PhaST – Pharmacy-Study Aptitude Test

Subject-specific aptitude test for pharmaceutical studies

Since 2020, we offer with the PhaST (Pharmacy-Study Aptitude Test) a standardised subject-specific scholastic aptitude test for the second study programme with nationwide admission restrictions in Germany. The PhaST is developed by the Universities of Tübingen, Freiburg and Heidelberg in cooperation with the ITB on behalf of and with the support of the Ministry of Science and Culture of the State of Baden-Württemberg and can be used by all German pharmaceutical faculties. Currently, the PhaST is used by the following faculties:

The PhaST is computer-based and covers both skills and knowledge that are particularly important for studying pharmaceutical studies successfully.

Implementation in the ITB-Full-Service-Model

The organisation and implementation is completely taken over by ITB and is integrated into our full-service model. The model includes among other things:

  • Organisation and planning of the test centres
  • Administration of registrations, including sending invitations to test participants
  • Provision of a participant support service
  • Provision of information material for participants, including sample tasks for preparation
  • Development, preparation and dispatch of the necessary test materials to test centres
  • Training of test administrators and supervisors (standardised)
  • Evaluation of the tests according to high aptitude diagnostic standards and provision of the test results for the participants

Of course, we ensure a very high degree of standardisation and compliance with legal requirements (e.g. data protection, regulations under higher education law) throughout the entire process.

Are you interested in our service for participants? Please feel free to have a look at our pages for participants on this website.

Germany-wide implementation as online-test

The PhaST is conducted as an online-test in selected test centres. Therefore, we can make use of the already existing network of test centres for ITB scholastic aptitude tests in the full-service model. In addition, PhaST is carried out at new test centres at universities using the PhaST or, if required, at new test centres near university sites. Each year, we offer several test dates, which are based on the application deadlines of the universities or the deadlines for submission to “Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung”.

Participants pay a fee of currently 75 euros for participation in PhaST. They can take the test once per calendar year. The use of PhaST is free of charge for universities. 

Innovative Exercises with high validity

The PhaST consists of a unique combination of knowledge modules (biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics) and subject-specific ability modules that measure various facets of reasoning, text comprehension, spatial awareness, memory and concentration skills. The test concept was developed on the basis of a requirements analysis of the pharmaceutical faculties in Heidelberg, Freiburg and Tübingen. The competencies covered by the PhaST are important for successful studies in Pharmacy.

In addition to classic, proven groups of exercises such as “Interpreting scientific figures and tables” or “Text comprehension”, as they also appear in the Test for Medical Studies (TMS), new formats of exercises with a high level of relation to pharmacy have been included in the test concept. In a study at and with the University of Tübingen, we were able to prove the suitability of these formats. The new items are completely new formats as well as new interpretations of classical formats such as spatial thinking (see example item) or memory and concentration Tests. The initial validity findings indicate a high predictive power for success in the first year of study, which, at r=56 (uncorrected), is above the predictive power of the Abitur grades and above the predictive power of most known aptitude tests. Read the short report on the validity study here (only available in German). 

Example item of „Spatial Thinking”

Which combination of rotations (A) to (E) transfers the first image into the second image?

Structure of the PhaST

The test has a total duration of about four hours and consists of these eleven groups of exercises (German only):

  • Arbeitspräzision und Konzentration
  • Verständnis und Anwendung komplexer Regeln
  • Verknüpfen komplexer Daten
  • Textverständnis
  • Räumliches Denken
  • Qualitative Stoffanalyse
  • Interpretieren naturwissenschaftlicher Abbildungen und Tabellen
  • Analyse quantitativer Zusammenhänge
  • Schulkenntnisse Mathematik und Physik
  • Schulkenntnisse Biologie
  • Schulkenntnisse Chemie

The information brochure for participants to prepare for the test with more detailed information on PhaST can be found here (German only).

The PhaST was developed in close cooperation with the universities of Tübingen, Freiburg and Heidelberg.

PhaST as a subject-specific study aptitude test as defined by law

As a consequence of the Federal Constitutional Court ruling of 19 December 2017 on admission to medical studies, the university legislation was revised: Admission to studies may not be based solely on the HZB grade, but at least one further criterion independent of grades must be included. This regulation has been extended from human, dental and veterinary medicine to the second study programme with nationwide admission restrictions – Pharmacy.

The PhaST as a subject-specific scholastic aptitude test is one such a grade-independent criterion.

The advantages of subject-specific aptitude tests compared to other grade-independent criteria such as oral selection procedures are primarily their high level of validity, a high degree of standardisation and objectivity as well as greater efficiency in implementation.

Use of the PhaST within the framework of “Zusätzliche Eignungsquote” and “Auswahlverfahren der Hochschulen“

With the PhaST, participants who submit their results at “Hochschulstart” can increase their chances of obtaining a study place in Pharmacy at the universities using PhaST. This is possible via the quotas within the quotas “Zusätzliche Eignungsquote” and “Auswahlverfahren der Hochschulen”, which are part of the German Higher Education Act. The PhaST is not relevant for the “Abiturbestenquote” and the different “Vorabquote”. A deterioration of the chances compared to applicants not participating in the PhaST is excluded. Participation in the PhaST is voluntary.