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Considering Pre-Pharm and I have a few questions about the PCAT and What I need to Do

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by Naokuvi, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. Naokuvi

    Naokuvi 2+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2014
    Hi! I am a sophomore in college and I was considering pre-pharm. Right now I am a pre-med student however I am also interested in going into pharmacy. To be honest right now I'm leaning towards pre-med but I have heard of some cases in which people prepared to take the PCAT and the MCAT and decided to pursue whatever field after taking both tests. I would like to try to do that but I have a few questions about the pre-pharm process as well as the PCAT.

    From what I know the PCAT is based on general chemistry 1 and 2, biology 1 and 2, a little bit of microbiology, a little bit of anatomy and physiology, organic chemistry 1, math with calculus, and a verbal reasoning/writing section. I am currently finished with gen chem, bio, and I APed out of calculus 1 and 2. After this year I will be done with OCHEM 1 and 2 and I may also have genetics under my belt if I decide to take it my second semester. My school generally doesn't allow us to take a microbiology and A and P class until junior year. Is it possible to take the PCAT prior to taking these two courses? I was planning to use the time period of spring break to the end of summer break after my sophomore year to prepare for the September PCAT. I want to take the MCAT during my second semester of junior year. Is this timeline fine? Will med schools be notified that I take the PCAT and will pharm schools be notified of me taking the MCAT (I am afraid there will be bias towards my dedication towards a specific field if they are notified)?

    Also what is your advice on how to approach pre-pharm (what extracurriculars should I have under my belt)? As I said right now im primarily concentrated on the pre-med route but I would like to explore more about pharmacy.

    Currently I have a 4.0 GPA (though right now OCHEM is really messing with this). I have volunteered around 120 hours in non-clinical settings and I have volunteered around 50 hours in the hospital and in hospice care. I am also a co-founder and officer in a philanthropy organization for a local non-profit children's hospital and I am an officer in my school's pre-med organization. I am also a freshman mentor at my school and I am an online tutor for various elementary, middle, and high school subjects. My primary concern is getting pharmacy-related experiences if I do decide to pursue this path. I don't know if I have the ability to juggle my extracurriculars, classes, as well as work as a pharm tech. Is there any other way I can get pharmacy-related experiences and see what it is like to be a pharmacist so I can decide whether I want to pursue entry into medical or pharmacy school?
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  3. jarab012


    May 5, 2014
    Speaking about the PCAT I would take these classes to prep you for it: Gen chem 1, Orgo 1 and 2, Anatomy, Micro, Calc, and General Bio. There was a lot of micro on my exam but most could be memorized if you want. If you think you can put in the effort of teaching yourself Anatomy then go for it. It made the bio section a breeze because I took A and P before my test though so I highly recommend it. I don't think that neither med or pharm. school will know what test you took unless you report it. On my application I can report any standardized test I have taken. So I'm guessing its just a preference if you want to report your scores.

    To gain insight on your pharmacy career I would do a few things: 1. go to your local large chain pharmacy and just observe for a few minutes. You will notice that things get really crazy depending on the time of day. 2. I would look into shadowing at your hospitals inpatient pharmacy. This gave me insight on the different direction that pharmacy can take besides the retail world. I really enjoyed it and I think thats what I want to pursue. 3. Go talk to a small independent pharmacy, its not as busy as the chains but go in and ask questions and maybe ask to shadow. Chances are they will be happy to answer your questions. I have a job at an independent right now and the pharmacists there are really great. I get a chance to connect with them and learn what pharmacy is really about. So if you can handle being a tech I would go to a smaller pharmacy and learn the basics. To be honest if I was a tech at a CVS I would not have been able to handle all of the stress and to be honest I would have not wanted to become a pharmacist lol jk but it is something to consider in your decision.

    Hope that helped.
  4. stablecarbocation


    Sep 18, 2014
    Going to pharmacy school open houses/information events can be helpful. I recently went to one and large panels of practicing pharmacists in a variety of settings and current pharmacy students presented. At this presentation he Dean of Student Affairs (or something else, can't remember) said that this particular school was open to setting up appointments to "talk about the profession" with prospective applicants. I'm not sure how other schools feel about this.
  5. kies89

    kies89 7+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    They only asked handful of questions about microbio and anatomy.. you will be ok.
    I mean it is only one section.. out of 5.
    Taking microbio and anatomy will help you, but honestly, just studying Kaplan pcat book will be good enough on your biology section.

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