The PCAT Is Going Away, Will NAPLEX Pass Rates Fall?

How do you get better at something? Practice. At least that’s what I tell my kids. The (Pharmacy College Admissions Test) PCAT has gone away in 2024 and I can’t help but think that this will be another nail in the coffin of future high NAPLEX pass rates. The PCAT was a good avenue for prospective pharmacy students to have an opportunity to perform well on a standardized exam. I can’t help but think that halting the use of this exam will remove an opportunity to identify successful exam participants early in the pre-pharmacy stage.

I don’t want to make this sound like being able to perform well on a multiple-choice exam is the end all be all in life, It isn’t, but that’s the way pharmacy school is set up. The final step in becoming a licensed pharmacist is being able to pass your NAPLEX exam. To do that, you must pass a competency exam. that involves figuring out the best answer in a (mostly) multiple-choice exam.

The retirement of the PCAT is reported to be due to current market forces and a steady decline in use by colleges of pharmacy. I ultimately think this will challenge schools even more than they already have been to adequately prepare their students to pass the NAPLEX. I’ve covered the reasons for declining NAPLEX pass rates in the past and I think a lot of those variables remain true. The PCAT going away may not impact the next couple of years NAPLEX pass rates but it certainly isn’t going to help NAPLEX pass rates going forward.

What do you think? Will the PCAT retirement affect future NAPLEX pass rates? Drop a comment below!

Eric Christianson, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP

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Written By Eric Christianson

June 23, 2024

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