Examination Design and Style
Most of the style conventions of the Qualifying Examination will become evident as you work through the sample questions and stations provided on the website.
Questions about drugs are based on issues that are relevant to practice, and generally concern those most commonly prescribed or those recommended for use in a certain situation.
Laboratory values and drug levels will be reported in the International System of Units (SI).
Abbreviations and symbols used will be those an entry-level pharmacist should recognize and will be written in accordance with SI and other health care publications.
Style Conventions - Part I (MCQ)
SI Units, Drug Names and Language
The answers in calculation questions and the majority of values presented will be in SI (metric) units. However, you may be required to convert from the avoirdupois or apothecary systems before performing your calculation in instances where the conversion factor should be commonly known by an entry-level pharmacist (e.g. pounds to kilograms).
Generally a drug will be referred to by its generic or common name. In those instances where a specific trade name is used, its generic or common name will also be given.
Negative words, such as NOT, NEVER, and EXCEPT are capitalized and printed in boldface, in order to draw your attention to the kind of response expected.
EXAMPLE: All of the following statements are correct, EXCEPT:
In the English language (including Canadian English documents), a period is generally used as a decimal separator. For example, “two and four-tenths” is represented by “2.4″.
In Canadian French documents, a comma is used as a decimal separator. For example, “two and four-tenths” is represented by “2,4″.
For formatting and consistency purposes, some numbers on the examination may include a decimal point with a trailing zero (e.g., 5.0). In practice, the use of a trailing zero is strongly discouraged by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, due to the risk of misinterpretation.
In the English language (including Canadian English documents), a comma is generally used as a thousands separator. For example, “two thousand five hundred” is represented by “2,500″.
Sometimes no thousands separator is seen, for example, “2500″.
Often, when there are two numbers to the left of the thousands separator, a space is used. For example, “twelve thousand five hundred” may be represented by “12 500″.
In Canadian French documents, a space is used as a thousands separator, for example “2 500″.
PEBC has tried to standardize the numeric format on written examinations to use a comma as a thousands separator; however, as noted in various medical references, the other previously mentioned formats may also be seen.
In Summary: two thousand = 2,000 = 2000 = 2 000
The formulas shown on the Formulas – Part I MCQ page will be available as an online reference in the computer-based Part I (MCQ) exam and therefore do not need to be memorized. Molecular and atomic weights will be supplied when necessary.
Standardized PEBC Calculators
A scientific calculator will be made available on the computer. Here is the on-screen Calculator Layout.
Format of Examination Questions - Part I (MCQ)
The Pharmacist Qualifying Examination – Part I consists entirely of multiple-choice questions. You will be required to select the best answer from the responses listed. In some questions, you may believe there is a better answer than those provided. You should always mark the answer that is best among the responses that accompany the question. Examples of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) are found here.
These examples are representative of the question format and phrasing style used in the examination, and the content of these sample questions is intended to illustrate a variety of the competency areas tested within the examination blueprint.