Reasons to Use the PCOA

In addition to satisfying the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education’s (ACPE’s) requirement outlined in Standard 24: Assessment Elements, the PCOA offers the following benefits:

  • Provides data on individuals’ knowledge in four major content areas (as recognized by ACPE) and 28 subtopic areas;
  • Score reports;
    • Include a comparison to national samples,
    • Supply the schools and colleges with a tool to provide constructive feedback in relation to the examination outcomes, and
    • Allow the schools and colleges to track individual scores from year to year and document their growth over time.
  • Serves as a component of an evaluation plan, as suggested by ACPE guidelines, that:
    • Has formative and summative measures,
    • Provides for collective analyses of findings,
    • Evaluates trends over time, and
    • Includes standardized instruments and data.
  • Can provide documentation of improvement in individual performance after a curriculum has been modified or updated;
  • Imparts score data that can be used in research and correlational studies with existing assessments such as the National Pharmacy College Admission Test, academic proficiency, and future NAPLEX scores.

The PCOA program is continuously evolving using administrator feedback. See what enhancements are coming for the upcoming academic year, and what is planned for 2020 and beyond based on the most recent administrator survey results.

School/College Registration

The PCOA is administered five times each year. Each participating school selects a date (Monday through Friday) within a four-week assessment window to administer the PCOA and designates the site(s) where the assessment will be provided. Each testing window has a school registration deadline. Information on the schedule of events for PCOA administration, including session registration confirmation, ADA accommodation submission, and student registration deadlines can be found in this video.

2020 Windows

  • January 13, 2020 – February 15, 2020
    • School registration closes October 15, 2019
  • April 6, 2020 – May 16, 2020
    • School registration closes January 7, 2020
  • June 15, 2020 – June 27, 2020
    • School registration closes March 17, 2020
  • August 17, 2020 – September 12, 2020
    • School registration closes May 19, 2020
  • November 9, 2020 – December 12, 2020
    • School registration closes August 11, 2020

2021 Windows

  • January 11, 2021 – February 19, 2021
    • School registration closes October 12, 2020
  • March 29, 2021 – May 21, 2021
    • School registration closes January 4, 2021
  • June 14, 2021 – June 25, 2021
    • School registration closes March 15, 2021
  • August 16, 2021 – September 10, 2021
    • School registration closes May 24, 2021
  • November 8, 2021 – December 10, 2021
    • School registration closes August 16, 2021

To register, participating schools should:

  • Complete a PCOA Registration Form for each desired testing date within a testing window.
  • Send the completed registration form to by the school/college registration deadline of your preferred testing window.

Student Registration

After the assessment date is confirmed by NABP, the school/college should notify students to register online via the NABP website.

After students register, a roster for each administration will be available to the schools/colleges through NABP e-Profile Connect. Schools and colleges need to verify the eligibility of individuals to take the PCOA by the deadline.


The PCOA is provided at no cost for students nearing the completion of their didactic curriculum. Please note that individuals in this group qualify to take the assessment one time at no cost. If the school/college chooses to schedule an additional administration, the current fee of $75 per individual will apply. The assessment fee per individual in other curriculum years is $75.

If a student misses their assigned PCOA testing session, fees will apply for make-up sessions for all program years. These will include $75 for the test fee and $75 for the proctoring fee ($150 per student).

Missed deadline administrative fees may also apply at a rate of $25 per student. Refer to this video, for more information on administrative fees and how to schedule a makeup exam.

Testing Accommodations

NABP abides by all applicable federal and state regulations relating to the testing of eligible individuals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and amendments (ADAA). To ensure the security and integrity of the assessment, NABP will evaluate accommodation requests.

To submit a request, students fill out NABP’s Testing Accommodations Request Form and submit it to their school/college of pharmacy for completion. The school/college of pharmacy then submits the completed form to NABP for final review. Complete details are provided in the PCOA Registration and Administration Guide for Schools and Colleges of Pharmacy as well as in the PCOA for Students section, and in this video on determination of ADA accommodation requests.

Administering the PCOA

These administrator FAQs include answers to common questions about PCOA administration. A video about online and onsite proctoring is also available to administrators. It covers the role of the administrator and the role of technical support.

Score Reports

Scores for the PCOA will be made available to the schools and colleges within two weeks after the school’s testing session. NABP does not issue reports directly to the students.

NABP provides a thorough analysis of the data given to the schools and colleges to evaluate outcomes at the student and institutional level. NABP issues two types of reports to the colleges and schools:

  • The Individual Student Score Report details student outcomes and provides a comparison of individual performance with national results by program year.
  • The School of Pharmacy Score Report includes data on results of the overall performance by year at the institutional level, with comparisons to the national reference group.

Download the PCOA Sample Score Report or contact for more information.

Highlights for Schools

The 2015-2018 PCOA Administration Highlights include an examination summary, reliability and validity evidence, and a psychometric summary.