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PA-CAT®  FAQs for Programs
 

General

1. What is the PA-CAT?

The PA-CAT is a standardized assessment of 240 multiple-choice questions, designed as a focused examination of the prerequisite subjects of many PA programs’ admission requirements. Test items were developed and reviewed by subject matter experts and PA educators.


2. When and where is the PA-CAT exam available?

Registration for the PA-CAT is open at pa-cat.com. The test is delivered electronically at over 5,000 Prometric testing centers across the North America, or via Prometric’s Live Remote Proctor.


3. What is the cost of the PA-CAT exam?

The cost of the PA-CAT exam is $228. This fee includes both the exam fee and the test center or remote proctor fee.

Program Implementation
 

4. How do we incorporate the PA-CAT exam into our admissions requirements?

Many PA programs have adopted outcomes reporting from the PA-CAT exam as part of their holistic admissions process. PA-CAT outcomes data is used to help identify those candidates who may be most academically pre­pared for PA school.

For the 2022-23 cycle, PA programs are generally choosing to “recommend” rather than “require” that their candidates take the PA-CAT exam. This approach allows for a transitional period for the program and for applicants.

The following are examples of how PA-CAT data is being used by admissions teams:

  • PA-CAT scores are weighted and then incorporated into admissions rubrics to contribute to an overall profile of a candidate’s suitability for admission.
  • Programs are using PA-CAT scores to identify candidates who may have weaker academic back­grounds but can demonstrate through the PA-CAT that they have the basic science foundation to succeed in PA school.
  • PA Programs retrospectively review PA-CAT data for newly admitted students to back test the reliability of their admissions process with a goal toward improving the accuracy of their selection process going forward.

For guidance, please email support@pa-cat.com and one of our PA-CAT implementation specialists will be in touch with you to schedule a time for a conversation.


5. When do we need to notify applicants of our use of the PA-CAT?

Announcing that your program requires or recommends the PA-CAT exam will depend on your program’s application timeline and admissions policies.

For guidance, please email support@pa-cat.com and one of our PA-CAT implementation specialists will be in touch with you to schedule a time for a conversation.

User Registration and Scheduling


6. When and how do applicants register?

To begin the registration process, they will submit their registration to take the PA-CAT exam at pa-cat.com. This creates their candidate portal and allows them to access study resources. When they are ready to schedule their exam, they log into their Candidate Portal to purchase an exam eligibility. They can schedule their test day and time with Prometric after they have received their eligibility number.


7. Where is the exam administered?

At any of the 5,000 Prometric testing centers across North America, and via Prometric’s Live Remote Proctor.

Test


8. What does the PA-CAT exam cover?

The PA-CAT is designed as a focused examination of the prerequisite subjects of many PA programs’ admission requirements. The subjects covered on the PA-CAT are Anatomy, Physiology, General Biology, Biochemistry, General and Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, Behavioral Sciences, Genetics, and Statistics. Test items were developed and reviewed by subject matter experts and PA educators, mapped to the cognitive domains of Bloom’s taxonomy for deeper candidate assessment: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.

For more detail on what is covered on the PA-CAT, visit the official PA-CAT website: pa-cat.com/about-the-pa-cat.

 
9. How long is the PA-CAT exam?

The PA-CAT consists of 240 multiple-choice questions. The allotted time for the exam is 4.5 hours, which includes exam time, tutorials, and post-exam survey. Special Accommodations are available for approved candidates.

 

10. How has the PA-CAT Exam been tested and validated?

To learn more about the research data, please go to pa-cat.com/research-abstracts.

Test Score

11. When will the scores for the PA-CAT exam be reported?

We run PA-CAT scores on the 20th of each month, and PA Programs and candidates will receive official scores via an online portal by the 1st of the following month. Your score portal will list all candidates that have selected your school as a score receiving school. You will also be able to view candidate score history up to 2 years if a candidate has taken the exam more than once. Candidates can take the exam 3 times over the course of 12 months with at least 6 weeks in between each attempt.

If your program does not yet have access to the PA-CAT Score Portal, please email support@pa-cat.com and one of our PA-CAT implementation specialists will be in touch with you to schedule a time for a conversation.
 

12. What are the passing standards? How are scores determined for the PA-CAT exam?

PA-CAT is not an exam with a passing score. PA programs using the PA-CAT as part of their admissions process will receive:

  • Candidate Scaled Score for the PA-CAT exam
  • Candidate Scaled score for each of the following areas:  
    • Anatomy & Physiology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
  • Candidate Percentile Ranking
  • Candidate Score History up to 2 years, if the candidate took the exam more than once
 
 
If you or your program have any additional question, please email support@pa-cat.com and our implementation specialist will be in touch.