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Objective. To assess students’ pre-pharmacy math experiences, confidence in math ability, and relationship between experiences, confidence, and grades in math-based pharmacy courses.

Methods. A cross-sectional survey of first year to third year pharmacy students was conducted. Students reported type of pre-pharmacy math courses taken, when they were taken [high school (HS) vs. college] and year of HS and college graduation. Students rated their confidence in math ability using the previously validated 11-item Fogerty Math Confidence Scale (Cronbach alpha=0.92). Math grade point average (GPA), Pharmacy College Admission Test quantitative (PCAT quant) scores, and grades (calculations and kinetics) were obtained from transcripts and school records. Spearman correlation and multivariate linear regression were used to compare math experiences, confidence, and grades.

Results. There were 198 students who reported taking math courses 7.1 years since HS graduation and 2.9 years since their last schooling prior to pharmacy school. Students who took math courses with more time since HS/last schooling had lower calculations and kinetics grades. Students reporting having taken more HS math courses had better calculations grades. Students with higher math GPA, and PCAT quant scores also had higher calculations and kinetics grades. Greater confidence in math ability was associated with higher calculations grades. In multivariate regressions, PCAT quant scores and years since HS independently predicted calculations grades, and PCAT quant scores independently predicted kinetics grades.

Conclusion. The number of pre-pharmacy math courses and time elapsed since they were taken are important factors to consider when predicting a pharmacy student’s success in math-based pharmacy school courses.



This article was originally published in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, Vol. 82, Iss. 4 (2018). It can also be viewed on the journal's website: