of time on the math too, which I've seen a lot of people struggled with, I'm not sure why? I was surprised when I got my score back too, happy we surprised ourselves! Congrats!
 
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Just took the PCAT this afternoon too! IMO it seems about the same level as the practice tests Pearson offers.
I do want to say that reading seemed a lot harder on the real thing. I wasn't able to focus on the passages but still managed to do better compared to how I did on the practice tests, which is a miracle. I didn't even believe the score when I see the score report. My advice for the reading is to not overthink too much and just go with what you think (I was too tired to second guess myself like I did on the practice test). Passages are also not all science-based, some are social science/non-science.
Bio was harder than the practice tests, very specific stuff. Chem was okay, I struggled the most with Biochem stuff. The passages in these sections are not always needed to answer the questions, especially on Chem. I was able to cruise thru the whole Chem section without actually reading the whole passage, just glancing and pick out what's needed to answer the question.
Math seems very long to me. In the end I had to totally guessed on 4 questions without even reading them cuz I ran out of time. So I would stress timing on the Math section and practice a lot of quick math. Even though there is a calculator, quick math definitely helps as a non-scientific calculator isn't always super easy to use under a time crunch. Don't stress too much about calc. I haven't taken calculus since high school and had no trouble. Stuff that gave me trouble were arithmetic/algebra maths and some stats.
hmm thanks, this is nice.

So how much background info do you think the passages (especially bio) require? Say the passage is about something pretty foreign to you overall, would it be really difficult to do those problems? What I'm afraid of. Also I need to make sure I don't get down on myself after one or two bad passages
 
hmm thanks, this is nice.

So how much background info do you think the passages (especially bio) require? Say the passage is about something pretty foreign to you overall, would it be really difficult to do those problems? What I'm afraid of. Also I need to make sure I don't get down on myself after one or two bad passages

Sadly I would have to say many of the chem/bio passage questions require background knowledge. For example, on the bio section, they would have a passage about a specific tissue/unit within a system in the body, then the questions would be about the A&P/how things work within that tissue/system. Sorry I feel like I'm being really vague. My point is that there's no way to answer those kinds of questions with just what they give you in the passage, so know your stuff well. Kaplan is very good for Bio, I would say.
 
Sadly I would have to say many of the chem/bio passage questions require background knowledge. For example, on the bio section, they would have a passage about a specific tissue/unit within a system in the body, then the questions would be about the A&P/how things work within that tissue/system. Sorry I feel like I'm being really vague. My point is that there's no way to answer those kinds of questions with just what they give you in the passage, so know your stuff well. Kaplan is very good for Bio, I would say.
oh dont worry about it, you have to be otherwise trouble could happen

anyways thanks, this is difficult, but hopefully via elimination and guessing I'll be able to get a good enough amount of the ones I don't know
 
Just took the PCAT this afternoon too! IMO it seems about the same level as the practice tests Pearson offers.
I do want to say that reading seemed a lot harder on the real thing. I wasn't able to focus on the passages but still managed to do better compared to how I did on the practice tests, which is a miracle. I didn't even believe the score when I see the score report. My advice for the reading is to not overthink too much and just go with what you think (I was too tired to second guess myself like I did on the practice test). Passages are also not all science-based, some are social science/non-science.
Bio was harder than the practice tests, very specific stuff. Chem was okay, I struggled the most with Biochem stuff. The passages in these sections are not always needed to answer the questions, especially on Chem. I was able to cruise thru the whole Chem section without actually reading the whole passage, just glancing and pick out what's needed to answer the question.
Math seems very long to me. In the end I had to totally guessed on 4 questions without even reading them cuz I ran out of time. So I would stress timing on the Math section and practice a lot of quick math. Even though there is a calculator, quick math definitely helps as a non-scientific calculator isn't always super easy to use under a time crunch. Don't stress too much about calc. I haven't taken calculus since high school and had no trouble. Stuff that gave me trouble were arithmetic/algebra maths and some stats.
Hi snsd0909! What did you use to prepare for the math section?
 
Hi snsd0909! What did you use to prepare for the math section?
Hi! I mainly used Dr. Collins and a little bit of Kaplan. I basically read through both once and take all the practice sections of Dr. Collins. But if you do struggle with Math I wouldn't recommend solely relying on Dr. Collins or Kaplan because both IMO were quite brief. If that is the case I would just take your old calc/pre-calc/algebra math book/notes and study. Taking the practice exams of Dr. Collins and Pearson also helps out a lot
 
And do you think that it is necessary to know nomenclature for the organic chemistry portion? For instance, knowing what the compound looks like based on its name, or naming a compound?
 
hi,
I heard that if I take pcat with bad score(lower than 50%) and then retake it with really high score, the first low grade will destroy my background and it will affect on my chance to get in school, is that right?
 
hi,
I heard that if I take pcat with bad score(lower than 50%) and then retake it with really high score, the first low grade will destroy my background and it will affect on my chance to get in school, is that right?

I don't think that is true at all. I've been told that if you get a low score and then get it up a lot, it actually makes you look good. It means you did poorly, and then you worked hard and got your score up. Shows that you have motivation and can grow as a student.
 
And do you think that it is necessary to know nomenclature for the organic chemistry portion? For instance, knowing what the compound looks like based on its name, or naming a compound?

Yes you do need to be familiar with basic nomenclature and some of the names for comment compounds such as toluene, benzene, etc.
 
I have Kaplan PCAT books from 2013.. I know they changed the PCAT this year, but do you think I should buy new textbooks or the information in these will probably be similar?
 
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