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Don't Laugh, I begin my 3-week PCAT cramming now!

Discussion in 'PCAT Discussions' started by StaphRx, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. StaphRx

    2+ Year Member

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    Happy 2009!

    Ok! No joke...I keep talking and researching about the PharmD programs and my eligibility. I realize I should just start studying for the Jan PCATs NOW.

    Bottom line to my research: take/write the PCAT and do my best in Jan 2009 for my late PharmCAS to be considered, since I'm so late in the game now for Fall 2009 entering class cycle. This will be my first attempt at PCATs. :eek:

    I need major high yielding advice: from those who have taken their PCATS already. Please advise me on the BEST/MOST EFFICIENT studying approach to the PCAT. For all the subtests, what resources (preferrably cheap and free) should I use? Online resources available? :thumbup:

    My background: I have taken the MCAT/DAT/SAT many years ago. I have taken AP's in high school. I have a BS degree. I have ExamKrackers/Kaplan MCAT and DAT books at home. I still have my old SAT and AP review books. I found a small Barron's GRE review book. I found my sister's CLEP review book, whatever that is...I found my DAT
    Destroyer material. With these handy resources, what should I use, not use, focus on. I have all my science/math/Econ textbooks at home too. :rolleyes:

    What's my best approach? What materials should I study? Any advice would help. I look forward to your help and PCAT experience. :)
     
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  3. WhiteSnows

    WhiteSnows Think Right and Grow Rich
    Pharmacist 7+ Year Member

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    Since it is late, my advice is do not worry, keep being confident, positive thinking. Remember this on your test day "Worry destroys your concentration".
     
  4. IrishOats

    IrishOats Go Pioneers!
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    I'd recommend the Kaplan book for basic review, but you'll have to supplement in the areas of o-chem and calculus.
    (I took the PCAT in August 08 and got an 88 composite, just for reference: 87 QA, 72 Chem, 94 Bio, 85 VA, 75 RC, 3/3 Writing)

    The math section involved a lot of probability questions/questions intended to be done quickly without a lot of thinking - good review for these in the Kaplan book. As for calculus supplementation, if you have an old textbook - look over these: know basic log rules, basic derivative rules and basic integration rules and applications. Know what 1st and 2nd derivatives are, how to find them, and what they mean when they are zero, positive, negative, etc (concave up & down, etc).

    For O-chem....if you have a good background in it and did well in the class, just review nomenclature, basic functional groups, and basic reactions (essentially 1st semester material).

    The BEST practice tests are the ones made by Pearson (available on the PCAT website). I purchased both, and took the first one early in my studying period to serve as an indicator of what I needed to study most. I then focused on the areas that I was weakest on (according to the practice test) in my studying, and took the second practice test a few days before the PCAT as a final review.

    I studied for a few weeks, so I'm probably not the best example as to time spent studying, but it really depends on you and how familiar you are with the material. Since I am a senior in undergrad, I had taken most relevant classes fairly recently, and I felt I would burn out if I studied for much more than a few weeks.

    A final piece of advice that is particularly important is the timing issue...even if you don't time yourself on the first practice test, be sure to at least time yourself on the second one. It is CRITICAL to be aware of the time you have. It is ridiculous that there are 48 chem questions in 30 minutes on the real PCAT...but that's just the way it is - it is valuable to know which ones to answer first and which ones to skip (for example, the calculation problems) so that you use your time wisely.

    ***ALSO - keep track of your answer sheet - bubble the answer to the question in its respective spot on the answer booklet, and stop to double check every few questions to make sure you're bubbling in the correct spot!!! One of my friends skipped a row in the answer booklet by mistake and so she "mis-bubbled" hers - she ended up getting a 4th percentile (yes, really) in chemistry. :eek:
     
  5. StaphRx

    2+ Year Member

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    Thank you! I will take all the suggestions made so far! It's really helpful! :thumbup:
     
  6. anyr

    anyr BOSS FIGHT
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    IrishOats, that was ridiculously helpful even though I've already taken the PCAT once hahaha.

    I'm also seconding the Kaplan book and practice tests. Like IrishOats said, the Kaplan book is definitely lacking in the ochem and calculus section, but it does give you a good idea of what to study.

    Also: WORK. FAST.
     
  7. blue pill

    blue pill No, not that blue pill...
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    OP: I'm in the same boat, and I'm not used to cramming, since I normally study well ahead of time.

    I'm having trouble staying focused and motivated, even though I know 3 weeks flies by quickly.
     

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