PCAT no longer a requirement for pre-pharmacy

KIRSTEN ADAIR | ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

Starting next year, pre-pharmacy majors trying to enter the pharmacy program at Butler will not be required to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test, commonly referred to as the PCAT.

“The faculty voted to drop the PCAT exam because we were not showing a correlation between (students) taking the PCAT and being able to practice pharmacy after graduating from Butler,” said Bruce Clayton, associate dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

According to Pearson Education’s website, the PCAT is a national test created for colleges of pharmacy to measure students’ academic and scientific knowledge. It consists of six sections and costs $199 per student. The goal is to check whether students have the skill level to enter pharmacy school. College pharmacy deans, faculty and administration frequently check the test to keep it relevant to current requirements.

AJ Mondero, a sophomore pharmacy major, said he is glad future pre-pharmacy students will not have to take the PCAT.

“I think it’s probably a good thing that they’re not requiring pharmacy majors to take the PCAT,” Mondero said. “The test seems unnecessary.”

Clayton said the PCAT was first adopted at Butler to help predict which students would be able to successfully complete the pharmacy program. The test results were used to screen pharmacy applicants when there was a large number of them.

Monica Blankenship, a first-year pharmacy student, said she thinks it is awesome the PCAT will not be required for her class.

“It tests you over something you haven’t learned yet, so that’s dumb,” she said.

Clayton said a study of the PCAT’s effectiveness showed that there was no indication the PCAT is an accurate measurement of which students will later become successful pharmacists. Instead of requiring pre-pharmacy students to pass the PCAT, the faculty decided to add a writing sample to the live interview already required in the screening process.

“We were not seeing anything in [the PCAT],” Clayton said. “Since the exam costs money, why are we doing it?”

Ryan Ghugan, a first-year pharmacy major, said he is very excited he does not have to take the PCAT.

“I love it,” Ghugan said. “A lot of people stress over it, and I feel like it’s a lot easier for us now.”

Communication has become a large concern for pharmacy majors, and Clayton said more emphasis will be placed on assessing candidates’ communication skills. That was why the department decided on replacing the PCAT with a writing supplement. Clayton hopes it will be a better indicator of which students are ready to enter the pharmacy program.

Mondero said he is disappointed his class will still need to take the PCAT, but he is glad the requirements were changed.

“I’m a little bitter they didn’t start with our year, but better late than never, I suppose.”

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