• Advice You're Thankful for Contest

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7+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2009
  1. Pharmacy Student
    I'm taking the Pcats this month and I only used the Kaplan book to study for the math section. The book is very limited in the calculus and the precalculus because I was very surprised to see limits, trig, vectors and etc on the pearson practice tests!! I was never good at math and I don't remember how to do any of these. How do I study for them? And can anyone tell me the topics that is shown on the real pcat tests that the kaplan math section does not review?

    P. S. I know there are several posts about this topic butI wanted an up to date info. Thanks.


    Go Pioneers!
    10+ Year Member
    May 1, 2008
    1. Pharmacy Student
      (Reference: I took the PCAT August 2008 and got 87 in QA)
      This pretty much sums up the calc you need:
      Know what a vector is (has magnitude & direction). Know how to find 1st and 2nd derivatives - what they mean, what it means when they equal zero, how they tell you increasing or decreasing, concave up or concave down (points of inflection etc). Know what an integral is and how to do basic integrals. Know how to do basic logarithms (base 10 and natural log), their rules, and know about how to find derivatives and solutions to integrals of f(x) = e^x as well as the other exponential functions.
      Know basic trig functions (cosine, sine, tangent) and how to apply them to right triangles. Know the derivatives of the basic trig functions.

      Other basics - know how to factor things, know how to find x and y intercepts, and review probability stuff like you see on the Pearson exams (the bulk of questions are like this - things you should be able to answer quickly and easily), know basic statistics (mean, median, range)

      According to my experience, that should pretty much have you covered, and the Pearson practice tests are good indicators of math ability on the real PCAT.
      Last edited:


      Full Member
      10+ Year Member
      Nov 20, 2008
      1. Pharmacy Student
        I got a 96 on the QA section... I pretty much skimmed through the Kaplan math book a few days before the test. I'm strong in math though, so that might not really help. But it's been almost 3 years since I took any math course, so I still had to brush up on calculus topics. I didn't have any papers saved from AP calc/calc3 or anything, so I googled a lot of random sites and tried practice problems. Honestly practice is the best way for you to make sure you have the math down... I think the Kaplan book does a good job of laying out the important points, but YOU physically have to go further and look up information about each of those. LOTS of stat/calculus (derivatives & integrals), so please please please focus on those.
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