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Many students wishing to impress pharmacy schools with excellent PCAT scores may brush over the PCAT Reading Comprehension section during their review in order to focus the majority of their study time on the test's Chemistry, Biology, and Quantitative Ability sections. These students may imagine that since they have encountered reading comprehension sections on nearly every standardized test they have taken before, the PCAT will present them with no new challenges. This is a mistake. The Reading Comprehension section on the PCAT is an examination of reading skills that is far more rigorous than those commonly encountered on tests like the ACT and SAT.
While it includes standard questions concerning a passage's main idea and supporting details, the definition of words in context, and aspects of tone and purpose, the section also includes questions that move beyond the literal information presented in a passage and challenge test-takers to draw conclusions, make inferences, and analyze the strengths, rhetoric, and subtle biases of the argument at hand. Having perhaps prepared for pharmacy school by following a curriculum in which reading comprehension has played a relatively small part, you may find yourself feeling unprepared for the difficulty of this section as you begin to review for your exam.