6 Best PCAT Prep Books (2020)
If you’re reading this, you probably have your sights set on working in the pharmaceutical industry, and your next step is to get into the pharmacy school of your choice. But to do so, you must take and pass the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).
This admissions exam was developed specifically for students who want to go into the pharmaceutical industry and are used by top pharmacy schools.
Since 1974, the PCAT has been a strong predictor of how well a student will perform in pharmacy colleges and has helped schools find qualified candidates through the test’s measures on academic abilities and scientific knowledge.
One of the best ways to prepare for the PCAT is to study preparation guides and take practice tests. Fortunately, there are stacks of books and prep materials filled with full-length practice tests, comprehensive answer guides, in-depth topic discussions, and useful tips, tricks, and strategies for acing the test.
The Best Books to Prepare for the PCAT
Table of Contents
- PCAT Prep Book Reviews
- Passing Your PCAT
PCAT Prep Book Reviews
Keep reading to discover some of the study guides on the market and which one we think is the best PCAT prep book.
1. Kaplan PCAT Prep Plus 2020-2021
Kaplan’s PCAT Prep Plus 2020-2021 includes everything a student needs to ace the test, including two practice tests, proven strategies, and access to online Kaplan test prep.
Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
Number of Pages: 888
Our Final Grade: A+
This test prep guide is the only official provider of PCAT Prep and is endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).
For over 80 years, Kaplan Test Prep has helped students grow their skills and confidence through prep books that deliver knowledge in an organized, clear, and focused way. The PCAT prep guide is a testament to Kaplan’s commitment.
It provides pharmacy students with specialized strategies and in-depth test information so that they are one step ahead and armed with all the tools they need to do their best on test day. Kaplan guarantees that if you study the book and use the online resources, you’ll score higher on the PCAT, or they will refund you the cost of the book.
Kaplan’s PCAT Prep Plus ensures that the practice tests and study materials are true to the real test so that there are no surprises on test day. With this prep guide, you’ll be able to take two full-length practice tests online and receive your score and percentiles.
You’ll also be given additional practice questions covering every subject, detailed answers and explanations, a comprehensive review of all the topics covered on the PCAT, and tips and strategies for test-taking.
- Official provider endorsed by the AACP
- Well organized and updated to match real test scenarios
- The most complete guide on the market
- Guaranteed success or your money back
- At $39, it is a bit more expensive than other books on the market
2. Test Prep Books PCAT Prep Book 2020-2021
This comprehensive study guide by the Test Prep Books experts offers students test-taking strategies, a study prep plan, practice test questions, and detailed answer explanations.
Publisher: Test Prep Books
Number of Pages: 391
Our Final Grade: A
This exam prep guide may only have 391 pages, but don’t let this slim volume fool you. Test Prep Books’ updated PCAT study guide includes all the resources that thicker guides offer, and at a reasonable price. The simplified structure of the book and organized information allows learners to quickly, but comprehensively move through the prep book and engage with the content in a way that results in a high retention rate.
Inside, you’ll find a deep dive into all the content found on the test, practice test questions and detailed answer explanations, test-taking strategies, and access to customer service should you have questions/suggestions.
As a bonus, you’ll find a study prep plan at the beginning of the book to help you create a step-by-step plan that provides guidance and focus throughout your test prep journey. Additionally, the study guide offers industry knowledge like common prescription names, how to use a prescription, and how much of a dose to prescribe.
- More manageable than thicker prep books
- Formatted in a manner conducive to engagement and retention of topics
- Provides a study prep plan for ultimate focus
- Includes additional information relevant to the pharmaceutical industry
- Does not include full-length practice tests
- A condensed structure may not be ideal for some learners
3. Mometrix PCAT Prep Book 2020-2021
Mometrix PCAT Prep Book 2020-2021 is chock full of test prep secrets, a full-length practice test, and step-by-step review video tutorials for visual learners and students who want to grasp concepts quickly.
Publisher: Mometrix Media LLC
Number of Pages: 555
Our Final Grade: A
Although not affiliated with or endorsed by any official testing organization, the Mometrix PCAT Prep Book is still a great guide filled with all the critical information a student will need to pass the exam.
Broken into sections for clarity and logical flow, test takers will be guided through each subject, including writing, biological processes, chemical processes, critical reading, quantitative reasoning, and more.
This prep book provides most of the information and resources other prep books offer, like complete reviews, test-taking tips and strategies, and practice test questions with detailed answers and explanations.
The book stands out from others in that it includes step-by-step video tutorials where you can watch instructors break down the material and work out examples in a visual way. This bonus is perfect for visual learners and those who want extra clarification on difficult concepts.
- Includes video tutorials with step-by-step instructions
- Updated with a complete review of all PCAT test sections
- Moderately priced
- Offers free study skills DVD with proof of purchase
- Does not provide full-length practice tests
- Is not affiliated with any official testing organization
4. Barron’s Pharmacy College Admissions Test Prep
Prepare for the PCAT with Barron’s guide, which includes reviews of all test topics, two full-length practice tests, a comprehensive answer guide, and additional resources and advice for the test taker.
Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series
Number of Pages: 360
Our Final Grade: B-
Barron’s PCAT prep book is perfect for those who want to focus on practice questions. Because this guide was published in 2017, some of the information is outdated, but readers will still find a treasure trove of useful resources at an affordable price.
Learn how to plan for a career in pharmacy, gain strategies to increase your PCAT score, review test topics, and dive into a plethora of practice questions and two full-length practice tests.
This is a particularly excellent study guide for anyone who wants to concentrate on math and chemistry, delve into practice test questions, and work on essay topic responses. Students have found this to book to be an excellent companion to the Kaplan PCAT Prep Plus Book.
- Tons of practice questions
- Two full-length practice tests
- Comprehensive math and chemistry sections
- A useful amount of information for the price of the book
- Some outdated information
- Practice questions may be easier than those listed on the real test
- Biology section may not be in-depth enough for those who need extra help on the subject
5. PCAT Flashcard Book and Online Test Prep
REA’s PCAT Flashcard and Test Prep book is perfect for on-the-go learning and includes study questions and answers that cover all test topics. Additionally, the book contains links to four online quizzes to help students better prepare for the test.
Publisher: Research and Education Association
Number of Pages: 480
Our Final Grade: C
Research & Education Association’s third edition test prep book is a bit older than other guides on the market, but it has its share of useful information and practice questions. It is most suited for on-the-go learning, quick refreshers, and online study.
Study the 350 practice questions included and review the detailed answers for further preparation. After studying the book, head to the REA website where you’ll be given access to four quizzes with diagnostic feedback that shows you your strengths and weaknesses and which areas you may want to study further.
With this book, you can also create digital flashcards and access them from any computer or smartphone. The flashcards are a great way to study on-the-go or when you need a quick refresher on a particular topic.
- Flashcards make it easy to study wherever you are
- Gain access to online quizzes and feedback
- Great as a diagnostic tool
- Some provided answers are not correct
- Contains grammatical errors
- Not suitable for in-depth study
6. Crack the PCAT 2020-2021 Premium Prep Pack
Not a book, but a computer program that simulates the exam and gives you access to over 2400 questions and video explanations, a comprehensive analysis report that will predict your PCAT score, and much more.
Oops! Looks Like This Book Is Currently Sold Out.
Publisher: Crack Exam Preparation Software
Number of Pages: NA
Our Final Grade: A+
If you want to go above and beyond typical test prep and budget isn’t a concern, you may want to invest in this premium prep software pack. This program enables you to rehearse the PCAT from the comfort of your home computer, as it mimics the same look and feel of the actual test.
The program includes 10 full-length practice exams consisting of over 2000 questions and 70 subject tests, over 100 hours of video explanations for all subjects, and 25 bonus writing section simulators. With the software, you’ll also be able to estimate your PCAT score and compare your performance to other students.
After purchase, you’re given unlimited access to your online PCAT prep course for six months and can access the materials from all of your devices (phone, computer, tablet). This is an excellent option for anyone who wants real-time, hands-on exam experience.
- Thousands of practice questions and unlimited test-taking
- Video explanations from expert PCAT tutors
- Six months of unlimited access
- Simulates the real test
- The priciest option at $299
- Does not have a book format
What is the PCAT?
The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is used by colleges of pharmacy for admission purposes. The test is regularly reviewed by school of pharmacy deans, faculty, and administrators to ensure that exam questions reflect current pharmacy curriculum requirements.
The PCAT consists of around 200 multiple-choice questions and one writing topic that must be answered in essay form. Applicants are given approximately 3 hours to complete the test.
What are the minimum PCAT scores?
Minimum PCAT scores considered for admission into a school of pharmacy vary by institution. For more information, you can review the directory pages for specific institutions on the Pharmacy College Application Service website.
How does PCAT scoring work?
The PCAT is scored on a scale from 200-600. A good PCAT score is typically around 430. As stated above, each institution’s admission requirement varies, and most schools require that an applicant score above a particular level.
A score report includes scores for Verbal Ability, Biology, Chemistry, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Ability. From this, you’re given a raw score, which is converted to a number ranging from 200-600. This number is called the scaled score. A composite score is calculated by taking the average of your scaled score (200-600) on each multiple-choice section.
Your writing sample is graded and averaged on a scale of 1-6 by two different graders. From these scores, you’ll be given the composite percentile rank, which is the number students use when discussing PCAT scores.
Do all schools require the PCAT?
Not all schools require the PCAT for admission, but according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, more than 85 percent of all programs require applicants to submit PCAT scores.
Passing Your PCAT
We have done our best to cull through the PCAT prep books available and give you a variety of options. What makes a test prep book great for one person may not make it the best option for you.
You can determine whether a book is right for you by considering your budget, knowledge level, your study needs, how much time you have to study, what topics you need to focus on more, your learning style, etc.
Most PCAT prep books contain a lot of information, which can be overwhelming to some, while others prefer the kind of in-depth material the Kaplan PCAT Prep Plus provides. If you’re strapped for time, on a budget, or are already confident in your knowledge of the test material, you may want to choose a thinner workbook that’s easier to digest and absorb.
Alternatively, if you need the extra study material, thicker books like those from Kaplan and Mometrix are worth investing time and money.
In general, PCAT prep books are a great resource and give you a sneak peek into the PCAT exam. You’ll be exposed to a plethora of information regarding the structure of the test and best practices for acing it, as well as answer explanations, in-depth topic discussions, and practice tests.
Having these test-taking tips, tools, and strategies will give you the boost you need to succeed on the exam.
After studying a PCAT prep book, you’ll be able to walk into the exam room with confidence, knowing that you’ve already explored all the information. Pick a book, start your prep journey, and get ready to enroll in the pharmacy school of your dreams!