How to Answer the Dreaded PCAT Score Interview Question


This dreaded question isn't so dreaded when you understand its context and know how to respond.

Pretend you’re at your dream pharmacy school, anxiously waiting to be called in and interviewed.

After about 10 minutes of waiting, a friendly person calls your name and directs you to the interview office. Meanwhile, your thoughts are racing and you’re feeling a mix of nervousness, excitement, and curiosity.

When you finally get to the office, you shake the interviewer’s hand, sit down, and begin.

Everything is going well, until the interview throws out a question that catches you by surprise.

“What was your PCAT score?” At that, you freeze.

There is a good possibility that this will happen to you. At this point, you can’t go back and change your PCAT score, but you can prepare for the dreaded interview question about it.

Other variants of this question include:

  • “Oh, I see you got X score on this section right here. Why is that?”
  • “You did pretty well over here, but you didn’t do so well on this subject. What happened?”
  • “How did your PCAT go?”

First, don’t panic. Think about the context of the question and the entire situation.

Don’t you think the school had access to your PCAT score long before you arrived? If the school wasn’t satisfied with your PCAT score, then why would you be invited there for an interview in the first place?

The fact that you’re sitting in front of the school’s interviewer serves as evidence that your PCAT score is more than acceptable for potential admission. Dismiss your anxiety that you aren’t good enough. This is a huge first step.

If my PCAT score is good, why am I being asked about it?

Great question. Basically, the interviewer is reassuring that you’re a good candidate, or trying to prove otherwise.

Just picture yourself as the interviewer.

A candidate walks in to be interviewed, and you already know that he scored more than well enough on each PCAT section for the school’s standards, except for the verbal section, where he scored the minimum. You know that this isn’t an issue, but you ask him about it anyway to see what he says.

Immediately, you notice a nervous response through his body language. He stutters and slurs, trying to find the words to form a sentence. He thinks he is being judged negatively, so he spits out a 10-minute story about why he scored so low on the verbal to defend himself.

You grow bored of his story, and you’re actually a little turned off by his nervousness. You start to think that maybe he won’t be a good candidate for the school.

Don’t be this guy. There are some key lessons we can take away from this story:

  • Don’t get nervous when you’re asked about your PCAT score. Remain calm and collected. Expect to be asked about it.
  • If the interviewer doesn’t bring it up, then you shouldn’t bring it up.
  • Not every school weighs the PCAT for admission criteria the same way. Have a vague understanding of how your school measures the PCAT in its criteria.
  • If the interviewer asks about your PCAT score, don’t make excuses or tell a story. A brief answer is all you need. “That was the most challenging section for me” or “I had a bad day” will suffice.
  • Remember that this question isn’t a big deal. Your PCAT score is already good enough for admission, which is why you made it to the interview phase.

In a nutshell, the dreaded question isn’t so dreaded when you understand its context and know how to respond. Good luck!

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