The Pharmacy College Admission Test is the standardized exam that a student takes when she wants to enter a pharmacy college after receiving an undergraduate degree. The test has 240 multiple-choice questions and two writing subtests. To pass the PCAT, a student should complete science-related courses that cover the topics found on the test.
Instead of taking a general biology course for non-science majors, a student should take a year-long introductory biology course and the accompanying lab that’s designed for a natural science major. The information provided in such a course is more comprehensive and may even fulfill a major-related requirement. General biology courses study life on the molecular and cellular levels. They cover topics such as evolution, genetics, development and behavior. Students also learn about the kingdoms of life, taxonomy and ecology.
A pre-pharmacy student should complete a year of general chemistry and the accompanying lab. In this class, a student learns about chemical equations, as well as the periodic properties and atomic structures of elements. The class teaches about bonding, the different states of compounds and electrolytes. In the lab, a student will conduct experiments like determining the density of an egg or finding the different minerals in a vitamin tablet.
A student should follow up a general biology course with a year-long organic chemistry course and the accompanying lab. Organic chemistry classes offer a more in-depth look at chemistry topics like stereochemistry, bonding reactions and synthesis. A student learns about structure and reaction mechanisms, nomenclature and the functional groups that represent the principal classes of organic compounds. In the lab, a student learns how to use advanced instruments, determine the physical properties of an item and study experimental procedures and reactions.
A student taking the PCAT should complete two semesters of calculus classes. Depending on your undergraduate program, you may need to take an introductory calculus course designed for math and science majors. Just as geometry studies shapes and algebra studies numerical operations, calculus uses mathematical principles to study change. The topics covered in a class include logarithmic functions, derivatives, limits and integration techniques. Students gain a better understanding of motion, space and time, as well as the applications of calculus in the real world.
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