Thursday, October 10, 2013

I bombed the Chemistry section of the PCAT - can I still get into pharmacy school?

I bombed my chemistry sections of the PCAT, only getting a 23. Should I even bother applying to pharmacy school with this score? My other scores were average. My last chemistry course I got an A, and am now enrolled in Organic Chemistry, and am on track to receive a B in the class. I have worked as a pharmacy tech for over 2 years now, would this help me in my application process?

You absolutely need to have good grades in the didactic courses to offset a significantly low subset score in what most AdComs consider the most predictive element of the exam. If you have A's and B's, that will help you chance, but will it be enough? I cannot promise you that it will. I think your best chance would be to ask one of the professors of record for Chemistry or Organic to write you a letter of recommendation. Inform them of your plans to apply to pharmacy school and that you scored very poorly on the PCAT Chem section. Ask them if they would feel comfortable writing that your coursework is more reflective of your aptitude than the PCAT score and maybe offer an example in the LOR of your chemistry knowledge or excellent lab skills.

If I see an otherwise strong applicant who has a very low PCAT Chem, I'd want to see what I described above. We take seriously the recommendations from professors and if one is willing to state that the student has the knowledge to be successful in pharmacy school, that will make a difference. The key is to make sure that the reviewer will actually write what you are requesting. If they tell you they cannot write such a letter, move on to the next person who might be able to. In some circumstances, we see LORs where a reviewer essentially states that the applicant doesn't have what it takes and then your grave is dug, so to speak.

Good luck.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What are my chances of getting into pharmacy school?

Verbal - 36
Biology - 80
Reading Comp - 38
Quant - 65
Chemistry - 85

Composite - 65 (terrible, only 1 month to study)

GPA 3.56 and I have tons of activities under my belt (I managed to fill up all 10 spots on the pharmcas application). I have excellent LORs from very good sources. I've been a pharmacy technician for 4 years.

What are my chances?

Your scores are far from terrible. You will need to address your low Verbal and Reading scores, but the other subsets are very competitive. With a BS and pharmacy experience in hand, you can make a strong case. As a reviewer, I would be paying close attention to your communication skills as a result of the low Verbal and Reading PCAT scores. If you do well in an interview setting, you can negate the concern.

Good luck.