Qualifying for and passing the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Exam (FPGEE) can be an arduous and time consuming process. The FPGEE is the mechanism by which pharmacists from other countries, or Americans who have graduated from foreign pharmacy schools, gain approval to become a licensed pharmacist in the United States.
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This can be frustrating for the person who is applying, as the long delay prevents them from putting into use the skills they spent a lot of time and money acquiring. However, the medical and legal authorities in the US are intent on being thorough and deliberate when it comes to approving foreign pharmacists, in order to ensure that no unqualified pharmacists slip through the cracks because of undue haste.
There are 250 questions on the latest version of the FPGEE. Approximately 40 of those questions will be on basic biomedical sciences, approximately 75 questions will cover pharmaceutical sciences, approximately 55 questions will be on social, behavioral and administrative pharmacy sciences, and approximately 80 questions will be on clinical sciences. The exam is only given twice a year, usually in April and November.
There isn’t much leeway, either. If someone is approved to take the test in November, but an emergency of some sort comes up and he can’t make it, he might or might not get approved to take it the following April. However, if approval is granted, it will be the person’s final chance. If he misses that test, he’s pretty much done for good when it comes to working as a pharmacist in America, so the stakes are high. The test is also very expensive; as of this writing, the cost is $600 to take it.
One of the best ways of preparing for the FPGEE is by taking the Pre-FPGEE exam. This is a test that is put out by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), which is the same group that develops and administers the FPGEE and the NAPLEX exams. This pre-test is carefully designed to mimic the real exam, although it isn’t nearly as extensive, at 66 questions and 85 minutes. A person’s results on the pre-test are a very good indicator of how well they will do on the actual exam. Taking it is a great way of discovering weakness and blind spots in one’s preparation for the exam that need to be addressed. There is a fee of $50 to take the pre-test, and it can be done from anywhere, as it’s given over the internet.
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