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PCAT and how to prep for it

Discussion in 'PCAT Discussions' started by AsianGuy26, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. AsianGuy26

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    Hey everyone,

    I am going to be taking the pCATs in August 23, 2008 and hopefully I will get in the 90s this time around since I will actually be doing practice test for once instead of just going in.

    Anyway I plan on using the mCAT reading section to prep for the test, and Kaplan with PCAT destroyer for the other portion of the test. Now I was wondering does anyone know of a good book that will coach me on the essay writing portion of the test?

    I think the essay writing portion of the test was among one of my weakess points and hope to do much better this next time around.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Also here are my views on the pCATs and observations-

    ****Bring a Watch!!! Also there are no calculators!!!

    Math/Qualitative Portions: I scored in the 79th percentile~ I was disappointed, thought we were going to get a calculator... shows everyone how much I know :scared: . The questions weren't exactly hard, its just you need to be able to do something and do it very fast, which means practice. If you don't know something, you fill in the bubble and skip. I froze up because I wasn't expecting no calculators... I know I'm better at math than this.

    Biology: Managed to finish completely (81th percentile)~ I think I do need to review some biology but I am confident that I will do well on this the next time around since I will have taken A&P along with Microbiology this summer which should boost my grade.

    Chemistry: My lowest score (69th percentile): decent but not great... definitely can do much better, just guess and move on if you don't know something. Thats my main weakness

    ***The other two sections I did fairly well on with (89 and 93rd percentile) rankings when I took the test. Reading comprehension and Verbal ability.

    My reflections were that the questions really weren't that difficult but you have to be able to manage your time and not get stuck on something. I would really suggest putting yourself under time trials and I will definitely take a practice test.

    I have approximately two months to review for this test... if anyone has any questions regarding this or have any views to share feel free...

    *******Also anyone in Albany, New York? If so shoot me a message and maybe we can study together even :eek:
     
    #1 AsianGuy26, Jun 17, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2008
  2. bigman

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    I also need help with the writing part of the test. Asked for help yesterday, but nobady replied.....
     
  3. AsianGuy26

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    lol, my writing sections were a 2 and a 3... not exactly stellar but hey haven't written anything for a long time... :p
     
  4. samfromVA

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    This is exactly what I was looking for. Someone with experience who is ready to share some words of wisdom. Thank you sir for ur enlightenment. And I am serious here.
     
  5. Farcus

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    huh

    well damn that is pretty good PCAT score already you got. I was wondering why you are taking it again and haven't been accepted until I saw your gpa :(. Good luck i'm taking it on august as well.
     
  6. samfromVA

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    I seriously don't understand how much GPA is good enough. I mean, 3.3 I thought was standard coz there are other things like LOR's, essays and there is PCAT.

    I do not think that one has to have a great GPA at least for Pharmacy school. For med schools yes, u need to have GPA over 3.5 and that is mandatory. I am speaking with experience here, no bias.

    If people are out there stressed over GPA, and u got something like 3.2 to 3.4. You have a good chance of getting in. Get a good PCAT score and get good LOR's with a good essay. You are set. Do not let, yourself down coz GPA is not competitive.

    Have determination and focus, the rest of em will fall in its place. Best of luck to all.
     
  7. Farcus

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    true but if you have a 3.2-3.4 you really need to shine on the PCAT. on the other hand if you had a med school competitive GPA around 3.7 you can get by with a lot lower PCAT score. But it does depend on the school. Why make one big bet(PCAT) rather than make a string of smaller bets(GPA)?
     
  8. samfromVA

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    Yeah, true true...but for people that have already managed to screw it up (Like me :(); people let us live with some hope...

    I have 3.3 GPA, LOR's from Orgo prof, Math prof and a research scientist already working in the univ i am applyin to, and there is this long story about me and my interest in Pharmacy. If i can pull off about 90 and above in PCAT, I bet my chances are like 90% and above in getting accepted. (Not forgetting the interview process which I am confident in)
     
  9. AsianGuy26

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    Unfortunately alot of schools don't take where you went into consideration. So your stuck with whatever GPA you get even if you went to a harder program. For me I knew I wanted to do pharmacy but wanted to get my BS in pharmaceutical sciences for research... unfortunately my school doesn't allow for many with high GPA since they focus on the fact that it is primarily a graduate college (Albany College of Pharmacy) and all classes are tailored to what a pharm.D may have to know. A pharm.D with a 2.0 is the same as a 4.0 in most job oppurtunities and therefore the teachers generally grade harder because they want the best pharm.D at the cost of non-pharm.D students which is not so great. Just to give you an idea of the problems at this college with their courses... they are under-probabtion at the moment by the pharmacy board for a host of problems but foremost reason is the huge attrition rate of 30% in each year from 0-6, of course they are bringing in transfers to replace all those that don't make.

    This problem has been acknowledge by the chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences department and for the need to differentiate the BS classes from the Pharm.D since there is a different emphasis. Unfortunately all the changes they have done won't effect my class... go figure :scared:

    Therefore it is that reason I am transferring or applying to other pharm.D programs because I won't stay in a school who doesn't take measures to correct their problems and a few personal one.
     
  10. Farcus

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    I feel for ya man. So you're saying you're in a 0-6 program? Damn those must be pretty vs traditional courses.
     
  11. AsianGuy26

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    Actually I'm not technically in the 0-6 program. I'm in their BSPS program, think of it as a new leaf but not really since I'm in the same classes that all the pharm.Ds pretty much are. In some cases I actually take harder classes such as Calc II (boy did that class stink) and Biostatistic.

    They do compensate us with a full tution scholarship though... I'm still debating if it was worth it in the end since my undergrad GPA is so low at the moment.

    My sister who goes to the same college as me is pissed to hell that I enticed her into this college because she went from a 3.87 at another college to a 2.78 first semester at ACP (actually trying) although she did better second semester as she adjusted to the college's rigourous course load.

    *eh I'm sure there are harder colleges out there... I think all of us learn the same things in colleges but some go into more depth and the assessement is harder I really believe at some unfortunate colleges like mine. A reasonable comparison of this that can be drawn would be the relative pCAT scores. Most people that have 70s pCAT scores all have 3.6 GPAs (this is from calling in to alot of pharmacy schools and asking their entering class GPA along with pCAT scores). Alot of people with 3.8-4 have 80-high 90s in pCATs... then there are some with PCAT scores of 60s-70s whom have near 4.0s. I guess its just the rigor of the course and the assessement that will show what you know.

    I know that GPA isn't everything but as you can see I am fairly pissed at my college so much so that I am foregoing their pharm.D transfer option.
    ***************

    Bottom line is to find a good college that will teach you things rightly and
    from there the world is yours
     
  12. AsianGuy26

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    But anyway that was waaaaaaaaaay off topic. :laugh:

    Just wondering anyone else have a perspective and tips on the pCATS?

    I'm taking my pCAT on August 23 fyi
     
  13. ffpickle

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    interesting thread. i am also taking the pcat then. thanks for the tips regarding skipping questions (this is a problem of mine as well). i find the math to be an absolute joke, conceptually, but the arithmetic is tough without a calculator. i would prefer harder problems but access to a calculator.

    i'm surprised that you don't have to maintain a minimum gpa to keep your scholarship.

    your pcat scores seem decent (even though chem is a bit low), and i would think you have a decent chance with a 3.3, especially since you are from a rigorous college. my thinking is that if all your chem courses were low, and the pcat chem also, schools might be hestitant to let you into the program.

    i guess i would recommend filling out a strong personal statement.

    good luck, let's keep in touch over the summer, as we prepare for Aug 23rd....we'll all get 90+ ;)
     
  14. AsianGuy26

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    True my grades are lower than I would have liked but I took it in Jan :mad: since I didn't finally decide to transfer until late december. So I didn't have all this time to prep...

    But hey thats my excuse lol :D I know I'll do better this time around, I just got to remember to skip problems because I do remember that I just stayed on one for far to long.

    **This time I will have a watch with me. :love:
     
  15. AsianGuy26

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    As for the grades... the GPA requirement is a 3.0 and generally the class average I think is around a 2.8 for the pharmD if not lower
     
  16. samfromVA

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    2.8 GPA damn that is low...
     
  17. Transformer

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    skipping problems has a lot to do with knowing your weaknesses and strengths.

    Do the problems you can do quickly first And skip the problems that look like "headache" to you.

    Keep telling yourself every single problem long or short is worth the same amount of points. So Why waste your time on a long one when you can skip it and knock out 5 shorter problems.

    You goal is not to be perfect and get every single problem right. Your goal is to try to perform better than the person next to you and everyone who is taking the PCAT on the same day.

    We all know that but somehow our "perfectionist" attitude take over out of habit


    btw, Bringing a timer is a terrific idea. I need a digit one. I tend to loose analog clock reading ability under pressure.


    P.s. Is ACP (Albany College of Pharmacy) that hard? Is the 0-6 program just for high school students? Is it a 3+3 or 2+4 program?
     
  18. AsianGuy26

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    ACP is probably going to turn it into a 2-4 program although it currently is a 0-6. You can transfer into any year of the pre-pharm. I recommend transfering into prepharm year 2~ if you need to... its much easier to get as oppose to P1.

    *lol, I am not use to not having enough time to finish any section. :scared:
    But thats a mentality I have to get out of.
     

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