Student Intern, Pharmacy Student, Pharmacy Technician
It honestly depends on the person. There are some people who can cram the material in weeks, while others like me, take months to be fully prepared. I took the July 2016 PCAT and basically what I did was make a schedule on what I wanted to achieve.
First, I studied/reviewed all the sections from multiple sources (Dr. Collins, Kaplan, Princeton Review, Barrons). I highly recommend Dr Collins and Kaplan. Kaplan is good for biological and chemistry sections because their review is more in depth. Dr Collins math section is similar to the PCAT in terms of the problems they ask, but you have time left over. In the actual PCAT exam, you wont because it is slightly more time consuming.
I kind of broke it down like one section of biological sciences on day 1, one section of reading comprehension on day 2. I never studied 10+ sections of biological sciences in one week and the second week was all of chemistry. You should try mixing it up a little bit. The reason why I chose multiple sources is because one source may be good at reviewing biology, while others are not. Plus, they have practice questions at the end of each section, so the more practice questions you work on, the better you get.
Also each section comes with different approaches. I was weakest in writing and in reading comprehension so I spent more time on those. With the writing section, the first essay I practiced, I did not time myself. I wanted to see if how well I brainstormed and the process I took to write an essay. Later on I started to time myself and I noticed I got better at collecting my thoughts and I was able to write a good essay in a short amount of time. Dr Collins has many writing prompts to practice on.
It took about a month for me to review biology , chemistry, and math. With reading and writing, I just kept practicing.
Month 2 I took practice exams that were created by Dr Collins and Kaplan. When it came one month before my actual PCAT exam, I bought all the Pearson Practice tests and the review. These are extremely helpful and I would highly recommend buying them. If money is an issue, buy the latest exam. I took one exam each week and reviewed my exam the day before. If there was a section I was weak in, I reviewed the material.
Days before my exam, I reviewed my commonly missed sections like hormones, trends, etc. I made a review sheet of them while reviewing my practice exams.
So basically go to your library, check out Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Barrons review book. Sign up to take their practice tests online, and Kaplan Live Practive Exam. Buy Dr Collins and Pearson Practice exams. Most importantly, make a schedule. I took 8-10 hours of my day studying every day. I did work a couple of hours so I had to work around that. Also take a break (once a week) to rest.
This is what I did and it worked for me. It may or may not work for you or others. Just plan ahead and stay motivated and you'll be just fine. Good Luck!
This professional recommends the following next steps:
- So basically go to your library, check out Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Barrons review book. Sign up to take their practice tests online, and Kaplan Live Practive Exam.
- Review all sections and take practice questions at the end of each section
- start practicing on writing section. Do at least one prompt each week.
- after reviewing, take practice exams from Kaplan, Princeton, Dr collins, etc
- One month before, take Pearson Practice exams and review sections if needed