A few folks out there have created a BCPS study guide that I was extremely grateful to have as I prepared to take and pass my exam. I wanted to give you my most important tips for passing the BCPS exam.
Tip 1: This has been stated by many pharmacists, but the key to passing this exam starts and ends with statistics. In creating my practice exam, I felt like I had way too many study design/biostatistics/regulatory…questions, but just look at the percentage layout of the exam. BPS lists that percentage as 25% of the exam. That’s 44 out of 175 questions! Don’t be caught off guard. Click here for more info on a Statistics Study Guide specific for the BCPS exam.
Tip 2: Know your weaknesses. Creating a BCPS Study Guide should be individualized. In my case, I am not an expert ICU or HIV pharmacist. I hit those areas (along with statistics, did I get my point across in Tip 1!?) more than the rest. Geriatrics is my baby, so I didn’t need to hammer that too hard 🙂
Tip 3: Study. This is a simple one. Any good BCPS study guide will have a heavy focus on the study aspect 🙂 In all seriousness, if it has been a while since you’ve been in school or have taken another certification exam, I would suggest you start studying sooner rather than later. I believe that residents and younger graduates who did well in college will have an easier time getting into that groove. They also may have an easier time being current on topics that they don’t use much in their practice versus the pharmacist that may not have intensely studied an HIV drug in 10-20 years. In addition, read the content outline so you know where to start!
Tip 4: Answer every question! This is right from BPS website “It is to the candidate’s advantage to answer every question on the examination. There is no penalty in the scoring formula for guessing.” You have to set a decent pace if you are a slow test taker and you have to answer every question!
Tip 5: Odds are likely if you’ve been working clinically for a while, you will have a good grasp on basic lab values. If you don’t know basic lab values, you will find yourself looking them up frequently which if you are a moderate to slow test taker may cost you dearly(see Tip 5). I would suggest you memorize some basic ones if you haven’t already – BMP, CBC, LFT, and some of the major narrow therapeutic index drugs like phenytoin, digoxin, lithium etc.
Interested in study material? – check out what myself and 4 other BCPS certified pharmacists put together to help you pass the pharmacotherapy exam!