This post is part of a series on PCAT Study Materials. The series examines my journey and the various things I learned along the way. Click here to see all my posts about the PCAT.
This is the only PCAT study guide list and comprehensive REVIEW of PCAT study guides. So you should save this post for later (bookmark this bad boy).
Basic assumptions (that need to be said before you make any purchases):
- The following materials cover all PCAT subject matter (Biology, Chemistry, etc.) unless otherwise specified.
- If practice tests are provided in the study material, it’s assumed that explanations are given within the study guide.
- This guide will not judge the content of each study material. In other words, I do not compare the quality of the study material between each guide. For example, I won’t say that Kaplan’s biology review is better than Benchprep; UNLESS I have compelling evidence.
PCAT Preparation Software : 3.5 Stars
This is the only product that provides the right amount of practice questions and study materials. The updated resources provides an evaluation of your performance. This evaluation assesses your weaknesses and strengths AND (my favorite part) an estimate composite score.
The high price point is what really lowers this product’s score. Crack the PCAT used to be $99 a few years ago. The value of this product hasn’t increased so much that the price needed to double.
- 10 Complete PCAT Tests
- 2400 Questions with Solutions
40+ hours of video explanations
- unlimited use + free updates
- PCAT sore estimates + diagnostics
- 100% money-back guarantee
Amazon : 4.7 Stars out of 47 Reviews
5 Stars : “This product is very useful for the PCATs and anyone that is looking to improve their scores, this would definitely be the best approach. ” – By Sam
5 stars: “What I liked most about the program was that I gives an analysis of what areas I’m weak in, so that I can focus more in that subject area. ” – By HT
Master the PCAT Essay – 5 Stars
There is no step by step guide for how to master the PCAT essay, until now. I feared the PCAT essay above all other subtests on the PCAT because my writing skills sucked. That’s why 6 years later I created the guide Master The PCAT Essay.
I’m a little biased to say this is worth 5 Stars, but I rated this high because I truly believe this book will help you.
This guide will help you rock the PCAT essay even if your English is awful.
PCAT Prep by McGraw Hill – 4 Stars
This all in one resource provides maximum content for the price. The amount of content and access to an “army of experts” (AKA tutors) is well balanced for the asking price of $50 per month. The only slight drawback is the recurring fee of $50 and perhaps not as much content as compared to the other resources.
This online program offers test diagnostics, tutor access, a game center (is it possible to make studying the PCAT fun? apparently these guys think so), and more features that other programs lack. They also include questions that are not on the PCAT; luckily, they will tell you if you will be officially tested on this material. Oh, and you can view it all on any mainstream mobile device.
- $50 per month
- 834 Practice Questions
- 2 Tests + 7 Quizzes
- 372 Lessons
- 1103 Flashcards
- Access to Tutors
- Score Diagnostics
- “Game Center”
Kaplan PCAT 2016-2017 – 4 Stars
This updated book is a solid start to begin your studies.
Anything made by Kaplan is endorsed the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). That may not mean anything to you, but AACP is responsible for creating the academic standards of who should be admitted into pharmacy schools. So if the organization that determines whether you qualify or not endorses a resource, you should probably listen.
However, this guide sorely lacks practice questions.
- 972 pages
- Comprehensive review of all subjects
- 2 Practice “exams” with explanations
Amazon = $35
5 Stars : “Math section could used a little oomph, but if you’re good with math this is the PERFECT study book.” – By James
3 Stars: “Kaplan’s review book is a solid start to review for the PCAT, but personally I don’t think it’s enough.” – By Aman
5 Stars : “I bought this to study for the PCAT and am very happy with the information it has.” -By Shiro
Kaplan PCAT Advantage – Anywhere – 4 Stars
Again, this AACP endorsed class is the crème de la crème of PCAT preparation. Think of this like an online course. The class meets twice a week for five weeks. If you choose to use this course, you can guarantee that you will improve your PCAT course. This is likely the most extensive PCAT resource, thus explaining the high price. However, the higher score guarantee is reassuring.
- $1199 or 3 installments of $399
- Online course
- 5 weeks
- Meets twice a week
- 130 hours of video instruction
- 2,500+ Questions + Answers
- 3 Full length PCAT exams with diagnostic report
- Kaplan Higher Score Guarantee
Kaplan PCAT Advantage – On Demand – 4 Stars
This course provides everything from the Anywhere course, but you can view it in your own time. This is for the highly disciplined, those who will be able to finish it weeks before the test comes. .
- $999 or 3 installments of $333
- Online program
- 130 hours of video instruction
- 2,500 + Questions
- 3 Full length PCAT exams with diagnostic report
- Kaplan Higher Score Guarantee
Kaplan PCAT Organic Edge – 3 Stars
This is ONLY an Organic review. You can imagine that this is likely the best review in existence. If you feel that your weakness is organic chemistry or you haven’t taken organic chem before the PCAT, then this can surely make you an organic pro, but that comes at a high price.
- $499 or 3 installments of $166
- ONLY Access for 3 months (boo)
- No guarantee mentioned
- “Hundreds of practice questions”
Cracking the PCAT by Princeton Review – 4 Stars
For the amazing low price of $20 (okay, did that sound like an infomercial?) you get over 800 pages of high quality content and 2 practice tests. This is another great book option for starters.
- 2 practice tests with explanations
- 800 pages
Amazon Reviews: 4.2 Stars out of 22 Reviews
5 Stars : This was by far my go-to book for studying for the PCAT. – By schmmems
4 stars: It’s definitely paid off. I scored a composite 99% today and am extremely happy with how this book has prepped me. -By Carol
5 Star Rating : Awesome price for an great amount of value. -By Anonymous
Master the PCAT by Peterson’s – 4 Stars
Master the PCAT is another great review book that provides excellent value for the price. However, it is unclear how many practice questions are included.
- 1 Practice Test
- “Numerous Practice Questions”
- 752 pages
- Last updated in April 2012
Amazon Reviews: 4.4 Stars out of 16 reviews
5 stars: “It was more detailed than the Kaplan’s review book.” – By Maria
4 stars : “There are a few errors, but overall, a very good review book that I would recommend.” -By J. Czapnik
4 Stars : “Great for Biology. For math and chemistry I felt very overwhelmed still. I did fabulous on Biology, little above average on math and chem.” – By Anonymous
Flashcards are for the busy student who has to insert study time whenever she can. These are great for working at laidback job, in a waiting room, or traveling. Great value for a great price, especially the online version ($5).
- 350 questions and answers
- $17 – physical cards
- $5 – Online version http://store.rea.com/0738683450.html
Amazon Rating : 4.5 Stars out of 6 reviews
5 Stars : “It is handy and lots of information. I would definitely recommend it to others. I am glad I found this book.” – By Nell Crawley
3 Stars: “I really liked this book at first. It was great for studying on the go. It was great because you didn’t have to carry a large book around and you could quiz yourself. However, I noticed that some questions had the incorrect answers.” – By Marissa Sanow
The PCAT Prep Class By Dr. Collins – 4 Stars
I highly recommend Dr. Collins materials. In fact, we have a page dedicated to student reviews just for Dr. Collins. The reason why the rating isn’t a 5 star is due to the higher end price. Compared to the Study books, (ranging from $20-$50?) it’s price is significantly higher. But, you can guarantee if you purchase this course, you will score higher on the PCAT.
- $695 = location-based class
- $370 = self study book
- Average Composite Score :
As of 2014, these are the listed course sites
Barron’s PCAT, 6th Edition – 3 Stars
Barron’s PCAT study guide is written by University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy Dean Marie Chrisholm-Burns. This guide is an in-depth review of all subjects and two practice exams. In comparison to the other study materials, if you pay a little more ($5-$20), you can receive double the content.
- $19 (Amazon : $15)
- 400 pages
Amazon : 2.7 out of 5 stars (please note these reviews are from the 5th edition)
1 star: “I don’t recommend using this study guide for the PCAT. “ by Rachel
4 stars: “I found this book helpful in preparing for the PCAT. It has several practice questions and exams. I expected it to provided a summary of the major concepts covered in the PCAT, but it does not. The book is mostly just questions with answers. If you are not familiar with a certain subject matter on the PCAT, you will need a textbook covering that material in addition to this book.” by Anna
PCAT Flashcard Study System – 3 stars
This is a great tool for inserting quick study moments throughout the day. If you are too busy to open up a large clunky book and start studying, then the flash card system is for you.
Amazon Rating : 3.7 Stars
1 Star : “You will do yourself a favor if you will stay away from these “flashcards”. First of all, there is no table of content. So unless you will make your own, you cannot come back to the card. Cards themselves are huge and it’s more like condense textbook then “flashcards system”.” – By James M
5 Stars :” I’m not necessarily a [note] learner. For this I’m thankful, I’ve spent years teaching at a university level in China and I’ve seen the disadvantages of learning simply by repetition. That said the PCAT test requires a quick memory and answers to questions that only have one possible response. This guide is well spaced out but offers in depth explanations and more importantly, spaced repetition. This is all the guide you will need when preparing for the PCAT and its format, as study after study have shown, if used often guarantees success.” – By Brendan Byrne
PCAT Secrets Study Guide – 3 Stars
This is for the person who needs help with the “how” of study. If you aren’t sure how to approach the PCAT study tasks, then this is for you. IT IS NOT A STUDY GUIDE. there is no extensive subject review.
- 344 pages
Amazon rating: 3.2
5 Stars : “I purchased PCAT Secrets with some skepticism; not really convinced it could help, but figuring it certainly couldn’t hurt. While preparing for the PCAT, I conscientiously applied the suggested techniques to several “practice run” tests. When my actual test day finally arrived, I approached the PCAT with increased confidence and reduced anxiety. Bottom line: my composite PCAT score was in the 99th percentile.” – By V Sambasiva Rao
1 Stars : “I thought this was going to contain something special for me that others didn’t, however it did not. It came in large font, and I breezed through the entire book in less than 90 minutes (I’m a slow reader). A lot of the information was provided was common sense, unhelpful, and above all regurgitated throughout, which was pretty sad considering how short it was. Definitely not worth the asking price. Much better off getting the Kaplan or Barron’s study guides…..include all the same tips, and a lot more content, for a lot less money.” – By govalet
4 stars: “I didn’t seem to mind using this PCAT study guide. It is done is a clear, easy-to-read large font type and is done in a way that it is pretty easy to understand. I have tried other study guides, but this one is a little easier to use.” – By Kimberly K. Fisher
CliffsTestPrep PCAT: 5 Practice Tests – 2 Stars
This book was last updated in 2006. A lot has changed since 2006, so this book is probably not the best choice for your PCAT study materials. However, $20 is worth this investment for 5 practice tests (+answers/explanations). Another problem is the Cliffs Test Prep’s major problem is that this book alone is not enough to prepare you for the PCAT. This book is great for you after you finished the majority of your study time.
- 308 pages
- 5 Full-Length Practice Tests
- Last updated in 2006
Amazon Rating : 2.5 stars out of 22 Reviews
3 stars “This book provides a comprehensive review of everything you need to know on the PCAT but cannot be used alone.” – By Janelle
4 stars: “Great general review for the PCAT experience. Just plug through all five exams and use them as a means to identify weak areas. NOT a review or reference book.” – By W. Chappell
Test King – 2 Stars
This guide appears to be a basic review for the PCAT. However, this program is only available on their website. This normally wouldn’t be a bad thing, however, it is difficult to measure it’s worth without reviews/testimonials.
- 354 Questions and Answers
- Biology : 72
- Chemistry : 72
- Quantitative : 67
- Reading Comprehension : 72
- Verbal Ability : 71
McGraw-Hill’s PCAT – 1 Star
This is an out-dated review of the PCAT. McGraw-Hill is a highly respective academic publisher, but it is puzzling why they haven’t updated this book in over 5 years. Do not buy this book to study the PCAT. If you someone come across a copy for free, it wouldn’t be worth your time. Buy a updated version from another business.
- 608 pages
- $20 on Amazon
- Amazon : 3.7 Stars
2017 PCAT AudioLearn – 1 Star
The high price in comparison to the amount of content delivered is TOO HIGH. For A third of the price, you can buy a book and receive easily 20 times the value.
- 3 Hours
- Amazon Rating: 2.4 stars out of 5 reviews
5 stars : “I bought these CDs new and listened to them about 3 times before the PCAT – very helpful. These tapes definitely gave me an advantage on the PCAT (I received a 96 in chemistry and 90 in biology), and helped me get into pharmacy school.” – By Vel Codoso
2 stars : “So, the narrator is pleasant enough and easy to understand and the information provided is accurate. Also, pay no attention to the picture provided, you only get 4 CD’s, not five. When I received my set, the box had the same image but it is only 4 CD’s. No stars off for this…I assume older additions with older technology required 5 CD’s and now they can squeeze it into 4, they just didn’t bother updating the cover.
That being said, the price vs. the content is OUTRAGEOUS. There are several listings of this CD set on Amazon and one of them has numerous glowing reviews and I am mystified. The content is very, very shallow and the General Chemistry is basically non-existent. Audible offers this for dirt cheap compared to the CD set, so if you must then buy it that way…but let it be known, if you spend more than 15 – 20 $$ you are overpaying. That’s still probably overpaying, because I don’t recommend this AT ALL but some people will buy this anyway so consider yourself warned.” -By Miss B
PCAT Professor – 1 Star
I’m not sure I should even include this as an option…
There’s no info or reviews about this product online. I think it’s a dude. Comment below if you disagree!
- 90 Day Access $59.90
- 180 Day Access $64.90
- Full Year Access $69.90
- Limited Access period
- Awful website put together from 1999
- Low rating just from looking at the site…
I can’t judge this option well. I’ve only heard rumors of students speaking well of Orgoman. I haven’t used this material myself, but I would consider Orgoman a trust-worthy business.
- No money back guarantee
- PCAT Destroyer 149.95
- PCAT ultimate destroyer 249.95
You can use the free trial for a week. If you like it, keep using it. It’s unclear how well it prepares you for the PCAT.