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Just something I noticed

Discussion in 'PCAT Discussions' started by hreiss, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. hreiss

    hreiss New Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2003
    Richmond, VA
    I have been reading these for some time now. I see a large number of scores with Reading and Vocabulary scores below like 60. Is it because there are large numbers of English as a Second language people? Or is it because, they just have difficulty reading for comprehension or just don't read fast enough, or some combination? I ask this because it amazes me that someone can score 90+ percentile in Math and Science Sections and 40 percent in Reading. How do you get your knowledge in Math and Science if you can't read and comprehend well? Just wrote memorization or listening to lectures? What happens when you have to learn something new? Don't misunderstand I'm not meaning this as a knock or anything, just an observation. I only did ok on the PCAT from my perspective but I hadn't had science classes in 10 years. I managed to squeak into the only school I applied to.

    For those that were curious.

    I took it twice the second scores were better than the first.

    Verbal: 97
    Reading 98
    Math 82
    Biology 87
    Chem 76
    Composite 94
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  3. omnione

    omnione SDN Pharmoderator Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Math is a different and more universal language of its own, so its quite possible that some ELL (English Language Learners is the more politically correct term nowadays;)) understand math better then the English concepts.

    As for the science sections, mastering chemistry and biology doesn't require great grammatical and vocabulary skills as required by the PCAT writing and verbal section respectively as I have many friends who get A's in biochem, gen chem, organic chem, and other tough science courses. Yet, it would take me a while for me to correct all of their grammatical, vocabulary usage, and style errors in their writings. Considering that I'm not an English expert myself, that's saying something.

    Lastly, another topic on this board touched issue of the PCAT having the standardized exam trait of testing acquired knowledge you pick up indirectly during one's entire college life, and life in general. The English sections on the PCAT tests knowledge that you really can't study through a college course. Conversely, if you can do well in a decent pharmacy prereq, then that carries over to the PCAT despite its standardized nature.
  4. Bonbon2007

    Bonbon2007 2+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    :confused: IMHO, I just think that the Harcourt has failed to improve their exam and make it more balanced. A poor verbal score should pull the composite down. I wonder what kind of formula they use to do composite.:confused:
  5. Me+PharmD

    Me+PharmD 5+ Year Member

    Dec 1, 2006
    I guess the reverse can be said as well. If you're excellent at reading comprehension, then why are you only scoring in the 70's in the chemistry section? On both tests I made over 90% in the chemsitry section, and over 87% in the math section, but for some reason I continue to bomb reading comprehension and verbal ability. I'm not bashing you, but I haven't found that much reading comprehension is involved with topics such as, O Chem II, O Chem I, or the Gen Chems. The same applies to math: I don't remember necessarily having to comprehend the information by reading, the comprehension came through practicing the problems repeatedly. I guess I should apply my repeated practice regimen to reading. Then again, I don't see the relevancy to pharmacy by choosing the best title for a passage, or identifying what the author's attitude is towards a certain subject. The reading comprehension should be developed based upon science topics that are relevant to pharmacy students, instead of the current passages that exist.
  6. hreiss

    hreiss New Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2003
    Richmond, VA
    For me my scores were in the 70s and 80s on the science and math because I haven't had a math or science class in roughly 10 years. I don't use that material in my day to day work either but the vast majority of people seem to be right out of college. Those were the scores from my second test. I only got like 50 something and 60 something on math and chem the first time. Biology score was about the same. I improved the math by close to 30 points and chem score by about 10 points by "reading" and doing practice questions. I think that being able to determine the meaning of a written passage is more important to pharmacy than you think because it involves critical thinking and in a way problem solving not just wrote memorization. Sometimes it's just as important to grasp the real question as it is to spit out the text book answer. Which drug is better crestor or lipitor, why? Do you know the answer? It's not as simple as looking at some reduction data. There is more to the question.
  7. omnione

    omnione SDN Pharmoderator Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    I think the PCAT uses more non-science based passages because Harcourt doesn't want people with more science knowledge to have an advantage over those with less science knowledge. The whole purpose of the reading section is to see how well one can read and comprehend a random written passage more or less. If the passages were all science-based, then there's a possibility that a person doesn't do well on the reading section because he or she doesn't understand the science basis of the passage. It wouldn't mean that he or she doesn't have good reading comprehension skills as the person may be able to comprehend if he or she understood about the science in the passage.

    By using passages from many disciplines, the playing field for all test takers is leveled so that nobody has an advantage because of biases in knowledge. Remember, the PCAT already tests for science concepts through the Biology, Chemistry, and math sections. Once again, I believe the purpose of the reading section is to get a gauge of one's reading ability. The NAPLEX will tell you if you actually understand pharmacy to apply it in the workforce. The PCAT is simply an attempt to see if you have the raw skills for pharmacy school The reading section would be more inaccurate if one's science knowledge skewed the scores to make it look like that the person is a good reader.

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