Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist Exam Is Changing in 2018

I received notification a few months back now that my title “Certified Geriatric Pharmacist” (CGP) will now be changing to “Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist” (BCGP).  In addition to this superficial change, I suspect the Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist Exam will be changing as well.

To those who are board certified in geriatrics or those considering pursuing this certification, you should be aware that the owner of the geriatric certification will now be Board of Pharmacy Specialties.  Why does it matter?  The exam format will likely change.  The previous format was 150 multiple choice questions with 3 possible answers.  This will now change to 175 questions with 4 multiple choice questions.

From the majority of pharmacists I have encountered who have taken multiple certification exams, I believe most of them felt that the CGP, now BCGP exam was the easiest.  I believe this was also confirmed by statistical passing rates.  Historically, BCPS and BCACP pass rates have been in the 60’s% range, while I had heard from a source that CGP pass rate was in the upper 70% range.

What would I expect for 2018 BCGP exam takers? I don’t know if the exam will be harder, but I would strongly suspect that it will be at a minimum graded on a tougher scale to more closely align the pass rates of the BCPS and BCACP exams.

Resource from CCGP – Frequently Asked Questions (or BPS FAQ)

Resource from BPS – About Geriatric Specialty

Notable changes that exam takers should be aware of for 2018:

  • Only two testing periods (spring and fall) versus 4 (quarterly) previously
  • Increase in length of exam (150 to 175)
  • Increase in # of answers for the multiple choice questions (3 increased to 4 possible answers)
  • Content Outline – I can only speculate if this will change significantly in 2018, but a shift in focus/emphasis may be a possibility with this change to BPS

If you are interested in resources for helping to prepare you for studying for the BCGP exam, I have created a few resources that may be useful for you.


  1. ErPharmD

    Hey Eric, I have scheduled to take my CCGP exam in novemeber, that is ~ 4 months from now. There is soooo much material that i have to study.
    1) how much of statistics should i focus on? as much as in BCPS? or is it more straigth forward. If you can give specifics like know power, CI, p-value and what else i would really appreciate it.

    2) How would you break down the 4 months of studying? (my plan is to spend 2 hrs M-F studying new material and review 2 hrs on S-S)

    • 2018

      I think that seems like a good plan. I certainly wouldn’t ignore statistics as it is a significant part of the CGP exam. I would say as of 2017, it is probably less than BCPS, but still could make or break you. 2018 may be a different story under the BPS umbrella. Here’s the link to the outline I would anticipate 5-10 questions on research/stats type questions based upon that…as well as some other random stuff on formularies, patient safety etc. – hope that helps! Eric

    • Amy

      Hi Eric,

      I paid for all your online resources regarding Geriatric Pharmacy and the CGP exam. I have a feeling that I will have to take this in 2018. Are you going to update your online info for the 2018 exam? It seems harder or will be graded harder.

      • Eric Christianson

        I did just update this in 2017 and am thinking not at this point…feel free to shoot me an email/message as you get closer to taking the exam and I can let you know? Thanks for reaching out! Eric

  2. Esther

    Quite an interesting plan looking forward to it,

  3. Ernie

    Hey Eric,

    I know that Beers Criteria is big in CGP exam, but how important is the STOPP/START Criteria in the exam, considering that it came out in 2011 before the new update of Beers Criteria (2015). Should I put much emphasis on studying the STOPP/START Criteria for CGP?

    And have you used the STOPP/START tool in your daily practice? is it practical?

    Thank you.

    • Eric Christianson

      I honestly haven’t used it in practice very much. I am aware of the criteria. I tend to utilize the Beer’s list and clinically assess those medications for tolerability and what has been tried etc. I would focus more on knowing which medications aren’t recommended in the elderly and why they aren’t.

  4. Heidi

    I am a retail pharmacist that works in a geriatric community. I really want to get certified to help my patients, and also to make myself marketable for other jobs in the future. Is this plausible, or do I need to switch to the hospital setting first?

    • Eric Christianson

      I know plenty of retail pharmacists who are board certified, you would not need to switch in my estimation!

  5. Jimi

    Hello Eric,
    I am considering taking the BCGP examination but I am a little unsure if this is the exam to take or the pharmacotherapy exams. What are the benefits of BCGP over BCP Pharmacotherapy. I work in an Ltc Specialty pharmacy

    • Eric Christianson

      Hi Jimi, thanks for the question. For reference, I’ve worked as an LTC consultant, in a primary care clinic, and done a bit of retail pharmacy here and there. I’d say if you anticipate working in LTC for the majority of your career, BCGP is probably most appropriate. If you are thinking you may get into more hospital or a different line of work, the BCPS is a little more broad in its coverage. I took my BCGP first as I was primarily working as an LTC consultant and then after that, wanted to take BCPS to really assess my skills and possibly open up more opportunities if my career path led in a different direction. Hope that helps! Eric

  6. Kathy

    I was thinking of taking the BPS geriatrics certification exam in Spring of 2019. Do you think your BCGP package is good for 2019 as well or do you think things will change?

    • Eric Christianson

      Hi Kathy thanks for the message! I am anticipating reviewing the content on an annual basis following the fall exam. I don’t think it will change a great amount, just a few updates on guidelines etc. I also review the mock exams to make sure that the questions remain accurate and relevant. Hope that helps! Eric

  7. Charlie

    I heard the pass rate of geriatrics exam wasn’t good this last time. What’s going on here?? What needs to change in the exam? It’s not good when the majority of people don’t pass.

  8. Suraj

    I wrote the CCGP exam in 2015. Now I need to write the BCGP exam this year 2021 to maintain my certification. I would like to know, how much has the content of the certified geriatric pharmacy exam actually changed from 2015 to 2021? Basically I want to know if I can still just use all the study notes I have from my 2015 exam preparation, which would greatly help save time and simplify my studying for this 2021 exam, (not to mention savings of money from not having to purchase the current prep course)

    • Eric Christianson

      Hi Suraj, certainly there are clinical updates since 2015 so you are going to be missing out on those. The content outline has changed a bit and I would say the exam is much more difficult with a pass rate in the 60’s% range even for retakes. I would feel more comfortable getting updated content, but that is kind of a personal decision. If you use your older content, I would recommend looking up the latest guidelines individually and reviewing them for each disease topic to ensure that you are up to date. – Hope that helps a little!

  9. Suraj

    Hello Eric, thanks very much for your reply and help. I have another question: In terms of looking up the latest guidelines individually for each disease topic, is there a name of a searchable/ downloadable document or website that you could suggest that I could access these clinical guideline updates (preferably for free)?

    • Eric Christianson

      Hi Suraj, I don’t know of a location where they update them for free. We try to stay on top of them and update them in our all-access pass on an annual basis. So you would have to look individually if looking to find them for free. Best, Eric



  1. How to Become a Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (CGP) - Med Ed 101 - […] CGP has now changed to BCGP – Here’s an updated version of Information surrounding BCGP. […]
  2. Pharmacist Board Certification in 2018 - Historical Pass Rates and a Look Ahead - Med Ed 101 - […] The biggest change will be for those seeking geriatric certification.  This exam and content will be changing.  If you…
  3. BCGP Pass Rate for Spring 2018 = 43%?!? What Gives? - Med Ed 101 - […] low 80’s%. Apparently this change had led to a skydive type fall in the pass rate.  I anticipated a…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Written By Eric Christianson

June 25, 2017

Study Materials For Pharmacists


Explore Categories